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Calling on Hendersonville-ites

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I'm going to be hanging around Hendersonville, N.C., for most of an upcoming week, and will have time for a least one unscheduled lunch and possibly a dinner. Yes, I can search on previous H'ville threads and I've done so. But the most recent of those seem to be answered in summer, and all seasons are not equal in the mountains.

So: Is there any place open in winter that I should make sure I have on the list? Tryon, Flat Rock, Columbia and environs are fair game, too. But not Asheville -- I have a long enough list to keep me busy there for years.

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  1. West First is always great! We also really like Never Blue (small pates - latin flavor, great drinks), but it gets mixed reviews on here. Umi is good for sushi. Inn on Church is under new ownership and reported to be good, but I haven't been yet. Mezzaluna has been surprisingly good the last few times we've gone. Big beer list if you like beer. If you want to splurge, Season's at Highland Lake Inn (Flat Rock) is nice for an upscale meal (lunch much more reasonable). Oh and speaking of Flat Rock, the Flat Rock Bakery is always great (same owners as West First) and Hubba Hubba has good BBQ (outdoor seating or take-away only though. But, if it's a gorgeous day like today, outdoor seating would be perfect!). Flat Rock Wood Room is newish, but stick to the BBQ or ribs which are very good. I do NOT like their pizza. Go to FR Bakery or West First for that.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Scirocco

      Thanks, Scirocco. Haven't I heard that there's a Mexican restaurant that gets high marks?

      1. re: kathleen purvis

        mmm.....it's probably Papas 'n' Beer on 25. It's your standard Amer/Mex, but it's definitely the best. I forgot about them!

        1. re: kathleen purvis

          My comments will mostly echo Scirocco. You must go to Flat Rock Village Bakery if the weather is like it was today. Outdoor seating is fabulous under the giant magnolia. The pizza there is ever so slightly better than the pizza at the sister restaurant West First, IMO, but West First pizza is 99% as fabulous. Go there if you need to eat inside or need beer/wine . Only the flat rock location has pastries, which are spectacular.

          At night, Flat Rock is closed, go to West First and have pasta , only availalbe at night. Honestly, I'd rather go to one of these restaurants for both meals than go anywhere else in the area. It's that good. I'd get to Never Blue in H'ville, Stone Soup in Landrum, Wildflour Bakery or Purple Onion in Saluda eventually if I had a bunch more meals to plan.

          Highland Lake INn is a great choice if it happens to be Sunday lunch and you want to eat enough to be full for a week. As AYCE buffets go, it's one of the best ever.

          1. re: danna

            Agree that Flat Rock Village Bakery and West First are the only musts. Umi has decent apps and very good sushi but little else of note. The Jamaican place (can't remember the new name) used to be excellent, but I haven't been since they moved about a year ago. Never Blue is overrated, IMO. Papa's & Beer has decent Cali-Mex, but the one on Brevard Road in Asheville (25 mins. away) is so much better, we always go there. And speaking of Asheville, if you're willing to make the drive, you can do MUCH better restaurant-wise...

            1. re: Jeff C.

              The Jamaican place closed recently. :(

              re: Papas 'n' Beer, I had one disappointing experience with the Brevard Rd one. I get the spinach burrito a lot and the one in H'ville uses fresh spinach and I got canned or frozen in the Brevard Rd. one. Yuck. I didn't understand how the same brand (albeit run by different family members) would have that difference. But, the rest of the Brevard Rd one was very good. Much bigger space too and MUCH MUCH nicer atmosphere than the H'ville one.

              Agree with Danna on Purple Onion in Saluda too. Hadn't thought that far south.

      2. Thanks, all. Flat Rock Bakery and West First will definitely be on my list. I've been to Purple Onion several times over the years, although it's always worth the drive. And don't worry, Jeff -- I do get to spend a couple of days on this trip in Asheville, so already have a long list as usual (if I can resist the pull of yet another visit to the Admiral).

        8 Replies
        1. re: kathleen purvis

          Be sure to report back on the results of your visit!

          1. re: Leepa

            "Report"? What a concept. I'll have to try my hand at it.

            1. re: kathleen purvis

              Oh, I'm sure you can handle it.

              1. re: kathleen purvis

                you can't do worse then the Charlotte Observer food reporter

                1. re: chazzer

                  Yes, I know who you are. Just wondered why telling us would be a problem. Perhaps I just misinterpreted your comment. Whatever happens, have a good week in Henderson county. : )

                  1. re: Leepa

                    Sorry, Leepa. It was an attempt at wry humor. But humor, wry or otherwise, often does not translate online.

                    As it turned out, I wasn't able to make it to the Flat Rock Bakery. I spent my vacation at Kanuga working for the Episcopal General Board of Examining Chaplains. We were tied to our computers for 13-hour days to get through the pile of work.

                    However, once I was set free, I was able to make it to 12 Bones in Ayden and Curate in Asheville. Both were religious experiences unto themselves.

                    1. re: kathleen purvis

                      Amen.

                      12 Bones and Curate are my only 2 "Can Not Miss - Ever" spots in the area. I'll need to look into the Hendersonville options, though. The annual trip to summer camp drop-off is only 4 months away.

            2. re: kathleen purvis

              Resistance is futile!