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Great meals Charlotte airport <--> Asheville?

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We'll be visiting Asheville for a few days in April, flying into Charlotte and renting a car from there. Google shows a few different routes that each take around 2 hours, and we haven't chosen which option to take. If there's a great spot to eat along the way, that could be the deciding factor (or maybe reason for a short detour). We haven't picked flights yet, but I suspect we might be aiming for lunch on the way in, and a late lunch or early dinner on the way back. We're from NY/Boston/Maine, and would be particularly interested in southern food, but open to anything delicious. Cheap or fairly pricey are both fine.

After looking through the archives, I'll likely be back for recommendations in Asheville itself (and possibly at CLT airport, in case convenience trumps taste), but feel free to chime in now if you just can't wait ;)

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  1. Personally I'd hold out for asheville. Nothing on the way if you take 321, maybe bridges BBQ if you go the Shelby way. Tons of threads on Asheville, do a search and let us help you narrow it down :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: miss piggy

      Definitely Bridges BBQ Lodge in Shelby, if you opt for something between CLT and Asheville.

    2. We'll definitely eat in a bunch of places in Asheville itself while we're there, but we thought it could be good to take advantage of passing by further-out spots on the way in and/or out. Bridges BBQ looks like just the kind of thing we hoped to encounter, so thank you both! Though someone mentioned that the other main route has great views, so maybe we'll have to prioritize food in one direction and scenery in the other.

      In Asheville itself, I've started poking through old threads, and it seems we won't lack for choices or info! I didn't know it was as much of a food spot as it looks to be. And, if we get stuck with a meal at the airport, looks like most find Brookwood Farms good for airport food. I may be back as it gets closer to ask any follow-ups, and then afterwards with a report. Thanks again!

      1. I'm biased, because I'm a Shelby native ... but the only food I ever crave (I moved away in the 80's and have lived all over) is Bridges BBQ, particularly the BBQ slaw if you haven't had that before.

        Just two cautionary points: (1) Bridges is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and (2) Believe it or not, traffic on Highway 74 through Shelby can be tough.

        If you're traveling through Shelby on a Monday or Tuesday, I'd also suggest downtown Shelby at Ni Fen (upscale) or the Shelby Cafe ("downscale", but a traditional old diner that has been in business for decades).

        1. There's a Mac's Speedshop by the airport and the original one maybe 20 minutes from the airport. The BBQ ribs there are good, so is the pork knuckles. The mac n cheese is pretty weak. The pulled pork is kind of dry. But all in all, it is a decent place in Charlotte area.
          Bill's spoons is also not far from the airport. But check the days and hours, very limited times they are open.

          4 Replies
          1. re: foodwhisperer

            When you say Mac's has a location "by the airport", I assume you mean their Steele Creek location off S. Tryon Street? Pretty far from the airport, imo and Mac's isn't worth seeking out in any case. Bill Spoon's may have been good at one time, but they no longer cook over wood, and nostalgia is pretty much the only thing keeping them open at this point.

            1. re: carolinadawg

              Yes, I think the Steele Creek location is closer to the airport than the South Blvd location. In any case, if you wanted to eat BBQ in Charlotte, where would you go besides Mac's or Bill Spoons?

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                If I wanted to eat BBQ in Charlotte, Id go to Olde Hickory House or Midwood Smoke House, but if I was flying in to CLT and then driving to Asheville, and looking for BBQ on the way like the OP is, I'd go to Bridge's BBQ in Shelby, which is many times better than any BBQ option in Charlotte.

                1. re: carolinadawg

                  +1 on Red Bridges BBQ Lodge in Shelby.

                  Kyle Fletcher's BBQ is also good, and is also in the direction of Asheville. It is on NC 74 in Gastonia. So if you want to eat sooner after your flight it's a good choice. Doesn't have the atmosphere of Bridges, but it is good 'cue.

          2. Asheville is such an easy drive from Charlotte, I agree with Miss Piggy!!!

            If you are drinkers and into dives and off the beaten path. I would go to Tommy's Pub and have a whiskey and a hot dog at Brook's Sandwich Shop. And a coffee at Not Just Coffee before getting on the road to Asheville. If you are not, Bridges BBQ is great for local color!!!! And a good resting place!! Such an easy drive!!!