SANDWICH • FRIES • YEAH, MAN!
“So, I went to the Montford Pull-Up today.”
“Oh yeah? How was it?”
That’s how the rest of my day went after I visited the Montford Pull-up for the first time. I couldn’t stop telling people I went, and almost every single person responded by asking “how was it?” as opposed to,“what’s that?” I thought that was interesting. Most people seemed to already know about the Montford Pull-Up, even though it had only been open for about a week when I paid them a visit. Some places get good buzz and they are on everybody’s radar from the minute they open their doors, other places struggle to get noticed at all. I’ll get back to that in a bit, but for now: FOOOOOD…
I had a late lunch at the Pull-up, courtesy of my buddy Stephan from Dig Local, that consisted of the Granny Wallen hot sandwich on a pretzel roll, with french fries. It was fucking awesome. Here’s a picture…
Good thing #1 – This hot sandwich was served HOT. You guys know that I want my hot food served hot, and the Granny Wallen was served hot. It wasn’t tepid, or lukewarm, or cooling down, it was fucking hot all the way through. So were the fries.
Good thing #2 – Cream cheese AND Havarti. Yeah, man! The Havarti got all melty and shit, and the cream cheese was like dream cheese, Yo. Thanks for not offering cream cheese OR Havarti, Montford Pull-up. Both is better, and this was a delicious case of too much of a good thing being jehhhst right.
Good thing #3 – The fries. Best fries in town? Maybe. I’ll have to conduct a comprehensive study (nom nom nom!) to determine that for sure, but these fries are a top contender, if not the champs. Cut on the premises from actual potatoes — not poured out of bag of frozen bullshit that says Ore-Ida on the side — they were exactly the right size and shape and texture and temperature, and they tasted great! A nice 2-to-1 ration of salt-to-pepper, and a side of ketchup, and I was in fry-guy paradise. Co-Owner Matt Howell expressed a deep personal love of good fries when we talked, so you know these fries are gonna stay high-quality under his watchful eye… and mouth… and stomach. Also, any of the Montford Pull-up’s sandwiches can be ordered “California style” with the fries right on ’em.
The bun was also good, and so was the turkey, bacon, apples, mustard. No bad things. The Granny Wallen sandwich was a great mix of sweet and savory, and a very satisfying sandwich all-around. I was hungry, I tore into that shit, I was no longer hungry. Stephan got the Italian, which he ordered quesadilla style. That’s an option for any of their sandwiches. Sounded weird to me, but Stephan seemed happy with his choices.
Matt, and his partner Christopher Lee Cox are both local Ashevillians who grew-up and went to school right here in Ashetown. Based on the number of likes, shares, comments, and “reach” that my FaceBook posts got, I’d say that they are well-loved by the community. I met them both, along with their friend and employee Carl, and all three were friendly, upbeat, and full of smiles, positive energy, and lots of enthusiasm for this new venture. They want to serve good food to the neighborhood, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Personally, I think that the Montford neighborhood has needed more food venues for a long time, and these guys are filling a niche and a need, that still has room to grow. It seems like Montford — a heavily residential neighborhood, chock-full-o’ hungry people — had only two food vendors forever: Nine Mile and Tod’s Tasties. There’s a noticeable lack of retail / commercial space available in that part of town, so it was a great thing for the eaters up there when the owners of Chiesa recently got creative, renovated a defunct church, and started serving the neighborhood their home-style Italian fare. The folks who live in Montford have embraced all three of those food vendors, and I think they will embrace the Montford Pull-up too.
The only draw-back that I could see from a customer point of view is that currently there are no seats or tables available at the Montford Pull-up, but Matt has plans to change that, and to make the space into something fun, stylish, inviting, and utilitarian. He sited some European models of stand-up breakfast counters, and tiny cafe tables and such that got me excited. I love cute shit, and his plans sounded cute as fuck. The space they occupy is the convenience store on the corner of Montford and Soco right next to Nine Mile. It’s still a convenience store, but now it has the Pull-up inside!
Asheville glossary for visitors and newbies: “Montford” can refer to the neighborhood, the street (Montford Avenue), or both, interchangeably and simultaneously.
The last thing I want to say about The Montford Pull-up for now is that when Stephan mentioned to Matt that Dig Local has a “social media plan,” Matt responded by saying that “a social media plan is a good thing.” Remember how I wrote in the beginning of this review how some places seem to have buzz right out of the gate? The Montford Pull-up has over 600 facebook likes already, nearly every person I know has heard of them, and they all “can’t wait to try it.” That ain’t no coincidence, Yo. It really is a good thing to have a social media plan. If you own a business, please have a social media plan.
Anyhoo… Here’s a really crappy picture of their menu for you. Stu… that picture is fucking useless. Yeah, you’re right, so go in and see the actual menu for yourselves, meet the three friends who are running this fun new place, and have a great sandwich with awesome fries. I did!
MONTFORD PULL UP – 231 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC
Mon-Sat: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
“The Montford Pull Up is a fast casual deli and grill serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner to-go! Come pull up! Fast Food, Sandwiches, Soul Food, Vegan and Vegetarian”
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Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.