When it comes to dining in downtown Asheville, I toss Patton Avenue into the ring time and time again. Now I figure it's come time to break down exactly what manner of restaurants lie on this storied street, with all the expert analytics and juicy details that you’ve come to expect from Asheville Cottages.
I’m told that Patton Avenue is a rather long road, but for my purposes, I’m discussing a section comprising only two blocks, from the intersection with Asheland in the west to Pritchard Park in the east. Wander beyond these limits and your fate is in your own hands.
With the navigational specifications out of the way, I’d like you to consider this piece a sort of gustatory travel-guide; a menu of menus. And by golly, there’s a lot of ground to cover here, folks. I’m feeling a two-parter. Today, lets focus on the south side of Asheville’s Patton Avenue.
First off on this glorious restaurant-round-up: Nepalese. I reckon I’ve only ever seen one other Nepalese restaurant in the entire state, so I expect the cuisine may be unfamiliar to most travelers.
Kathmandu Kitchen’s menu offers dishes popular in Indian cuisine (biryani, naan, saag, korma) along with Chinese-inspired entries (Manchurian chicken). Between these two realms, you'll find authentic Nepalese momos (think dumplings) filled with lamb, chicken, vegetables, or organic Carolina yak. Yes, you read that correctly. Local yak dumplings. Where else are you going to find that, outside of Asheville?
Visit around noon for their lunch buffet. If it’s a warm day, pair your meal with a glass of jaljeera, spiced lemonade calibrated to the heat of Indian summers.
A frequent flier on my food-themed articles, Red Ginger serves an impressive spread of Asian-fusion, with a specialty in succulent dumplings. Recently, I’ve been branching out into their rice and noodle dishes. Although served in deceptively small dishes, these entries punch above their weight, both in terms of flavor and fortification.
I think the best way to enjoy a meal with Red Ginger is via coordination with your dining companions. Borrow a little shrimp dumpling here, sample a slice of honey-glazed pork there, steal a spoonful of won ton soup, and you’ve got yourself as fine a dining experience as you can expect anywhere in downtown Asheville. So long as you remember to get a cup of hot green tea, of course.
Closed: Open every day.
Last time I visited Jerusalem Garden, it was a night of torrential rain. After a half-hour hiding under cover, we braved the moisture, came down Patton, and found a seat in the warm indoors. We ordered a couple cups of steaming mint tea, and that’s when the belly dancing started.
That’s right: belly dancing. Every Friday and Saturday night, starting at 7pm. It's an experience and a half, I'm here to tell you. The instrumentalists had me knee-tapping and low-key grooving, with half a mind to get up and dance myself.
Spectacular ambience aside, Jerusalem Garden serves up rich Mediterranean fare: roasted lamb, creamy hummus, stuffed olive-leaves, and for my money, the best baba ghanoush in town. Also, weekend brunch, starring ribeye kabobs, potatoes harra, and plenty of eggs.
Opened just this past July, I watch the career of this Patton Avenue newcomer with great interest, and you should too. We’re talking mix-and-match fondues. Chocolate or cheese (don’t mix those two) with such dippable finger-foods as chimichurri filets, and mini corndogs for the savory, or pearl suggar waffles, and churro loops for the sweet.
Melting Pot also serves dinner plates along the lines of soup, salad, sandwiches, and flatbread, with lunch and brunch soon to come. All this alongside their signature root beer moonshine and a respectable kid’s menu indicates that the Melting Pot intends to live up to their name, stewing together diners of every taste into a kind of human fondue.
Please forgive that last metaphor. It was as irresistible to me as their fondue-brew: coffee enhanced by chocolate fondue. Why didn’t I think of that?
Closed: Open every day.
I daresay this newborn art-deco food hall single handedly doubled the variety of eats on Patton Avenue, which is no mean feat. On the bottom floor, you’ll find the Buxton Chicken Palace serving chicken-sandwiches with a spread of colorful sauces, Bun Intended Thai-inspired street food, Farmdogs (Farm Burger’s sausage-loving spinoff), and a counter occupied by none other than Hop Ice-cream. I hope your visit coincides with their bourbon-Cheerwine flavor. It is delightful.
Upstairs, on the mezzanine, you’ll find plentiful seating with which to survey the lower floor, and Highland Brewing’s eighteen taps of local, small-batch brews. Their charging stations and loungy-seating provide inviting alcoves for those seeking more of a hangout than a meal.
Next door, joined by a shared patio, you’ll find the Times Bar and Coffee Shop, with a variety of cocktails, mocktails, and such signature coffees as a raspberry mocha and a hot pecan late.
It’s a lot to process, I know. I suggest you make up your mind only once you’re on-site, letting the spur of the moment guide you.
Closed: Tuesdays. The Time’s coffee-counter closes on Mondays as well.
Bonus round! Although technically not on Patton Avenue, I could scarcely brush so close to downtown Asheville’s premier Ethiopian restaurant without giving them a mention. Walk west along the avenue, take a left onto Coxe, another onto Commerce Street, and you’ll find this hidden gem nestled behind a brick façade.
Here you can find traditional Ethiopian cuisine, served family-style atop a platter of injera bread: spiced meats, rich sauces, and sprays of fresh vegetables. They have an a,[;e eye for vegetarian options, offering a meat-free rendition of their family-platter, as well as tempeh libb and red lentils. Top it all off with a pot of splendid Ethiopean coffee and you're good to go.
Closed: Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
90 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Red Ginger Dimsum & Tapas
82 Patton Ave Suite 100, Asheville, NC 28801
Jerusalem Garden Cafe
78 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Melting Plot Social
74 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
56 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Addissae Ethiopian Restaurant
48 Commerce St, Asheville, NC 28801