Eating lunch between the no-man’s hours of 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.? Out on the town until 3 a.m.? Even in a foodtopia like Asheville, your options can be limited. Fortunately, there are some restaurants out there for you late-lunchers and night-owls who would rather not frequent the Waffle House — not that there’s anything wrong with getting scattered, smothered and covered.
Attached to an Exxon gas station, 51 Grill is a small step up from the no-frills greasy spoon diner and is a serious late-night haunt. Expect to find truckers eating French dips elbow to elbow with partygoers in high heels and smeared makeup scarfing Philly cheese steaks. Late-night drunk food is the great equalizer. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. until 4 a.m. 51 Merrimon Ave. 258-1670.
Rosetta’s Kitchen is a stalwart of the Lexington Avenue scene, and a slice of Asheville — with soy cheese. The all-vegetarian cafeteria-style joint is one of the few places where City Council members eat nachos next to punk rockers. Nothing fuels you up for bar hopping better than Rosetta’s peanut butter tofu, braised kale and smashed potatoes and gravy. Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-3 a.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 116 N. Lexington Ave. 232-0738 rosettaskitchen.com.
Located next to Rosetta’s is Loretta’s Café, another Asheville institution. Loretta’s is popular with the cheap-lunch crowd who flock to the café for the stellar sandwiches made with house-roasted meats and scratch-made bread. As this is Asheville, there are plenty of meatless options, too. Whether in search of a BLT at 9:30 p.m. on a Friday or a hummus and cashew-spread sandwich at 4:30 in the afternoon on a Saturday, look no further. Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., 114 N. Lexington Ave. 253-3747 lorettascafe.com.
And speaking of sandwiches, we’d be remiss not to mention Viva Deli in West Asheville. Viva specializes in from-scratch sandwiches, with a European and artisan bent. The deli produces its own rustic cheeses and meats, heaped onto house-made bread for a hulking, New York City-grade sandwich. All of this and a bag of chips (or potato salad). Where else in town can you get a breakfast pretzel before work and a pastrami sandwich at 1 a.m.? Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sun 10 a.m.-11 p.m., 625 Haywood Road 575-2055 vivadeli.biz.
On the way to The Orange Peel? We recommend stopping by Mamacita’s for some Cali-Mexi goodness with a local twist. Think Baja-style fish tacos and burritos stuffed with braised local pork and kale. Personalize your taco experience with an assortment of housemade salsas and other toppings. And don’t forget the PBR — it’s only a buck. Mamacita’s is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m., seven days a week. 77 Biltmore Ave. 255-8080 mamacitasgrill.com.
And right next door to Mamacita’s, you’ll find MoDaddy’s, which is short for “mo’ burger” — or it should be. If a late night calls for slabs of meat piled with toppings like fried eggs, fistfuls of bacon, pimento cheese, onion rings, chow-chow and more, this is your place. If grease will keep you going, don’t forget about the tater-tot nachos, aka “totchos,” or the baloney sliders. And it’s all available until almost 2 a.m., seven days a week. 77 Biltmore Ave. 258-1550 modaddysbar.com.