Small Bites

Razcal’s: An Oakley area restaurant that few local foodies associate with ambitious cookery is attempting to carve out a serious culinary niche. “We’re going to emphasize in-house smoked meats,” says Razcal’s general manager Erin Walker. “We’ll have our own cured meats, our own andouille.”

The kitchen manager overseeing the transition is Max Hussey, selected by owner and New Orleans native Humphrey Laurent to develop a Cajun-style menu featuring local produce from Gladheart Farms. According to Walker, new offerings will include barbecued shrimp, crawfish étouffée, red beans and rice, and muffalettas.

“He has such strong ideas about food,” Walker says of Hussey, who worked in New Orleans kitchens for a dozen years before accepting the position at Razcal’s.

Laurent, who took over the restaurant last November, has also led a revamp of the restaurant’s interior, upgrading a patio and adding pool tables, dartboards and free wireless Internet. One of the few things the folks behind Razcal’s have left untouched is its name:

“I’m not trying to change in any way [how] our regulars feel about us,” Walker explains, emphasizing the eatery’s commitment to its neighbors. “We want people to be able to eat close to home.”

Razcal’s, 831 Old Fairview Road, is open every day from noon till 2 a.m., with a full menu served until 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends. To learn more, call 277-7117.

Laurey’s: Although the new breakfast hours have apparently been a rough adjustment for some staffers (“I’m still waking up,” a counter clerk groaned good-naturedly when I stepped inside for eggs around 8 a.m. on a recent Friday), fans of Laurey’s are thrilled that the downtown eatery has added early morning service to its schedule.

Shop manager Adam Thome writes: “As usual, we have a strong focus on local products, including eggs from Highlander Farms, Hickory Nut Gap sausage, Giacomo’s chorizo and creamy stone ground grits with Yellowbranch farmstead cheese. We are also making our own house granola that already has quite a following.”

Breakfast is available at Laurey’s, 67 Biltmore Ave., on weekdays, 8 to 10:30 a.m., Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 252-1500.

Ophelia’s: Hours are also expanding across the street at Ophelia’s (15 Eagle St.), which is reintroducing lunch after a year-long hiatus. The restaurant has hired a new lunch cook and is now open Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday brunch is also back on the menu, with service running 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 255-8154 for more.

Burgermeister’s: The popular West Asheville burger joint is reaching deeper into the menagerie for its new line of “wild burgers,” including burgers made from elk, venison and shrimp. Staffers report the nouvelle sandwiches have been a hit. To learn more, call 225-2920; Burgermeister’s is located at 697 Haywood Road.


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