2013 Ashvegas Year in Review: Asheville’s vibrant restaurant scene

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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pizza_2013_restaurants_roundedupHere’s the great roundup by Jennifer Saylor. So much happening on the Asheville food scene that it’s a little hard to comprehend.

Restaurants to look out for (and the ones that didn’t make it): The Ashvegas year in restaurants 2013

If you want to better understand why Asheville enjoys the restaurant reputation it does, just have a look below, especially at the list of new restaurants that opened this year, which include a new venture (Rhubarb) from top Southeastern chef John Fleer, two kickass wood-fired pizza joints, two kickass biscuit restaurants, two Korean restaurants, farm-to-table burgers and the new down-home downtown spot from Michael Moore, mastermind of the Blind Pig underground supper club and an up-and-coming chef in his own right.

And check out the West Asheville boom, with six restaurants in the works in the Haywood Road area alone. With New Belgium’s East Coast brewery and plant coming in, this area can only continue to grow.

Looking forward to 2014, looks like we’ll see more chains than usual slipping onto the food scene, especially if the long-rumored Chipotle finally makes its eagerly awaited debut.

2012 totals: 16 closings, 21 openings.

2013 totals: 23 closings, 38 openings

Happy eating, and here’s to good food and drink in 2014.


Good luck to the new crew Brasilia Churrasco Steakhouse (former Magnolia’s location): One of two Brazilian-style steakhouses moving into the downtown spot recently vacated by O.G. downtown eatery Magnolia’s.

Buffalo Nickel: A venture from Asheville Realtor Lynn Foster, this restaurant is slated to open in early 2014 at 747 Haywood Road, with former Storm sous chef Ryan Kline as head chef.

Green Sage West Asheville: The popular local chain expands with a third location next to Earth Fare Westgate.

Hole: Currently just a twinkle in the eye of an empty lot in East West Asheville near Urban Orchard, this will soon become a coffeeshop and donut joint from the former owners of Tin Can Pizzeria.

King Daddy’s Chicken and Waffles: The owners of Early Girl branch out with a West Side chicken and waffles joint.

King James Public House: Charlotte Street gets a gastropub, with former Zambra chef Steve Goff in the kitchen.

Neo Burrito Woodfin: New location coming to Reynolds Village, with developer Zak Yancey hoping for a May 2014 opening.

The Nightbell: New cocktails/dining/dancing spot with DJs and food from Curate chef Katie Button. The latest venture from the family behind Curate is coming February 2014, according to the latest word from Curate co-owner Elizabath Button, Katie’s mom.

Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar: In the former Cinjades location. Rio de Brazil: Brazilian steakhouse coming to Hendo Road.

Vortex Doughnuts: At last! The indie donut shop that won awards before it even opened has found a home, on the South Slope. Three words: beer and donuts.

Well-Bred Bakery & Café Biltmore: Permits just approved; look for an early spring opening.

MORE: And the coffeeshop rumored to be moving in next to the former Digable Pizza & the Greek/Italian restaurant going into the former Arcade downtown. And the West Asheville restaurant from the owners of Nine Mile and Lucky Otter. And the new restaurant that will open in the Tomato Jam Café location after its lease ends this month.


Chik-fil-a Merrimon: In one of the out-parcels near the new Harris Teeter grocery store.

Chipotle Mexican Grill: The rumors never end. Latest word on the street is that it will be located in front of the new Publix grocery store to be built on Hendersonville Road.

Golden Corral: Word on the street is that the restaurant will be coming to Patton Avenue near the Kmart shopping center.

Moe’s Southwest Grill: One Merrimon location coming up.

NEW IN 2013

All Souls Pizza

Allgood Coffee

Ambrozia Bar & Bistro

Another Broken Egg Café

Asheville Sandwich Company

The Barleycorn

Baan Thai

Ben’s Tune Up

Biscuit Head

Blue Kudzu Sake

Blue Ridge Biscuit Company

BoBo Pho

BT’s Burger Joint

Bull and Beggar

Café Azalea

Cecilia’s Kitchen


Farm Burger

Geraldine’s Bakery

The Green Room

Hyphen Coffeehouse

Isa’s Bistro

Korean House


The Local Taco

The Odditorium

Oyster House Brewpub

Pizza Pura


Seven Sows Bourbon and Larder


Sol y Luna

Thirsty Monk Biltmore Park

Thirsty Monk South

Tiger Bay Café

Top of the Monk

Yuzu Patisserie

Zia Taqueria

The obits: Restaurants that closed this year

Eat local and support the restaurants you love.

Appalachian Tavern on Merrimon, Elliott Moss’ Buxton Hill Barbecue on the South Slope, the Shambles on Charlotte Street, and Kanoo in West Asheville: All restaurant concepts that died in 2013 without ever seeing the light of day.

It’s a big deal that top Asheville chef Elliott Moss is still professionally homeless after leaving The Admiral and Ben’s Tune Up. Keep your eye on Moss in 2014, both as a pop-up chef at Punk Wok in the MG Road space on Mondays and as a supper club chef, and for whatever else he has up his sleeve.


