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Asheville - The Green Sage is open!

I just heard The Green Sage opened today downtown at 5 Broadway. According to the e-mail the hours are M - R 7:30 am to 10 pm, F 7:30 am to 11 pm, Sat. 8 am to 11 pm, Sun. 8 am to 9 pm. Breakfast daily until 4, lunch daily 11 am to close. Focus on organic coffee, tea, smoothies & live juice. The owner, Randy Talley, is well known in organic circles - he researches to the max and always finds exciting, delicious foods. I won't be able to try it for a week or so - please post if you get by there!

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  1. Hey Hounds - I tried it last night and here is my take:

    Decent food - wasn't blown away.
    A little too casual service.
    A little overpriced.

    Good concept - I applaud the local sourcing/green touches and there is a nice menu although I think it is a tad $ for most items.

    The service while friendly was extremely casual/lackadaisical.

    Example, when the server brought our plates, she reversed our orders and before she had placed them in front of us I pointed out that they were reversed whereupon she just shrugged and left without a word.

    I then asked for ketchup for my 'decent' black bean burger (add a buck for cheese? come on...) and even though we were 2 of 4 people in the restaurant the server I asked for ketchup asked ME again..."Were you the guy who wanted ketchup?" I must say that the sweet potato fries were great!

    My dining companion had a turkey sandwich and salad and it got favorable reviews.

    Dinner for 2 - nothing extravagant and no drinks was $20 - a tad high I think for the food/service.

    I'll give them my standard 3 tries (and I know I went early on...I usually wait a month for the kinks to be worked out) but unless they ramp it up I'll see you at Rosettas or the Laughing Seed.

    They do have the coolest bathroom fixtures in town though and I do think they have promise...maybe give it another 3 weeks...

    3 Replies
    1. re: jbyoga

      Randy Talley? Doesn't he work for Earth Fare?

      1. re: jakistar79

        He has in the past. I don't think he has for a year or so. But he moves from idea to idea so fast that is hard to keep up!

        1. re: jakistar79

          He was there, he left, he helped put Greenlife together, he came back to EF, he left again well over a year ago when the latest group of investors (Monitor Clipper Partners ) bought in. Last I heard through very reliable, multiple sources is he is on his own. Whether he will end up doing something for them again is a whole 'nother thing!
          FYI: http://www.topix.com/business/grocery...

    2. We just stopped in for a coffee. Great space! Super place to sit, read and relax. The lemonade is absolute dynamite. Very hectic service, but I'm sure it will even out. We'll be back, but probably only for drinks and maybe desserts. Those killer bathrooms where the ones from the old c.f. changs. Love the sinks!

      1. Tried this place for brunch. They still have plenty of kinks to work out. There was no service. Zero. After we ordered, and our food was brought out we never saw anyone again. I had to go find someone to ask for butter and jam for my toast. We were never asked if we needed anything, or how anything was. I had ordered a vegi omlette, and it arrived with sausage. My SO omlette lacked cheese. Luckily I am not a vegetarian, or I would have been pretty upset. The food did TASTE good though, and the fresh squeezed juices are yummy ( if not a tad overpriced). The menu is quite large for the "order at the counter and sit down concept" with no where to really stand and check it out, a line forms quickly. I hope they work out the service issues. Even as we left the building, no service in the dining room. Dirty plates on several tables, ect. The food was good though, so i will give them another shot.

        1. Found this blurb about it (not a review, more a few paragraphs on philosophy):

          3 Replies
          1. re: meatn3

            I'm eating the $9 grass-fed Sage Burger; it's only okay: a little dry. The sweet potato fries are limp and heavy, and I have an overpriced fresh-squeezed lemonade. Kudos for the enviro-conscious takeout box. Service is still spotty. The counter staff doesn't really know the menu. (Staff and service are such am important part of the first impression, I would have thought they'd had to memorize the basic menu. My server had to keep turning around to the board to answer my questions.) They seem confused but are cheerful enough (just wait til Bele Chere!). The owner looked tense...must have been a rough week.

