Entertaining eats

Champagne gazpacho sparkles at the Magnetic Field in the River Arts District. Photos by Jonathan Welch

We’re multitaskers: We want to eat our cake and watch our movies, too. Luckily, the days of dinner and a show aren’t over. Here are some dining options to consider when a plate of food isn’t quite enough to keep you fully occupied.

Arcade Asheville

The Arcade is one part game room, with vintage favorites like ExciteBike and Donkey Kong, and one part dance hall, with DJs spinning all sorts of booty-shaking favorites on Friday nights. The two-level venue is surprisingly sophisticated, slightly jarring — and completely fun. You can also get your Tetris on at the bar while sampling a menu that’s meant to be as fun as the atmosphere. Like bacon? The Arcade has enough pig belly in its larder to keep you plenty happy — until your cholesterol check. There’s a bacon bruschetta, a bacon pimento-cheese sandwich, a smoked-gouda macaroni and cheese with an option to add bacon and jalapeños, pork sliders (with bacon) and a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich with (yes, really) bacon. 130 College St. 258-1400 arcadeasheville.com.

Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company

For the pressed-for-time romantic, dinner and a movie is something that can easily be enjoyed simultaneously in Asheville. For one, there’s the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company, a stalwart of the local scene built in a former two-screen movie theater.

The APBC has a laid-back family vibe, as well as pizza that pulls in plenty of accolades (try the Shear Delight).  Asheville Pizza also turns out some of Asheville’s most-beloved brews, including the Shiva IPA. Both can be enjoyed in the theater while watching a flick, or in the adjacent game room, in case you like Dance Dance Revolution with your nachos.

But don’t go expecting a quiet movie experience — when your Jaws fish sandwich is ready, you’ll hear your name yelled from the bar, even if it’s at the moment that the Great White goes for the marine biologist. 675 Merrimon Ave. 254-1281. The downtown location boasts an outdoor screen, but not the movies or game room of the Merrimon location. 77 Coxe Ave. 255-4077 ashevillebrewing.com.

Carolina Cinemas

If the movie you’d like to see begs for a quieter venue, head over to Carolina Cinemas. The Carolina features more than just first-run movies. The theater also shows live Metropolitan Opera performances and other piped-in events. Feeling decadent? Try the fresh potato chips, piled with housemade bleu-cheese dressing, crumbled bacon, tomato and scallions. 1640 Hendersonville Road 274-9500 carolinacinemas.com.


For eats in front of the big screen with a little more formal, seat-side service, try Cinebarre near the Biltmore Square Mall. With a variety of options on the menu, nightly specials and a salad called Soylent Greens, it’s hard to go wrong. Plenty of beer options on tap here, as well as wine. 800 Brevard Road 665-8661 cinebarre.com.

The Magnetic Field

Dinner and a show is what they do at The Magnetic Field, a café, bar and performance house located in Asheville’s River Arts District. With events from standup comedy to live music, this restaurant and theater is entertaining by design. Dishes like Champagne gazpacho and the Seasonal Bowl with ingredients like pickled vegetables and black-bean hummus are served in bowls, making it easy to sit, watch a play and eat your food in the captive dark of the theater. 372 Depot St. 257-4003 themagneticfield.com.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Webmaster
Mountain Xpress Webmaster Follow me @MXWebTeam

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.