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Oct 20, 2010 05:46 AM

Saturday lunch Charlotte to Asheville…what would you do?

Flying into Charlotte a little after 10 a.m. with our destination being Asheville. Our only planned stop is the Rockhouse Vineyards in Tryon.

We are trying to decide if the options are worth it to stay for lunch in Charlotte or if we should just get on the road and eat when we get to Asheville or possibly stop in between?? (Bridges seems to be the only overwhelming mention of places in between.)

I know this isn’t super specific, but I am just sort of curious of what other chowhounders would do?

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  1. What do you prefer? Do you like BBQ, burgers, country or just any kind of road food? Tryon is a bit out of the way going to Asheville, NC considering the best route is N to I 40 from Charlotte, NC. If you intend to visit Tryon you could dine in Gastonia, NC or Shelby, NC but BBQ is the best I know of. RO's has outstanding BBQ serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in Gastonia, NC. If you continue E to Tryon, NC on # 74 you can find good BBQ in Shelby, NC @ Alston Bridges as well as Bridges BBQ.

    If you stop at RO's get off I 85 at Exit 17 and go S on # 321 to W Airline Ave. Go W to your right and take the fork to the right on Gaston Avenue to RO's.

    R O'S Bar B Que @ 1318 Gaston Ave., Gastonia, NC. 704 - 866 - 8143.

    Alston Bridges BBQ @ 620 E. Grover St., Shelby, NC. 704 - 482 - 1998.
    Bridges Barbecue Lodge @ 2000 E. Dixon Blvd., Shelby, NC. 704 - 482 - 8567.

    After you leave Tryon, NC you could stop in Hendersonville, NC at West First Wood Fired Pizza open for lunch and dinner and dine on their outside deck. It's located off I 26 at Exit 49A.

    West 1st Wood Fired Pizza @ 101B 1st Avenue W., Hendersonville, NC 828 - 693 - 1080.

    Do you need any help in Asheville. Be sure to go to Admiral. Everyone loves that place. I also like Table and Zambra.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Littleman

      We like all kinds of food (once again, apologize for not being more specific)…just looking for a place with good food that will be a fun and unique experience being it’s our first meal on our first visit to NC.

      1. re: bte576

        I'm going to suggest BBQ because NC is very famous for good BBQ and they hold their own with any other state. If you prefer you could go to BBQ King which is only 10 minutes E of the Airport (AP) or about 20 minutes out of your way. Your other choice would be to leave the AP and go W on I 85 to RO's in Gastonia, NC. RO's has been in business 56 years. They have curb service as well as dine in service. They also have two mobile units. You can check their website and see where the mobile units will be on the day you plan to be driving W to Tryon, NC. If you stop at RO's get off I 85 at Exit 17 and go S on # 321 to W Airline Ave. Go W to your right and take the fork to the right on Gaston Avenue to RO's.

        BBQ King has drive through and curb service. You can call ahead and pick it up. There's no inside dining. To get to BBQ King leaving the AP go N on Little Rock Road to Wilkinson Boulevard. Take a right and go E for 3.2 miles. You will have to make a U Turn at Weyland Avenue and go back W on Wilkinson. BBQ King will be on your right. After lunch go W on Wilkinson to Billy Graham and take a right. Go N to I 85 and Exit W. Troy, NC is about 85 miles or an hour and a half away.

        Bar B Q King @ 2900 Wilkinson Blvd., Charlotte, NC. 704 - 399 - 8344.

        R O'S Bar B Que @ 1318 Gaston Ave., Gastonia, NC. 704 - 866 - 8143.

      2. re: Littleman

        We have reservations already for The Admiral and both Zambra and Table are on our radar...will probably do a bit of restaurant crawling to fit it all in. is always good to hear more positive recommendations.

        1. re: bte576

          Good job! You will not regret your Admiral decision. :)

        2. re: Littleman

          Littleman, I gotta tell ya. Most of your recs on these boards are spot-on, but I have to disagree with you on RO's. I went for the first time last week, and wasn't impressed. Maybe I need to give it another shot, but the que I had was just not that good. I liked Fletcher's much better. Does RO's use wood? I drove around and didn't see any, but I might have missed it. Not sure if Fletcher's uses wood or not, as I didn't notice when I stopped in there, but I sure liked the que better........

          1. re: slotmansc

            AFAIK RO's is gas cooked, mass-produced 'cue. A lot of people like it but thats probably due to nostalgia and availability than anything else. I do have an affinity for their slaw but I can see why a lot of people don't like it.

            I think RO's is the kind of barbecue that makes a good sandwich.

        3. A lot of people, and I mean A LOT, pan RO's BBQ as recommended above. Those familiar with the NC bbq tradition don't even consider it BBQ. King's is supposed to have a decent pork sandwich, buit it's not a traditional sit-down.

          I would HIGHLY recommend you go to Bridges. It's the only BBQ place between Charlotte and Asheville that's on the Historic NC BBQ Trail. They just do things a lot better there in a part of the state where, honestly, it's a bit of slim pickings when it comes to actual BBQ.

          For your reference, this link is to what I consider to be the best map guide anyone could carry around who intends to experience true NC bbq tradition:

          1 Reply
          1. re: mikeh

            I second Mikeh. I mentioned Bridge's in my first post but I forgot how good it was. You will pass right by Bridge's on your way to Tryon, NC just E of Shelby, NC. It's on # 74 on the S side across the street from Hampton Inn. This is your best deal. Check out Black Mountain, NC just E of Asheville, NC when you get there. It's a neat town and has some great restaurants.

            Bridges Barbecue Lodge @ 2000 E. Dixon Blvd., Shelby, NC. 704 - 482 - 8567.

            Bridges Barbecue Lodge
            2000 E Dixon Blvd, Shelby, NC 28152

          2. NC native, Charlotte resident and frequent Asheville visitor here. I'd take Highway 74, and either stop at Bridge's BBQ Lodge, or push on to A'ville. Lots of GREAT choices in Asheville.

            RO's is bad, BBQ King is a fun experience, but is not great 'q.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jla1960

              Thanks for all the insight...will likely go with Bridges.

            2. I agree on Bridges. First, I much prefer taking 74 then 26 to Asheville from here than driving all the way to Spartanburg to catch 26 (and the drive is prettier too). Secondly, Bridges makes darned good 'cue and their hushpuppies are very addictive.

              You may want to check out this blog by some folks who do great photography and also know food

              1. I'm a NC BBQ lover so I'd stop for a BBQ sandwich (with slaw) along the way.

                I'm a history buff so I'd visit Biltmore Estate for tea and pretend I'm a Vanderbilt.

                Biltmore Estate
                1 Approach Rd, Asheville, NC 28803