            1. re: lolamoth

              Maybe S(he) is reading these posts!

              1. re: lolamoth

                From these reports Bele Chere will be quite interesting! Granted good servers are a challenge in Asheville, but with just opening you have a great opportunity to start out right & do some good training. (sigh) I arrived in town tonight. Hoping for brunch at Sunny Point, then appointments. Will try to get by there late afternoon. Hearing through my local grapevine that others are having the same impressions. Hopefully the learning curb will be quick & the shaky aspects fixed soon.

            2. Well,I was able to check it out the other day. Service issues seemed limited to learning a new & not completely programed register system. Everyone was friendly & helpful. Menu knowledge, with exception of having prices memorized, was quite good. Atmosphere was great - sophisticated yet comfy & inviting. Menu options were quite good & the list of vender's was a who's who of the best of local sources. Unless you are seated at the lower level,it is hard to see the self-service bus area. I suspect this is why another poster experienced many un-bussed tables. I was unsure how it was handled & asked a server as she finished bringing food for a nearby group. She offered & removed our dishes & let me know where the bus station was located. The food I had was very good, sweet potato fries were great & a huge portion. The carrot cake really is one of the best I've had. I watched the kitchen, they seemed really tight & focused. Spoke with several other patrons who were very happy - one fellow has been in daily since it opened. His enthusiasm was so great it was almost amusing. Only quibble I had was with the chocolate bread pudding. It was good, but it wasn't a bread pudding. Also, it contains coconut which tends to be a love it or hate it ingredient for many, so appropriate signage would be good. Prices seem in line with the rest of town. Even 12 Bones has similar system of counter orders with sit down price. I really like being able to patronize a place that has put the energy & $$ into being extremely green. It is hard to do this, especially from a small business perspective - so my respect & hats off to someone who puts out that effort & commitment. And still is able to do a good job on the food focus! I also really like having a coffee place back at that location. I'll be going back!

              1 Reply
              1. re: meatn3

                I have eaten at the Green Sage a few since the opening I think the food is the cleanest in town,and they continue to improve, listen to feedback and adress issues many that have been adressed on this site. Service, bussing system, speed, etc. The local grassfed beef and bison burger have a great earthy flavor, the tempeh ruben is right on with the tempeh marinated just right with a salty sweet flavor. My kids love the organic pbj,hummus dip and the kids smoothie, though the serving is a little large. The bison chili and biscut rock. The deserts have been a big hit with our family too, fresh baked, with vegan and raw choices, the raw chocolate mouse torte was a whole lotta yum. I also fill good eating there not only are they supporting local farmers, they have those cool solar panels on the roof to heat the water and have the only real compost system in a resturant in Asheville. and the reycled materail they used to buld the bars show there commitment. I would like the staff to be a little more knowlegable about the food and there mission, they need to let people know what and why they are doing it and why there food costs a litlle more, but no more than most places in town whos food is not local or organic. Anyway I suggest you all try it again and support these green visonaries we need more buisness embracing these practices for all our sakes. Not just talking about it, or banning plastic bags, ok I will get off my soapbox now. The food is fresh, healty and flaverful and they have something for bi-diets family to, vegan, raw, vege and caranvoire alike. Eat Peace!

              2. As a downtown working stiff with a taste for the tasty, I had high hopes for The Green Sage. After 13 years in the neighborhood, a new lunch option is definitely a cause for celebration. Well, I have given it my three-visit test, and I am sorry to say that I will not be returning. First and foremost, their prices are way out of line. Today, I had a hankering for a "big salad." I ordered the spinach salad with a scoop of trout salad on top. It wasn't under seasoned...it wasn't seasoned at all. Bland, bland, bland. The salad was a bed of spinach topped with some questionable crouton/goat cheese concoction (beige) topped with too many roasted beets (beige) topped with mushy trout salad. One very small container of salad dressing on the side (it was a to-go-order). All of this for a mere $11! I had to stop eating before I was halfway through. My tastebuds found it too depressing. So did my wallet. There wasn't even a slice of local artisan bread or a spelt cracker to console myself with. I won't recount my previous experiences. OK, just a fast one. Muffin (actually tasty) + smoothie (marginal) = $8! Please, Green Sage, for the love of Asheville, lower your prices and work on your spices, or are you just looking for that ever-so-precious tourist dollar?

