After six years in West Asheville, the folks at The Admiral are branching out with two new restaurants, one in the Wedge building in the River Arts District and the other just south of downtown.
Drew Wallace of The Admiral and Matthew Dawes, formerly of Table, are creating The Bull and Beggar. “The name is kind of in reference to people who hang out around trains, one being a cop and one being a bum,” Wallace says. “We were just trying to find something basically associated with the railroad, and something that sounded beefy.”
The restaurant is next door to the Wedge Brewing Company on the loading-dock side of the Wedge building, overlooking the railroad tracks. The space was most recently the studio of local artist Ben Betsalel, and once was the domain of the late artist and RAD pioneer John Payne.
Wallace will head up the bar; Dawes will oversee the food. Beyond that, Wallace says he can't share much. “Matt [Dawes] hasn't begun cooking any food, and we haven't purchased any alcohol yet,” he says.
Closer to downtown, on Banks Avenue, chef Elliott Moss will cook up Southern-inspired, family-style dinners and casual lunches. He's working with Jonathan Robinson, also of The Admiral, and Lane Reid of Image 420, the Haywood Road screen printing business.
“Our working title right now is ‘Buxton Hill,’” Robinson says. “We wanted to offer something that we thought was uniquely Southern, like real pit barbecue and fried chicken.”
The building is close to the intersection of Hilliard and Coxe avenues, but despite its urban location, the lot has plenty of grass and trees. “There's going to be a patio, and the whole thing's going to be fenced in,” Robinson says. “We're planning on keeping all the trees, adding trees and planting as much stuff as possible. We thought it was a real find because it's in the city, but you have all these trees that survived the last 50 years of development.”
The new restaurant will be different from The Admiral, where eager diners make reservations weeks in advance. Robinson says he hopes to attract a broader clientele. “We want it to be as accessible as possible,” he says. “We're from South Carolina. That's kind of where we're coming from. We are a couple of country boys, and we were raised on the food that we're going to serve.”
The restaurant will be open for quick lunches and family-friendly dinners with an emphasis on shared plates. There will be both fried chicken and house-made charcuterie, and a baker will be part of the staff. Lunch service will be quick, and dinners will focus on family-style plates.
So when can we eat there? “We're in the early planning stages, and our opening date has not been set yet,” Robinson says. The project has only been in the works since September, when the group purchased the building.