Small Bites

Eats & Drinks: Mountain Xpresss’ Eats & Drinks guide hit the streets this week, featuring more than 500 local bars and restaurants in one easy-to-use publication. And our online Dining section has been revamped as a one-stop shop for dining news and views.

The 96-page Eats & Drinks lists eateries by cuisine, and also includes a handy map, a guide to local tailgate markets, our food critic’s picks of 20 don’t-miss drinks and dishes, and Xpress readers’ picks from our annual Best of WNC balloting. It is available in hundreds of area locations, including special boxes mounted atop newspaper boxes in downtown Asheville.

The new online Dining section features an easy-to-search guide, as well as connections to local gastronomical blogs and the Xpress’ recent food and bar articles.

John Fleer: Canyon Kitchen Restaurant, Chef John Fleer’s new workplace, has begun accepting reservations for weekend dinners and Sunday lunches. Fleer, formerly of Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn., earlier this year joined the crew at Lonesome Valley, a planned community in Cashiers.

“Our goal was to create a festive yet casual atmosphere that would feature organic and creative Appalachian selections developed in part from fresh produce right out of our own community gardens,” Lonesome Valley’s developers wrote in a release. “We recognized that the most important ingredient in this mix would be our chef.”

Fleer served as Blackberry Farm’s chef for 14 years, pioneering what Atlanta Journal-Constitution food writer John Kessler described as an “exuberant and hyper-local ‘foothills cuisine.’” While at Blackberry Farm, Fleer was nominated twice for a prestigious James Beard award, and earned the restaurant a highly coveted Relais Gourmand designation. Fleer, his recipes and the Appalachian food producers he championed were regularly featured in media outlets, including Food and Wine, Bon Appetit and the Food Network.

Dinner at Canyon Kitchen is available by reservation only. To contact the restaurant, call 743-7696 or e-mail

Clingman Cafe: Patrons who may have hesitated to do any daytime drinking at Clingman Café can now partake of the River District coffee shop’s beer and wine menu during evening hours. The café recently added dinner service to its repertoire, staying open until 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Owner Trip Howell described the new hours as a “win-win situation,” since the schedule will allow the café to better serve folks in the neighborhood and give its staffers more working hours. “They’ve been asking for it,” Howell says. Although billed as summer hours, Howell says the schedule will stay in place as long as customers are coming in late.

Clingman Café is located at 242 Clingman Ave. For more information, call 253-2177.

Buddha Bagels: One of the more ambitious culinary fusion concepts to hit Asheville has apparently petered out. Buddha Bagels, which opened last year in the Merrimon Avenue storefront previously occupied by New York Bagel, was meant to merge a New Age sensibility with urban deli cuisine. “We’re in Asheville; we’re an alternative community,” owner Aaron Hunt told Xpress last August. “We can change it up like that, right?” A sign announcing the restaurant’s closure was posted on the door late last month.

Asheville Wine Consulting: Local oenophiles will salute the red, white and green at an upcoming wine dinner devoted to organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines. The second annual summer wine dinner, sponsored by Asheville Wine Consulting, features four courses—including local trout cakes and pulled-pork shoulder with cornbread pudding—and six accompanying wines. Tickets to the Wednesday, June 24, event at Windows on the Park are $40. To register, e-mail


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