                6 Replies
                1. re: dumplingfiend

                  I feel you budget pains believe me, but what they are trying to do with their green/eco/organic/humane mission isn't cheap. I applaud their efforts, and hope they get acquainted with their salt shaker.

                  1. re: dumplingfiend

                    This may sound sarcastic,but do you like "The Med"??????.Cheap, no frills but a good value.IMO.

                    1. re: Spreadhead

                      About once every other month, The Med's chicken gyro sandwich is just what the doctor ordered. I'm just saying that a much better salad can me constructed from Greenlife's bar (IMO) for half the price of Green Sage. If I am going to spend $11, the salad better be transcendent.

                      1. re: dumplingfiend

                        Hey! so i work at the green sage and i agree with many of you about our prices. But , one must consider, the organic and local foods which we purchase are not cheap, and so in order to retain a balance, prices must be increased. The difference is not only in the quality of produce and meat but also in the conscious connection that we create when we support our community by purchasing locally instead of globally.
                        I am very sorry that some of you have had mediocre visits to the establishment. Many things are being worked on. And hopefully changes will occur that will allow this cafe to bloom and set it apart from the likes of every other restaurant in town. Our reliance on our green values cannot be our only selling point. We must create great food and beverages and an amazing atmosphere.

                        please let us know what it is you want . what it is you desire in a space that was made for you to be able to be conscious about what you eat and what you drink and who it is you support.

                        thanks - daniel

                        1. re: solarseed

                          Hey Daniel, thanks for the post.

                          Since you asked, here is what I want:

                          1. Friendly, attentive service.
                          2. Well prepared, tasty food that is a good value.

                          Thus far on my 2 visits the service was slack and the food was ok.

                          I look forward to your efforts bearing fruit!

                    2. re: dumplingfiend

                      agreed, prices are ridiculous. a breakfast biscuit with bacon, egg, cheese was $6. SIX dollars??? with no sides, nothing, just one small/medium biscuit w/bacon egg and cheese? i will never eat there again personally. r-i-p o-f-f.

                    3. The "service" when I went was wonderful. This isn't like the laughing seed, with a server that waits on you. It's more like Rosetta's, including self-bussed tables, composting, and recycling. They have an entire counter near the cash register and display case with all of the condiments,sugar,jelly,creamer, etc. It's more of a self serve, casual place, which I personally prefer.

                      I am so happy that someone finally opened a Larry's beans coffee shop on this end of town!!!! I agree that some of the prices are a little steep, but the ingredients seem high quality (at least the several vegan options that my dining companion and I enjoyed). My visit included a delicious vegan strawberry scone, and their toasted pita with hummus and veggies. I had a double shot in the dark/red eye, and was the best cup of coffee that I have enjoyed since my move to Asheville 2 years ago. I have been recommending it to EVERYONE.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: adaniel

                        We tried it for lunch today. Nice interior, cushy middle level with couches and papers out for reading. Tables on upper and lower levels for dining. I had the combo ($8) with half a turkey and swiss wrap with apple chutney and a cup of the soup of the day (spring pea soup). I think they gave me a whole wrap by mistake (it was a whole tortilla), and I can imagine being really ticked off if all I got was half of that for $8. The apple chutney was good but the sandwich as a whole was nothing special. Not a lot of meat or cheese on the wrap - it was very sparse. The pea soup was terrible. I was expecting a creamy pea soup and I got a lukewarm cup of a very light, bland, brothy concoction that was green but in no other way reminicent of peas. It tasted like almost-cold veggie water. Hmm. My husband had the turkey club with sweet potato fries. Again, nothing special about the sandwich. The fries got a mixed reaction from us. You could tell they were hand-cut and very fresh; they had a great "sweet potatoey" flavor and density, but they were not crisp-fried and were really greasy. If you're going expecting crisp "fries" then don't order them.

