Heading to the River Arts District Studio Stroll this weekend? (More about that in this week’s A&E section or at riverartsdistrict.com.) The event covers a lot of ground — 19 buildings filled with demonstrations, hands-on activities and art, art, art. It also covers some prime eating hours (10 a.m. until 6 p.m., both days). Fortunately, the RAD is becoming a food destination, with enough unique eateries and watering holes to fuel a full weekend of studio-strolling.
Nourish and Flourish
If you're the type that prefers a liquid breakfast (we're talking juice, not martinis), Nourish and Flourish is the way to go. Though the second floor walk-up is primarily used as a full-body wellness center, the building also features a gently-curving organic juice and tea bar with a peaceful and quiet vibe, a bit above street level.
Although Nourish and Flourish is generally closed on Sundays, the juice bar will keep expanded hours this weekend, with a few refreshing treats available for studio-strollers, like sparkling herb-enhanced lemonade and cold teas.
347 Depot St. Suite 201, 255-2770, nourishflourishnow.com.
The Magnetic Field
For a liquid breakfast of a different stripe, try the RAD's own playhouse and gastropub. The Magnetic Field will open both Saturday and Sunday for brunch with special "breakfast cocktails" from bartender Ken Klehm including a "darn good" Bloody Mary and kir royal mimosas. The MF will also serve a gin-spiked gazpacho. "We will card you in order to serve you the soup," says Klehm.
The brunch menu will include an assortment of quiches, benedicts, traditional breakfast offerings and salads. The restaurant is also open for dinner, when Klehm gets out the tequila and homemade chili bitters. Oh, and the food's mighty good, too.
372 Depot St. 257-4003, themagneticfield.com
The Clingman Café is one of the anchors of the RAD, serving coffee and breakfast wraps well before many of the recent additions to the area were anything more than a twinkle of inspiration (some also call it insanity) in their owners’ eyes.
Clingman has expanding to include dinner dishes on its classic salad- and sandwich-heavy menu, and the little yellow café now boasts a selection of wine and beer as well.
Dinner offerings notwithstanding, we still dig this place for a great egg-and-cheese biscuit for a price that could nearly be covered with pocket change.
242 Clingman Ave. 253-2177, clingmancafe.com
Silver Dollar Café
Speaking of a neighborhood anchor, the Silver Dollar has been serving flapjacks and country-style breakfast since way before someone put the word "arts" in the river district's moniker. Silver Dollar is the place to go for a no-frills, gut-busting (in a good way) breakfast at prices that border on anachronistic.
175 Clingman Ave. 253-9573
White Duck Taco Shop
This little taco shop recently opened with a bang and continues to do brisk business. Why? Because the White Duck is cheap, fast and good and the perfect place for those who like hand-held food. We love the mahi mahi tacos (with their rather traditional fish taco accompaniments), as well as the Bangkok shrimp with cucumber, chili aioli and sweet toasted-sesame glaze. The offerings are quirky and delicious — think West Coast taco truck in a west-side RAD building.
For the Studio Stroll, the White Duck will have special pastries, empanadas and an expanded list of beverages on-hand, including Green Man wheat beer shandies.
1 Roberts St. Suite 101, whiteducktacoshop.com
Another new addition to the RAD, the Junction boasts seasonal artisan cocktails and a creative menu that features down-to-earth and simple yet innovative cuisine.
Look to this place for a crazy refreshing cocktail and cheese plate (or the Junction burger, if you're really hungry) on the porch at dusk. During the daytime, lunch offerings include everything from light salads of local spring veggies to a three-way pork sandwich. Sound sexy? How could it not be, with pork belly, ham and loin covered with gruyere? A glass of the crisp grüner veltliner The Junction now offers on tap (yes, very dangerous, indeed) will go perfectly.
348 Depot St. 225-3497, thejunctionasheville.com
Looking for a secret-garden-type spot to hide from the heat and the crowds? Roots Café is your place. Tucked inside the Grey Eagle, the locally focused restaurant features organic dairy and grains and locally sourced meats and veggies in all of the dishes and a backyard oasis in which to eat them. Did we mention that the boiled peanuts are fantastic?
185 Clingman Ave. 776-ROOTS, rootsfood.com
12 Bones Smokehouse
If you live in the Asheville area, you know about 12 Bones and the eatery’s barbecue. Heck, even President Obama knows about the ribs. Usually, the smokehouse is open only on weekdays, much to the chagrin of many a defeated weekend tourist. This weekend, 12 Bones will be open on Saturday only, from 11 a.m until 4 p.m., to satisfy all your smoked-meat needs.
5 Riverside Drive, 253-4499, 12bones.com