Just in time for fall patio weather, CreekSide Taphouse is open. The Haw Creek restaurant occupies the old Ruby’s BBQ Shack building and the abundant outdoor space that surrounds it: a covered porch, open deck, picnic tables in the grass, a volleyball court and a playground for the kids.
“Setting up this entire space was based on what was here before and what we felt would go really well in the neighborhood,” says owner Brendan Dennehy. “We saw a need for the space, so we didn’t really want to break it down too much.”
Now, the outdoor amenities come with a new menu and tap list. Dennehy, son of City Bakery’s Pat and Rose Dennehy, owns the new restaurant with his wife, Patty. Along with Gil Holmes, formerly of 12 Bones Smokehouse and Asheville Brewing, they’re serving up enthusiastic bar food, local brews, domestic standards and liquor drinks to boot.
Over the past several days, they’ve enjoyed a series of successful soft openings. As he shows Xpress the new bar, Brendan laughs and holds up a half-empty bottle of Crown Royal. He explains that the small Facebook post that announced CreekSide’s opening brought out enough nearby residents to keep the bar busy until midnight.
With 19 beers on tap, Dennehy hopes to provide something for everyone. The 10 North Carolina taps pour the works of Asheville Brewing, French Broad, Highland, Greenman, Pisgah Brewing and Foothills. Old standards receive ample representation as well, including Sierra Nevada Pale, Guinness, Bud Light and Yuengling.
Barbecue takes center stage on the menu in a series of pastries, nachos, sandwiches, stews and plates. So far, Brendan says the most popular item has been the “CreekSide BBQ Club,” a sandwich within a sandwich: layers of smoked pork, sliced ham, smoked turkey, smoked bacon and fried green tomatoes surround a grilled cheese sandwich in the center. Yes, it’s decadent, but it’s also carefully made and perfect for sharing. The smoked turkey stands out as particularly well-spiced and woody-tasting.
When it comes to sauce, CreekSide’s options take on a lot of territory. “We’re trying to get all the flavors covered in the South,” Holmes says. “You’ve got your tomato. You’ve got your Alabama white sauce. You’ve got your vinegar from here.” Vinegar bases the house sauce, but a sauce bar provides the others, which also include mustard-based and jalapeño garlic.
Even among the barbecue and burgers, the menu pays homage to veggies. The salads come large and fresh, and portobellos fill out sandwiches and nachos. Holmes says he reserves a corner of the grill just for the mushrooms.
The hearty food, served on mismatched plates collected from the Dennehys’ family and friends as well as local thrift stores, complements the feel of a relaxed “neighborhood joint,” as the menu styles the restaurant. Classic rock drifts across the dining room and into the bar, where a pool table and a foosball table await.
“We want to respect what the neighborhood wants,” Patty says. “We want to try to offer them things that might not have tried or had and expand, ‘Try this beer, try that, something a little different.’ But we respect the fact that it’s a neighborhood. You want your comfortable neighborhood bar, and if we can provide that, there you go.”
CreekSide Taphouse at 9 Beverly Road will serve food from 4 to 10 p.m. this week, and the bar will remain open until midnight. Over the weekend, they will begin serving lunch from the same menu. Get more info at 575-2880 or at CreekSide’s Facebook page.