                        I think this place is better served as a coffee shop. There was a large selection of coffee drinks, teas and smoothies. It has a nice atmosphere (love the window and getting to watch all the street traffic) but they need to improve their food dramatically.

                        Cost for the two of us plus one drink (I had water) was $20. We ate at Sunny Point the day before for the same price and had a much better meal, much bigger portions and the same local/organic principles in mind.

                        1. re: miss piggy

                          My sweet potato fries were crisp & not greasy - they were really perfect. Perhaps it varies as to who is in the kitchen - not that it should!
                          I agree on the atmosphere - very nice for a leisurely cup-a & people watching out the window.

                          1. re: miss piggy

                            Likewise, I ate at Rosettas the other day and the food was great, service attentive and prices/food ratio spot on.

                            I haven't felt the desire to return to the Sage...

                        2. We've tried eating (notice the "tried") there, now 3x's. The lentil soup was good. And once they had fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice with big chunks of juicy grapefruit in it - wow! I died and went to heaven. But they don't have that anymore. And their "fresh-sqeezed oj" is not fresh-squeezed, but from a plastic quart they buy fm somewhere, and it says on the label "fresh squeezed". NICE.

                          My daughter tried the turkey wrap twice, and then wouldn't eat it...said it "tasted funny". We agreed.

                          The service was slow and scattered. The counter where you order is always fluctuating and confused and it's been awhile at this point!

                          The WORST time was just last weekend. We went for breakfast. BIG MISTAKE. My fried eggs were all brown! Even Huddle House or McDonald's are better than that! And the egg, sausage and biscuit sandwich my partner got? The egg was fried and dirty-looking and brown. It's tasted funny, like the grill hadn't been cleaned - other food tastes. The biscuit that came with his meal, disintegrated when he touched it, into a million tiny little crumbles. I felt like crying into my brown eggs. I contemplated returning them, but then realized that anyone that would put that on a plate, and think it was "ok", clearly does not give a sh*t. :-(

                          It's great to be all trendy and "green" and stuff, but the number one philosophy of a restaurant should be "THE FOOD SHOULD BE GOOD", and number two is "service great". Save the trendy green stuff for AFTER THAT. Jeez Louise!!

                          WE WON'T GO BACK THERE AGAIN. Just like the restaurant b4 them, they can't seem to decide just WHAT they are. I portend they will be out of biz b4 the year ends.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: goldencindy

                            "I felt like crying into my brown eggs. I contemplated returning them, but then realized that anyone that would put that on a plate, and think it was "ok", clearly does not give a sh*t. :-("


                            Sorry to hear about that experience...guess I won't be going back for my 3rd stri- I mean try...

                          2. Stopped in late on a Friday night for coffee and got a pretty decent drink in a fun ''The Green Sage'' mug. I felt a bit out of my element at first as I'm not necessarily the ''Asheville-type'' but once my friends and I grabbed and table and sat down it felt like an OK place. I would go back for coffee, but do not plan on eating a meal there just because everything looked soooooo expensive for my little college student budget.

                            Gentlemen, definitely check out the restroom, there is a pretty nifty waterless urinal in there (sorry, kind of off topic and completely unrelated to the food/drink experience, but I found it interesting).

                            1. I really like Green Sage. The first time I went was at Bele Chere and I was very impressed. Have been back 5 or 6 times since then, always for breakfast, and always with a different assortment of friends. Everyone has always been pleased. It is true that there is sparse table service, but I didn't really expect any...it's just not that kind of place. There is always a bottle of ketchup at the next table and they will be glad to share. I suggest when you go there order their original items, not something you could get at McDonalds. I like the breakfast with the greens and the mushroom gravy. About price: I feel you get what you pay for, and this is, for the most part, real food. Read Fast Food Nation to find out what makes McDonalds taste so good. All that said, their buscuits are a little dry but if you put some of that great raspberry jam on them they are truly amazing with coffee.