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Asheville - Real deal?

I'll be visiting Asheville in May and would like to go to authentic, traditional Southern and soul food places. I've heard about Hunters Lodge and The Ritz, any other place I should check out? Also is there anything I should sample if I get to Hot Springs?
Many thanks!

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  1. Not many restaurants in Asheville specialize in traditional southern but many have southern inspired dishes on their menus, I'd try Early Girl and Corner Kitchen whose menus weigh a little more heavily towards southern dishes. Many other great restaurants in town though

    1. Unfortunately Hot springs has very little to offer in food. Pack a lunch and have a picnic on the river.

      1. Wandering downtown Asheville, you'll come across many better eateries than the Ritz. Depends, of course, what you're in the mood for. Locals will give you some suggestions.....

        1 Reply
        1. re: mardy

          Any other soul food restaurants besides The Ritz that you like?

        2. I posted last month about Hunters Lodge. I went for the fried chicken which I thought would be a half chicken. It turned out to be a small boneless breast. Not the way to eat fried chicken. Enjoyed the southern cuisine at Tupelo Honey the next night.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chuck s

            I think you had the unfortunate/unusual event at Hunter's Lodge. Did you ask your server what the deal was with the chicken? We go there often specifically for the fried chicken and collards. Always a bone-in breast or 1/4 dark, fried in cast iron skillet. Collards and Man-N-Cheese are great as well. Chuck, If you are a local, I urge you to give them a second try.

          2. Barry,

            Asheville has never been a Southern foodie destination. It wasn't when I grew up there and it still isn't.

            However, when I go back to visit in a couple of weeks, I'm going to the Moose Cafe (by the WNC farmer's market), the Pisgah View Ranch for breakfast, and Little Pigs BBQ for Western-style NC bbq. I'll also probably go to Tupelo Honey Cafe and Three Brothers Greek Restaurant, because the Greeks in the Asheville *are* authentically "Southern".

            4 Replies
            1. re: xstamper

              I would NOT waste my time at Moose Cafe. Bad. Although I seem to recall the biscuits were a mildly redeeming feature.

              1. re: danna

                sounds like xstamper is planning a nostalgia trip; fine, no comment necessary on a person's fond memories. that said, if you have no fond memories of moose cafe, little pigs or 3 brothers, then i would pass on all.

                the only rec i can give is a fairly limited one. if you'll be in town on a thursday, lucky otter features a jamaican plate that is not too different from southern & soul food. it usually features stewed/sauteed greens, beans & rice (sometimes root veggies instead), plantains & the protein is usually chicken or fish (tilapia). like i said, not true southern/soul, but when i crave that type of food, and the craving occurs on a thursday, that's where i go.

                1. re: mark

                  Fyi on Hunter's Lodge - closed for rennovations - they are re-doing it and the sign now says Bavarian Restaurant

                  1. re: mark

                    I have to disagree on Three Brothers. I ate there today, actually. Their Athenian Greek Platter, Greek Spaghetti, and Spanakopita are really good, even if their salads are lacking. :p

              2. Up in Spruce Pine there is an authentic southern place called "the Lazy Susan" served family style, fried chix, collards, beans, corn bread, sweet tea. Great.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bethd127

                  You really don't want to eat at Moose Cafe or Little Pigs, and besides, neither is in downtown Asheville. This just isn't a destination for southern-style food. But if you have time for the four-hour drive to Savannah........

                2. Definitely do not waste time on the Moose Cafe-yuk!!!. My husband's family has long known the family who owns the Fireplace Restaurant on Weaverville Highway (used to be Gerald's till about ten years ago), and they do a great Southern lunch buffet on Sundays. Try to get there before noon or after 1:30, though, otherwise you'll be in for a wait. It's not a hip, downtown-Asheville type of place, but if you're looking for traditional (nothing offbeat) Southern cooking, such as pot roast, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and fried okra, then this will be right up your alley. (Unfortunately, the Pisgah View Ranch closed down two or three years ago, so you can forget that.)

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: stephw1

                    Just got back, had some great meals, here's my mini report.
                    Barbecue Inn - Chopped a bit dry, but beef ribs, chicken, hush puppies, fried green tomatoes very good.
                    Mediterranean Rest. - Good breakfast grits, country ham.
                    Ritz - Excellent soul food lunch. Great catfish, collards, cole slaw, mac & cheese.
                    Mela Indian - Very good shag paneer, dal.
                    Hot Springs, NC Diner. Terrific fried chicken, trout, pies.
                    China Palace - Great, authentic vegetarian buffet (Weds). Amazing Chinese sweet sauteed potatoes.

                    1. re: Barry Strugatz

                      Forgot to mention at The Ritz:
                      Superb Strawberry Cake and blackberry cobbler.
                      Sorry I didn't make it to the West End bakery, Tupelo, Hunters, Early Girl, etc. this time...

                      1. re: Barry Strugatz

                        Well Barry - next time you come to town then lunch at 12 Bones because besides the best BBQ in WNC, their sides are fab.

                    2. re: stephw1

                      Hahahaha, I didn't read these Moose Cafe posts until I posted my own criticism of it. I think it's so funny that everyone hates it. Is that mean? Oh well.

                    3. Come to my grandma's house, it's about as authentic as you're going to get. I hate to say so, but there is very little REAL southern dining here in Asheville. As quick as everyone is to suggest Tupelo Honey or Early Girl, they are not Southern as much as they are Southern-inspired. The food is great both places, but it's not something you'd get off of Aunt Jemima's table (I've lived here all my life, I should know). One of the best places to go is the Jarrett House in Sylva, where you will experience some of the best green beans and fried chicken you've ever had. Otherwise, feel free to enjoy our city's array of fine dining and ethnic eateries!

                      Oh, and whatever you do, do NOT go to the Moose Cafe no matter how many times it is suggested. It tastes like Cracker Barrel.