A Little Town with Lots of “Taste!”
By Charlene & Richard Mixa
Boasting over 30 restaurants and two microbreweries Black Mountain is a great place to visit or stay when vacationing in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s just fifteen minutes from Asheville. A welcoming community it offers a wonderful variety of eateries from hearty soup and sandwiches to BBQ and ribs, mountain trout and authentic ethnic cuisine. To get a “taste” of the town, we start with the 17th Annual “Rock the Taste” presented by Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce.
Arriving at the White Horse in the late afternoon, we find a variety of restaurants showing casing their favorite dishes in this unique venue. Wow! So many choices! Samplings are large and variety is terrific. Roaming the vendors each is tantalizing us with their favorite dishes. The Black Mountain Bistro showcases their Quinoa and Kale Salad, a delectable Artichoke Spinach Dip, hearty Shrimp & Grit Cake along with scrumptious desserts of Coconut Cake, Chocolate Layer Cake and Banana Pudding. Samplings continue at the Red Rocker Inn table featuring Sausage and Grits. A true southern favorite is their homemade Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie with Whip Cream.
Control is important as we first sample appetizers and entrees and then return for decadent desserts. My Father’s Pizza adds an Italian flare with its slices of Basil Pizza and Pepperoni Pizza. While the Black Mountain Ale house intrigues us with a slider of sliced pork with a rosemary au jus. More savory slices of pizza await at Pepperonis Gourmet Pizza. Healthy options are found at the Roots & Fruits Market with a fresh green garden salad. Their smoothies are tasty, good and healthy! Wondering over to the Traditions Bakery, we find a plethora of sweets. Choices of glazed Doughnuts, bourbon balls, banana nut bread, coconut macaroons, tea cookies and more definitely satisfy any sweet tooth. Drinks are provided to meet your preference. Pepsi provides sodas while a variety of beers are available for sampling from Black Mountain’s local microbreweries of Lookout Brewing and Pisgah Brewing. The Biltmore Company features choices of a white wine blend and a red wine. The 17th Annual â€œRock the Taste” gives us a great “taste” of some of Black Mountains local eateries.
For our next sampling of the “Taste” of Black Mountain it is Creative Mountains “ Ultimate Foodie Tour. With comfy walking shoes and empty stomachs we meet our tour leader, Sam and the tour group at Unwine’d at Mellie Mac’s. Â A twist is that Mellie Mac’s is both a Garden Shop and a Wine Bar. Seated at a long table, we join our tour group ready to do some tastings. The tapas plate of cheeses from local creameries of Ridgeline Cheese, Old Drovers Road Cheese and Looking Glass Creamery are so smooth. A tasty no bake smoked salmon spread, a delicious homemade pimento cheese and two samplings of different salamis are all so flavorful. The Portuguese Vinho Verde White, a mild wine accompanies this tapas dish. Sam encourages us to stroll the Garden Shop with its beautiful flowering gardens before we head off for our next stop.
Louise’s Kitchen is a downhill stroll where we sit outside under their new arbor and patio. Featured here is their Grit Cake made from fresh stone ground grits with black beans, corn, and a creamy Siracho sour cream. A hit with everyone! The fresh squeezed ice cold lemonade is especially refreshing on this warm day as the owners, Bud & Charisa, share their story of how Louise’s came about. Up the hill we are warmly greeted at My Father’s Pizza where their meatball of beef and sweet sausage with a rich tomato sauce is surrounded by crispy bruschetta and fresh diced tomatoes. The owner, Eric shares his story as we attempt to get the recipe for this tantalizing meatball. The Lookout Brewery Mountain Hop Shine, a refreshing IPA, is a great accompaniment. My Father’s Pizza has been a mainstay in Black Mountain for many years. Sam points out numerous mountains, historical sites and shares a bit of history as we walk between eateries.
Next stop is La Guinguette where the owners showcase their cultures with a French and Latin cuisine. Entering through arched walkway, this former home now houses the Cafe. Chef Sicily treats us to a French Galette (like a crepe) made with buckwheat flour filled with mushrooms, cheese and chicken. The Latin flavor is an Argentine corn Empanadas.
Sam carefully walks us around the corner on the next street where the aroma of hot pizza welcomes us. Owner Mark greets us at Fresh Woodfired Pizza & Pasta, placing four piping hot woodfired oven pizzas on the table. Our samplings include the Chica Bella (pesto smothered in Ricotta and Mozzarella finished with Arugula and walnuts), a Baby Blue (a white pizza with Virgin olive oil, Blue Cheese, carmelized onion, pears and walnuts), the Florentine (olive oil base with spinach, Mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, bacon, chicken and feta) and finally the Chevre (sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, local goat cheese, mozzarella, Fresh basil on red sauce). Hot, tasty and delicious! Pitchers of beer from the local breweries of a Pisgah Brewing Pale Ale and Highland Gaelic Ale enhance these delicious pizzas.
Off to the final stop, we walk through town and stroll up Church Street to the Inn Around the Corner. Seated in their charming dining room with elegant table cloths everyone savors the decadent Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart. The salted caramel adds just enough contrast to the rich chocolate with whip cream and raspberries. The owners, Myra and Chris chat with us and “tell the tale” of becoming owners of “the closest B&B to downtown” Black Mountain. A fantastic finale to our “Foodie Tour.” Sam and Alli provide a great introduction to several unique eateries in Black Mountain. We get a little exercise, a little history of Black Mountain and a great sampling of foods. We don’t leave hungry or thirsty!
As we continue our visit to Black Mountain, we discover several favorite eateries of this amazing small town. Special restaurants for lunch are the Veranda Cafe & Gifts with great sandwiches, salads and desserts while the Dark City Deli serves large size portion sandwiches. A local favorite is Mac’s specializing in burgers, hot dogs, and cheesesteak sandwiches.
Staying in the Village of Cheshire, The Artisan Gourmet Market is an excellent market for fresh meats, fish and more. Their Coffee & Wine Bar serves tasty breakfast, delicious lunches and on Thursday evenings has a wine tasting and specialty dinner. Someone seeking a hearty southern breakfast, will be sated with the many choices at the Blue Ridge Biscuit Company & Bakery. Be sure to check out the dinner specials at Palate Restaurant & Fitz Taproom at Monte Vista Hotel for a delightful dining experience in their restaurant or inviting outdoor patio. A short drive to Swannanoa is the Native Kitchen and Social Pub, an eclectic pub featuring locally grown foods plus beer and cocktail. Ole’s Gaucamoles will satisfy any desire for authentic Mexican dishes with indoor and outdoor seating. A favorite for a sweet treat is Kilwin’s Choclolates, Fudge & Ice Cream with its hand-dipped ice cream and wonderful fudge. Don’t want to eat out, then pop in the Red Radish To Go and select a prepared dinner, bake for just 20 minutes at 350 and you have a delicious gourmet meal.
Known as the front porch of Western North Carolina, Black Mountain brings welcoming charm to locals and visitors alike. Whether coming for only a day, a week, a month or a lifetime, the little town will welcome you offering a wide variety of eateries to fit any taste.
If you go:
Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce, 201 E. State Street Black Mountain, NC 28711
(828) 669-2300 Toll Free: (800) 669-2301
Creative Mountain Food Tours