Asheville Ale House: With the sort of scrappiness from which sports movies are made, Asheville Ale House this fall opened in the shadow of the behemoth Wild Wing Café, the two-story franchise outlet that's become many sports fans' game-day destination.
Owner Nate Feilich claims the competition doesn't worry him: "Wild Wings is a great place, but we feel like it's more of a party bar or a wings place," he explains. "We're one of the only true sports bars in Asheville."
Feilich defines a "true sports bar" by its televisions, and Asheville Ale House has plenty: The walls are lined with 19 42-inch plasma TVs, arranged so diners can cozy up to the screen of their choice. The bar's also remarkably responsive to requests for certain channels; unlike corporate-owned chains, Feilich says, Asheville Ale House doesn't need to clear its game choices with a home office.
"If someone wants something and we can do it for them, we will," says Feilich, citing the story of a displaced Nittany Lion who wanted to watch the Penn State game. When Feilich discovered the bar hadn't yet ordered the Big Ten cable package needed to show it, he "got on the phone and got it right away."
Feilich is equally excited about the edible offerings at the Ale House. The pub grub-leaning menu, featuring nachos, sandwiches and fried oreos for dessert, was created by former Grove Park Inn chef Mike Espey, who helms the kitchen.
"We have great food items," Feilich says.
Asheville Ale House, 144 Biltmore Ave., is open seven days a week, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. and serves its full menu until closing time. To learn more, call 251-1153.
Rezaz: In a pizza-rich town, east Asheville pines for more high-quality pies. That could change when Reza Setayesh opens his next eatery in the Reynolds Village storefront last occupied by Harvest Restaurant. Rezaz owner Setayesh is planning to debut his family-style eatery, featuring brick-oven pizzas and pastas, in mid-November. Rezaz Manager Michran David promises more information about the restaurant — including a menu, hours, and phone number — will be available next month.
Razcal's: An east Asheville sports bar that radically revamped its menu recently is changing its name to reflect the restaurant's newfound culinary seriousness. Razcal's, 831 Old Fairview Road, this week becomes the Old Fairview Southern Kitchen, marking its name change with a Nov. 7 celebration featuring live music and a full menu served till 11 p.m. The new lineup, developed by chef Josh Lawton, includes "classic Southern staples from Carolina shrimp fritters to mushroom-sausage strudel to fried chicken to venison meatloaf — all completely from scratch," Manager Erin Walker writes. For more information, call 277-7117.