It’s that magical time of year when a jolly old elf, with a big, fat belly made outta jelly, comes with a sack full o’ gifts for all the good people of the Asheville food scene! I am of course referring to myself, and the now infamous annual STOOBIE AWARDS, my yearly list of the very best of the best of the amazing culinary world that we live in and enjoy here in Asheville!
As our local food scene gets better and better, it has become increasingly difficult for me to narrow down the nominees, so this year, I am sticking to a very strict “Top 3 / Number 1” system, in which I will select three nominees, that I consider to be the top three in that category, and then announce which of those three is Number One. Limiting the nominees to three in each category is easier for me to manage than an open-ended number of potential contenders for each award, but it is still not exactly easy. I mean…
If you, the reader, the “eater,” are not taking advantage of the food scene that is happening right now in Asheville, and WNC, you are missing-the-fuck-out. Seriously, there is so much good food in this Area, that I’m gonna go ahead and give our entire fucking town a Stoobie Award for “Best Food Town, USA.”
If you are in the food scene and you do not make the cut for a Stoobie Award this year: Please don’t feel bad. For one thing, my “beat” — the physical area that I cover — is Downtown Asheville, Montford, South Slope, River Arts District, West Asheville, Five Points, and a little bit of North Asheville. So if your venue is not in those areas, you are less likely to get frequent enough visits from me to make my “Best of” list. In fact, I don’t drive, and I live in the South French Broad Ave neighborhood, so the further your restaurant is from my house, the less familiar I will be with you and your menu.
Does that mean the venues closest to my front door get preferential treatment? Yes. Yes, it does. That’s life, and I’m sure the same is true for you in the course of your life. The restaurants closest to where you live are probably the ones you go to most often, and therefor they are the ones that you are most familiar with.
Please keep in mind as you read my 2017 Stoobies, that I am just one small person, without a “food budget” from my publishers, so I spend my own money, and use my own two feet to get me where I need to go and to feed my mouth-hole what it needs to live another day.
Of course, the area I’ve outlined above as my geographical beat includes 200+ independently owned eating establishments, so I ain’t exactly judging between my neighborhood Shitby’s, Crapizza Hovel, and McTurdburger. I’m eating at, thinking about, and considering every single one of those above-mentioned 200+, excellent, indie, local food venues in my mind, face, and belly for an entire year before carefully coming up with the top three contenders, and then one singular champ in about 33 categories! It’s an assload of work. A scrumptious, delicious assload of really fun work. This year I’ve added at least 8 new categories.
At the bottom of this post, I’ve listed the categories for 2017 Stoobie Awards, but before you scroll down to see those, please take a look at last year’s results…
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Salt & Smoke
MEAL OF THE YEAR – TIE SCORE!
Dawn’s Birthday Dinner at Posana
Chef’s tasting Table at The Junction
PennyCup Coffee Co.
Trade and Lore Coffee
Karen Donatelli Cake Designs
67 Biltmore Downtown Eatery + Catering
Buxton Hall Barbecue
BEST HOT DOG
Buxton Hall Barbecue
Tin Can Pizzeria
BEST SHRIMP ‘N’ GRITS
Sunny Point Café
SANDWICH OF THE YEAR
Reuben at Chestnut
Congrats of course to all of the winners of last year’s Stoobie Awards! You are all eligible for this Year’s Stoobies, EXCEPT for in the category of Chef of the Year, which I plan to award to a different person every year. Below are the categories for 2017. I’m taking suggestions on my Facebook page for additional categories to be added. In the meantime, stay tuned for more Stoobie-related news!
Prt I – Sunrise / Sunset
BEST BREAKFAST • BEST CAFE • BEST BAKERY • BEST LUNCH • BEST DATE NIGHT • BEST DINNER• BEST DRINKS • BEST LATE NIGHT BITE
Prt II – The Specifics
BEST HO– USE CUP • BEST ESPRESSO • BEST PASTRIES • BEST CAKE • BEST BRUNCH ITEM • BEST BISCUITS N GRAVY • BEST SHRIMP N GRITS • BEST BURGER • BEST PIZZA • SANDWICH OF THE YEAR
Prt III – People Power!
BEST COUNTER SERVICE • BEST TABLE SERVICE • BEST BAR SERVICE • MOST KICK-ASS KITCHEN CREW • FOOD PERSON OF THE YEAR • RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR • CHEF OF THE YEAR
Prt IV – Best of the Best
BEST FOOD EVENT • BEST FOOD COMPETITION • MOST MISSED RESTAURANT• BEST NEW RESTAURANT • MEAL OF THE YEAR • BEST RESTAURANT • FAVORITE RESTAURANT • RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
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.
ON THE RADIO: wpvmfm.org
You should lobby for a budget…you’re very entertaining, people trust you, and it would open you up to everything this fine town had to offer! Plus you know…eat for free!!!