Crawl for your food

Ah, Asheville. So many restaurants, so little time — and, for some of us, never enough money to try them all. But next week, Asheville Independent Restaurant Association’s Small Plate Crawl will offer an affordable and fun way to get a broad sampling of the area’s culinary offerings. Tuesday-Thursday, Feb. 25-27, more than 20 AIR-member restaurants will feature special, low-priced small-plate menus with a price range of $3-$8, providing the perfect opportunity for a midweek night out on the town.

Most of the participating restaurants are in the downtown area, but there are also plenty of choices further afield. With 20 different restaurants participating, it seems like choosing where to go would be the hardest part. The event websiteorganizes participating restaurants and their menus by geographical location, so it’s easy to plan your dining strategy. For example, if you are starting on the south side of town, you could grab a $3 beer flight at 32° Ice Bar and Lounge, head downtown for a $6 fresh mozzarella and olives sampler at Jerusalem Garden Café, grab some $3 Bang-Bang Cauliflower at Isa’s Bistro then travel west for some $3 Chinese deviled tea eggs at Blue Kudzu Sake in the River Arts District and a $3 fried avocado taco at Sunny Point Café. Of course it wouldn’t be a bad thing to swing back through downtown later for a $7 chocolate sampler plate at French Broad Chocolate Lounge. You know. Something like that.

A press release from AIR recommends making the craw a fast-paced affair, so if there’s a wait at one restaurant, visit another Crawl participant then come back. AIR also recommends bringing cash to help speed up check out, and reminds us not to forget to tip the servers.

More notes from AIR: “If you plan on going: 1) print the AIRpass from the Small Plate Crawl website and bring it with you to the Crawl as you travel from restaurant to restaurant. 2) AIRpass holders that have validated visits at five or more restaurants are eligible for prizes. When anyone in a group purchases a plate, EVERYONE in the group gets their AIRpass validated. The more restaurants you visit, the greater the chance of winning a prize.”

For details, participating restaurants and their menus and to print out an AIRpass, visit


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