A transition of tradition

When Creekside Taphouse opens in Haw Creek, owner Brendan Dennehy hopes it will represent more than just food. Sure, he's designing a menu — and an ambitious one at that — but he also sees himself as creating a sense of community in the east Asheville neighborhood.

“We feel the neighborhood deserves a really good spot to come and hang out and spend their time,” he says. “We're just looking to incorporate the good things people do over in east Asheville so they can have their spot right in their own neighborhood, which is really lacking over there.”

Creekside will occupy the space at 8 Beverly Road, which formerly housed Ruby's BBQ Shack. But before developers renovated the building for restaurant use in the early 2000s, it was home to East Asheville Hardware, a community fixture for decades. Dennehy hopes to incorporate the building's history into his new establishment to create a similarly long-lasting legacy.

He says the memory of the hardware store still lingers in both the wood of the building and the collective memory of the community. “It's interesting because the more you talk to people it sounds like it's a pretty integral part of the community, even though the hardware store has been gone for some time,” he says.

To honor that legacy, Dennehy plans to call one of the restaurant's signature burgers the “hardware.” “The description is: it's going to have all the nuts and bolts,” he says. In addition to burgers, Creekside will serve other American favorites, such as barbecue, salads and home-style sides.

Daniel Holmes, formerly of 12 Bones Smokehouse, will pioneer the culinary efforts. The barbecue will represent a wide range of styles, probably five or six, to suit all tastes. “We plan on just spreading it out with the sauces so people can enjoy whatever they're into, if it's red sauce, or white sauce or, of course, vinegar,” Dennehy says.

Like Holmes, Dennehy is an experienced denizen of the Asheville food world. His parents, Pat and Rose Dennehy, own City Bakery, and he works there with his family. He has also managed the bar at Jack of the Wood, and until last week, he was a general manager at Asheville Brewing Company.

Diners can expect an emphasis on local craft products at Creekside. The bar will feature 18 taps, about eight of which will be local brews. In addition to community-conscious food, Dennehy hopes his new venture will provide a community venue for live music, volleyball (there's a court out back), ping-pong, corn hole, group meetings and good times in general.

He expects Creekside will open for business by the end of the August. And for those who are concerned, the characteristic cow on the roof that adorned Ruby's will remain.

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