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Apr 23, 2010 10:01 AM

Asheville - Refresh/Renew - 2010

The economic downturn was the excuse given for many a restaurant closing in 2009-2010 but the truth is that they had dug their own graves long before the economy tanked ...whether it was poor customer service, poor food, high prices, or bad management or a combination of all....the economy was just the straw the broke the camel's back.
Gone (feel free to add to this) - Stovetrotters in Biltmore Village, South Side in S. Asheville,

The good news is that many restaurants continue to thrive and even expand like Tupelo Honey & 12 bones w/ S. Asheville locations. What's the key? IMO Adaptability, a good product and good customer service.
Savoy has become Vinnie's a casual,noisy, family Italian eatery and has been jam packed the 2x I have been there.
Though the Admiral (W.Asheville) looks like a dive bar from the outside it is also jam packed on any given night.

Some of my new fav's
Posana - can't believe I waited so long to try this place. Food is stellar as is service and you can't beat the location - right on Pack Square so awesome for people watching. The owner, Peter, walks around and (gasp) TALKS to his customers! Also you'll never believe it but it is gluten-free so if you need it or have someone who does - this is the place to go....

Sazerac - a hip bar/restaurant with the "in place to be" - a roof top bar. Love the food with lots of little plate options and sanwiches...killer drinks.

Tupelo Honey Cafe
12 College St, Asheville, NC 28801

4 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28803

Posana Cafe
1 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

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  1. I completely agree with you, Leah. Too many recently failed restaurants used the economy as an excuse. I'm sure it didn't help (nor did the back to back snowstorms on weekends), but the ones who get it right are still thriving or as you said, made adjustments for the times (reduced prices, went more casual, etc) and made it through. That said, if they were just starting their restaurants when things tanked, I'm sure those places had a lot more to overcome. Of course, I don't envy anyone in that business - it's a tough one!

    1. Don't forget the late (and lamented) Nova...

      Hey, Leah! What do you like at Posana? (Have been meaning to try for months.) Also, is their brunch aby good?

      Posana Cafe
      1 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

      11 Replies
      1. re: Jeff C.

        hey jeff - we liked EVERYTHING we ordered! A trio of different nut coated goat cheese w/ fruit compotes was a great share. The veg tempura was perfect, light and tasty, scallop entree my son had - he nearly licked the plate. We had local trout which was also great...

        1. re: leahinsc

          Sounds good! I still need to try the "rooftop" bar at Sazerac, too...

        2. re: Jeff C.

          I was there for a group dinner (about 35 people) on Thursday night. We had a choice of lentil soup or salad; chicken, steak, salmon or veg plate; and a trio of strawberry cake, lemon cheesecake and chocolate ginger pot de creme for dessert. My wife and I had the soup and salmon. They were both excellent as were the desserts. She is not a fan of green beans which came with the salmon so she got roasted cauliflower instead. The cauliflower was fantastic. The service was very attentive. They made quick work of cashing out individual cash bar tabs. I don't know if what we ate is on the regular menu. Based on our group meal, I will go back next time I am in Asheville and can highly recommend this as a great location for a large group.

          1. re: boaviagem

            Where was your group dinner? Sazerac or Posana? I guess if at Sazerac then you rented out the top space? None of that sounds like what is on their regular menu. But it does sound delicious!

            Interesting to hear about Posana. For some reason I thought it had gotten a few really bad reviews on this board? Glad you enjoyed it...we'll add it to the list of things to try.

            I think the new Tupelo Honey location may even be better than the downtown one! And you certainly can't beat no waiting in line for 45 minutes.

            I'm interested to hear reviews on the Himilayan place that opened on Patton where Sugo used to be. I saw they had a lunch buffet - that may be a good way to experience a lot of dishes. And we're planning a trip to Pack Tavern pretty soon. Their beer selection sounds great, and if they can put out bar food as good as LAB then that will be another daytime downtown favorite, I'm sure.

            1. re: miss piggy

              Picnics closed too...sad. I liked that place, and everyone who worked there was so nice.

              1. re: miss piggy

                I kind of wonder though....his mother died, he closed the restaurant, and when I saw him after the place had closed he looked pretty content.

                1. re: leahinsc

                  You know, I almost said in my post "I wonder if something happened to his sweet mother." And now I know. She was so kind and funny...I always enjoyed chatting with her when we ate there. I am glad you said he was content. I always thought they were such a sweet family. Glad you let me know...

                    1. re: Jeff C.

                      I saw something recently about a Picnic's pies at Mother & Son Bistro in Woodfin....

                2. re: miss piggy

                  Oh my...Picnic's was my go-to place for take out after an exhausting day at work - especially in the summer on nights too hot to cook.

                  She was a quite a character! The shop seemed to be such an important part of her life. She and the other personalities made the experience feel like so much more than just a restaurant.

                  I guess my half filled punch card has become a collectors item!

                3. re: miss piggy

                  No waiting in line for Tupelo Honey? Even on a Sunday? Where?

                  Tupelo Honey Cafe
                  12 College St, Asheville, NC 28801

            2. I hear Tomato Cocina Latina is moving into the old Thai place next to Earth Fare at Westgate.
              I'm curious about the back story - after they put so much energy into adding the patio a year ago...I'm not sure if the new location has more seating capacity either. I guess it will have the benefit of all of Earth Fares traffic. I hope it is a good move for them!

              2 Replies
              1. re: meatn3

                I find the move puzzling, too. I always thought they did pretty well were they were.

                1. re: Jeff C.

                  Yeah, I am a little worried about that myself. They are building some other stuff in that area (a Jason's Deli, I beleive?) so maybe it will prove beneficial. I just loved their patio seating in the old location.

                  Where they should have moved is that great spot downtown on Lexington, next to LAB, where Old Europe was briefly. I think it would have been perfect. Something needs to go there...desperately! The right concept seems like it would be so successful what with all the traffic on Lexington and that great patio space. I had heard it was going to be a deli, but there is no movement.

                  Something is going on at the old Hop location on Merrimon. Not sure what.

                  Old Europe
                  41 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801