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Ask around town and you might come across someone who’s lived here long enough and remembers when Biltmore Avenue, Asheville’s main drag, had but one restaurant. That’s a snapshot of the city’s food landscape in the early ’90s. And boy has it grown. Asheville now boasts some 200 independently owned restaurants serving farm fresh fare from around the region. In fact, the entire Western North Carolina region, from Boone to Hendersonville to Highlands, has seen a farm-to-table renaissance, with farmers, food producers, chefs, and restaurateurs working together to strengthen the local food movement. We hope you’ll stay and sample the flavors from around the region. Here are a few resources to get you started.
The Asheville Independent Restaurant Association is comprised of more than 40 local dining establishments that are independently owned. The organization holds a Small Plate Crawl, usually in late February, and also supports culinary scholarships at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, which boasts one of the best culinary schools around. Visit www.airasheville.org for a list of participating restaurants.
The Asheville Convention & Visitor’s Bureau has done much to market the city as a “Foodtopian Society.” Visit www.exploreasheville.com for a comprehensive list of Asheville’s dining offerings, foodie events, and recipes.
A bimonthly lifestyle publication covering the people, places, history, culture and foodways of Western North Carolina, WNC magazine offers a trove of foodie news, recipes, and the region’s most comprehensive dining guide at www.wncmagazine.com.
And the Mountain Xpress, Asheville's beloved independent weekly publication, stays current on food happenings, trends, and new restaurants in the city and beyond. Check out their local food guide at www.avleats.com.