Aqua Café

The Asheville Public

The Birdhouse Café

Bistro 1896


Brioso Fresh Pasta


Café Azalea

Casa Maya

Chef Mo’s

Digable Pizza (soon to be the new home of Asheville Sandwich Company)

Franks’ NY Deli

Hank’s BBQ


Morning Glory Café

Ole’s Guacamoles


Sisters McMullen

Taqueria Gonzalez


Tomato Jam Café (new restaurant to open in its place)

Tomato Cucina Latina

MIA restaurant concepts: ideas we’re still waiting on …  Stirhaus: The Lexington Avenue Brewery project first mentioned in 2012 has yet to debut.

Kitchen 643: Mysterious Haywood Road restaurant still hasn’t debuted.

The new riverside restaurant and bar constructed from shipping containers, a venture from Matthew Logan, owner of the 5 Walnut bar on Walnut Street downtown. The current space, called the Boathouse, has hosted nonprofit events.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. don't get out much December 28, 2013

    Is this the appropriate place to ask a question about Elliot Moss? I find it interesting that he seems to jump without ever really landing. In all the different interviews and articles about him leaving Ben’s so quickly, no one ever seemed to ask or answer the question as to why. Seems like a big question to me. What’s the scoop. Is he hard to work with or something? Seems that there is a lot of talent but little ability to produce something other than to new gimmicks. Not trying to talk smack about the guy. I am just wondering why he seems to have a strange pattern here in town and noone in the food scene ever seems to say anything about it. What’s up?

    1. Jennifer S. December 29, 2013

      DGOM, Elliott’s recent history is leaving The Admiral to start his own place (Buxton Hill), which didn’t pan out. He helped out at Ben’s Tune Up (if I remember right, he was never meant to be part of the team permanently) and now has a pop-up at MG Road and does other temp chef gigs (Blind Pig, The Pamplico). Erratic loose cannon or a guy figuring out his next move? I could be wrong, but it looks like the latter to me. Not even Elliott Moss gets to just create a successful new restaurant without hard work and a rough road to get there.

  2. Jennifer S. December 21, 2013

    Another closing: Jack of Hearts in Weaverville.

  3. Jennifer S. December 19, 2013

    Magnolia Ray in Woodfin also new.

  4. Jennifer S. December 19, 2013

    Also new: Creperie Cafe in Weaverville.

  5. Jennifer S. December 18, 2013

    Also to add: Blue Ridge Bear Yogurt and Espresso in Arden.

  6. Sean December 18, 2013

    Del Vecchios opened in The Bar of Soap!

    1. Jennifer S. December 18, 2013

      Got it!

  7. Lerjoy December 18, 2013

    Fucking fuck a chick-fil-a on Merrimon!!! Unfuckingbelievable, our traffic / city planners should be fired!!! Every last one of them!!!

    1. Jason December 19, 2013

      I’d love to have a Chickfila in West Asheville. Put it on Patton. There’s enough shit down there it wouldn’t make a difference. Merrimon is turning into a fucking circus!

  8. Orbit DVD December 18, 2013

    I saw someone sweeping outside 643 Haywood!

    1. Jennifer S. December 18, 2013

      Marc, LMK when you see something happening over there…

  9. PBnJ December 18, 2013

    Forgot Wild Wing Cafe coming to Long Shoals.

    1. Jennifer S. December 18, 2013

      Noted. Thanks for the update.

  10. Ashley Teran December 18, 2013

    Hi there! Just noticed that my food truck, Smash Box Mobile Kitchen, wasn’t mentioned in the New in 2013 section. We opened in March 2013 and are alive and kickin’!

    1. Jennifer S. December 18, 2013

      Hey Ashley, I didn’t include any of the trucks from the mobile food and beverage scene… Thinking that’s a whole other blog entry. Maybe it’s time to check back in with that world with a who’s who of Asheville food trucks and vending sites.

  11. Jennifer S. December 18, 2013

    But I did forget the Edison!

    1. Murphy December 18, 2013

      It’s forgettable.

      1. Jason December 19, 2013

        LOL! It is foregettable!

  12. Tyler J. McCall December 17, 2013

    And isn’t Wall Street Coffee moving to the old Apothecary spot on Eagle Street? I think I saw some signs in the windows week before last.

    1. Jennifer S. December 18, 2013

      Yes, I think they are already open & now Eagle Street Coffee Emporium.

      1. r leary December 18, 2013

        Eagle Street Coffee Emporium is definitely open. Stop by and check them out.

  13. Jennifer S. December 17, 2013

    I think I missed incliding Fiesta Mexican Grill, which now open is where Puebla was on Patton; and Scene just shared that there’s a new Grove Park restaurant, Vue 1913. http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20131211/ASHEVILLESCENE/312110059/Asheville-s-Grove-Park-Inn-adds-restaurant

    So make that 40 openings and counting…

    1. Eric S December 18, 2013

      Vue 1913 is just a collaboration of Horizons and Sunset Terrace menu

      Since the Edison opened up there is no more indoor Sunset Terrace. So long Horizon, it was a dying concept for GPI.


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