From Tony Kiss at the Asheville Citizen-Times:

ASHEVILLE – In the 1970s and through the 1980s, Bill Stanley was the undisputed king of barbecue and bluegrass in Asheville. His namesake restaurant was jumping day and night with lively music by the old Marc Pruett Band and was a magnet for locals and tourists alike.

Stanley shut the place in 1989 and went on to become a Buncombe County Commissioner. And the Grammy-winning Pruett has enjoyed much success in the bluegrass game plays with the band Balsam Range.

On Saturday, the two will reunite for a bluegrass and barbecue festival at the Land of the Sky Shrine Club just off U.S. 70 in East Asheville. The shindig, which includes a bluegrass competition, happens during Asheville’s Bele Chere festival, providing an alternative to that event. But that wasn’t the idea, Stanley said. “It was the only time we could get Balsam Range,” he said, noting the group’s busy performance schedule.

Stanley said he’ll personally cook the barbecue and even whip up a batch of hushpuppies. “We’ll do this three times a year, maybe four, at the Shine Club, we’ll do it for friends or at the VFW post,” he said. “And if someone really gets to me, I’ll come and cook for them.”


  1. Back in the summer of 1985, 17 teens and 5 adults on a Work Camp from John Knox Presbyterian Church in North Olmsted OH spent a week at Warren Wilson College. On the Friday night, we found our way to Bill Stanley's Barbecue and Bluegrass and had an absolutely wonderful time! For the price of a few pitchers of root beer, we were treated to a delightful evening of music, dancing and a whole lot of laughter! Thank you for a wonderful memory! Peg Anderson

  2. There’s a really good and detailed story about it here:

    The source of the Hepatitis A was never found. The above story says it was believed to have come from a patron who visited the buffet. No employees were found to be sick prior to the outbreak. The few employees who did get sick got sick at the same time as he customers. The outbreak didn’t drive Bill out of business. He eventually sold the restaurant to someone else who just called it "Stanley’s." However, it was never the same after the outbreak.

    All the publicity from the local news (especially WLOS) combined with the fact that so many of the sick people were tourists from out of town was too much to recover from.

  3. TRS, from a 2000 Citizen-Times story:

    "Hepatitis A definitely ruined business at Bill Stanley’s Barbecue & Bluegrass restaurant. In 1988, 77 diners became sick with hepatitis A spread by a food-service worker.

    "The restaurant closed about a year later. Stanley has said previously that the incident "kind of took the life out of us" – costing the business $487,000 in the process."

  4. The Real Story says:

    Was closed after 350 people in Asheville had to go to the Health Department or hospital after poor sanitation, ie chef with "cut finger", at the restaurant.

    What is the deal here? ACT writers do not have access to the archives?


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