Asheville has a great food scene, a fact that led readers of our sister publication, Travel + Leisure, to rank Asheville as one of America’s top destinations in the magazine’s 2018 World’s Best Awards.

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There's more to Asheville,North Carolina, than craft beer—though that alone is a good reason to visit. (The city is home to over 30 breweries.) This cultural hub has a rich architectural heritage; it’s a place where grand Art Deco halls mingle with a French Renaissance–style manor (hello, Biltmore Estate), and there’s local artwork on display in the River Arts District. But the real draw is the city’s killer food scene, a fact that led readers of our sister publication, Travel + Leisure, to rank Asheville as one of America’s top destinations in the magazine’s 2018 World’s Best Awards. For an insider’s take, we sat down with F&W Best New Chef alum Katie Button, chef-owner of Asheville’s Cúrate, Nightbell, and a new Appalachia-inspired bagel shop, Button & Co.

Curate, Asheville
Credit: Evan Sung

Beer

“I love Burial Beer Co. in the South Slope district. You know when you get one of those pumpkin ales and all it tastes like is a pumpkin spice punch in the face? They don’t do things like that.”

Blowout Meal

“I like to go to Cucina 24. Chef Brian Canipelli does a totally affordable tasting menu. It’s always something new and creative.”

Owl Bakery
Credit: Nicole McConville / Courtesy of Owl Bakery

Bread & Breakfast

“A lot of people grab a loaf of bread at OWL Bakery and leave, but I stay for the croque madame: a thick piece of toast covered with mustard, ham, cheese, béchamel, dressed greens, and a soft-boiled egg.”

Cured Meats

Cúrate is not a deli, but if you ask to buy any of our cured meats, we’ll slice, wrap, and sell them to you at a special retail price.”

Asheville, North Carolina
Credit: (c) Sean Board/Getty Images

Hangover Food

HomeGrown. I love this little spot. I always get the fried chicken over a biscuit smothered in mushroom gravy with a side of french fries.”

Meet-Up Spot

The Bywater is a cool hangout. They don’t serve food, but they have great beers on tap. You can bring your own food, and there are grills set up and live music, too. It’s a cookout without cleanup afterward.”

Meat

The Chop Shop Butchery has a whole-animal approach to meat. They make their own sausages and stocks. On Saturday mornings, I go to the North Asheville Tailgate Market to buy produce for the week, and then afterward, swing by [Chop Shop] before I head home.”

Spices

“Some of the best spices in town are being made by Spicewalla, a new company run by Meherwan Irani, who owns Chai Pani. His spices blow my mind. When I tried the ground dried coriander seed, I asked, ‘Why does this taste lemony?’ And he said, ‘Because it’s fresh!’”