John Fleer’s restaurant gets a name It’s not often that chefs market their restaurants as vegetal and ambiguous, but that’s John Fleer’s tack. His Pack Square restaurant, which will open this fall in the former Bistro 1896 space, goes by the name Rhubarb. Fleer thinks the name sounds evocative, but not in any particular way. […]

Get your weekend barbecue fix at the Spruce Pine BBQ Championsh­ip and Bluegrass Festival

This weekend, watch almost 25 grill masters compete for barbecue glory. The Spruce Pine BBQ Championship and Bluegrass Festival draws grill geeks from around the Southeast. It's even regulated by the Southern Barbecue Network. The small town of Spruce Pine, north of Burnsville, has an ideal climate for a summer barbecue cook-off, explains Randall Hembree, […]

No more meister nice guy

Since it first opened in 1995, Burgermeister's has forged new territory for Asheville restaurants. It closed Saturday, July 13, but could reopen somewhere else, says co-owner Tom Gaddy. The restaurant started as a burger counter downtown when other storefronts were empty. Then, Gaddy took a few years' break from the business before reopening in nascent […]

Lobster for less

One Friday a month, Micheal Scharf waits in his car in the parking lot of Innsbruck Mall, ready to open his trunk for a select group of customers and show them the goods inside. He's not selling anything illicit, nor is he pedlling rugs. He's the organizer of The Lobster Club, and he's undercutting the […]

A ride for the price of a pint

You’ve probably seen the billboards, the ones that say “You just blew $10,000.” They’re anti-DUI adverts, and the idea is that by the time you pay legal fees and fines, you’ll have dropped 10 grand. Sadly, many of Asheville’s breweries are on the periphery, and if you don’t have a designated driver, you’ll need to […]


Thai Basil in the Grove Arcade is closed, but it will soon reopen as Thai Tara. Tony Pornchinda of Charlotte recently purchased the business with some partners, and he says it will reopen in a couple of weeks. Pornchinda used to own a restaurant in Charlotte called Thai Cuisine. Thai Basil remains open in Black […]


Subway leaves downtown The $5 Footlong has retreated to the 'burbs, at least for now. Downtown's Subway, located at 33 Battery Park Ave. near the Grove Arcade, closed last week. The manager, loading bags of chips into a food service truck, said he had no comment, and asked that his name not be used. The […]

Deen Out

Tremors from the highly publicized collapse of the Paula Deen empire have spread into Western North Carolina. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort announced it will re-brand Paula Deen’s Kitchen, the 400-seat restaurant and retail outlet, one of almost a dozen eateries on the property. “We really felt that the comments that she admitted making were really […]