For many Orlandoans, North Carolina offers cooler weather and mountain views – and Asheville is the epicenter for good eats. A recent trip took us to six new downtown spots (some new, some new to us) that we can recommend if you’re headed to “Foodtopia,” Asheville’s apt nickname.
Buxton Hall Barbecue No matter how many trips to Asheville, keep Buxton on yourlist for a hearty, fine taste of ‘cue. Chef Elliott Moss tends the pit (a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast in 2013), smoking the hogs low and slow for 18 hours over hardwood coals. But the chicken is damn good too. Add collards and dreamy banana cream pie for a sublime Southern experience. Go early, the line gets long. 32 Banks Ave.
Aux Bar One of Asheville’s newer hot spots, Aux was hit or miss – great savories, meh sweets, so-so service. But Exec Chef Steven Goff has lots of fans – you can order from his “Just Play the Hits” section of the menu and be guaranteed delish: California frites with pickled garlic and charred leek aioli, duck wings, buttermilk fried chicken and crumpet, crispy Brussels with Benton’s bacon and a poached egg. Skip the vinegar pie, it was a miss. 68 N. Lexington
Sovereign Remedies We heard this popular watering hole (pictured above) now serves brunch, so headed there for a spicy Bloody Mary or two and tastes from their brief menu (a dozen items). No matter, every taste was delightful, starting with warm biscuits with butter and jam (the chocolate glazed donuts are a winner too). Go light with the Summer Breakfast with grilled peach, garlic scape, Pisgah ham, pickled corn, purslane, shave carrot and a sunny-side-up egg. Or fill up on steak and eggs or the Breakfast Burger on a crumpet with local beef, local Cheddar, local bacon and a fried egg. With a side of home fries you’ll be longing for a post-prandial nap. 29 N. Market St.
Trade & Lore Downtown Asheville is mighty quiet at 8 a.m., but if you’re an early riser you can stroll over to Trade & Lore on Wall Street (opens at 8) for a great cup of coffee from local Mountain Air Roasting (try the iced latte). And Oatly brand oat milk if that’s your thing. Full disclosure, we only went for coffee, but they get high marks for sweet and savory bites sourced from local purveyors. 37 Wall St.