The sun set hours ago. The early-to-bed set has retreated to their homes and hotel rooms, and the streets are left to the visitors, the vamps and the venturers who like to party and play till the wee hours. That’s when you feel it in your gut — the panic. You’ve whiled away the night carelessly sipping craft cocktails or hoppy nectar, and now it’s (gasp) 11 p.m. You haven’t eaten! Everything is closed! Or is it?
While Asheville’s late-night folks have always been able to retreat to places like Tupelo Honey, The Vault and Rosetta’s Kitchen for a late-night bite, the opportunity to head to other locally owned eateries has been limited. That’s changing fast as a handful of restaurants now offer specialized late-night menus that not only quiet your rumbling tummy, but let you try some of the town’s best eats at prices no one could grumble about.
Storm Rhum Bar & BistroSunday-Wednesday 10 p.m.-1 a.m.
Thursday-Saturday 11 p.m.-1 a.m.
During my visit, Storm Executive Chef Owen McGlynn and his helpers hauled in a significant section of cow through the restaurant’s side door — fitting, considering McGlynn’s emphasis on nose-to-tail and farm-to-table.
That ethos is exemplified in the star of the late-night menu, the house-ground Apple Brandy Farms burger— which, because of its fine provenance, can be served as rare as you like it. Another protein-rich, late-night bite is a smaller version of Storm’s popular charcuterie plate, featuring fresh, house-made terrines and patés served with irresistible slices of flame-kissed bread. One standout from the after-hours menu that’s atypically not produced on site is the Big City Red Hot Dog. Hailing from Chicago, topped with coleslaw and McGlynn’s caramelized-onion-infused catsup, it’ll reintroduce this American classic to your late-night dreams.
Manager Shannon McGaughey says that Storm’s late-night menu is particularly popular with food-service-industry folks, which was part of the impetus for the menu in the first place. “Downtown, once you hit that 10 o’clock mark, pretty much the whole restaurant industry closes down,” she says. “So we wanted to offer other industry folk who worked late somewhere they could let go of the day, have a bite and a drink.”
— Michael Franco is an Asheville freelance writer.