A Little Town with Lots of “Taste!”
By Charlene & Richard Mixa
Boasting over 30 restaurants and two microbreweries Black Mountain is a great town to visit or stay when vacationing in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Just fifteen minutes from Asheville, this welcoming community offers a wonderful variety of eateries from hearty soup and sandwiches to BBQ and ribs to 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 a variety of restaurants feature their favorite dishes in this unique venue. Wow! So many choices! Roaming the vendors each tantalizes with their specialty fares. 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 luscious Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie.
Control is important as we sample appetizers, entrees and 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 crisp green garden salad. Their smoothies are tasty, good and wholesome! Wondering over to the Traditions Bakery, we find a plethora of sweets. Glazed Doughnuts, bourbon balls, banana nut bread, coconut macaroons, tea cookies and more, definitely satisfy any sweet tooth. 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 Tasteâ€ gives us a terrific “taste” of of Black Mountain;s eateries.
For our next sampling of the “Taste” of Black Mountain it is Creative Mountains Ultimate Foodie Tour. Having taken their Pub and Grub Crawl before, I am looking forward to another fun food excursion. My daughter-in-law, Dawn and I, arrive with comfy walking shoes and empty stomachs. Our tour leader and owner, Sam welcomes us at Unwine’d at Mellie Mac’s. A twist is that Mellie Mac’s is a Garden Shop and a Wine Bar. Seated at a long table, our tour group is ready to do some samplings. The tapas plate of cheeses from local creameries of Ridgeline Cheese, Old Drovers Road Cheese and Looking Glass Creamery are so smooth. Dawn and I especially delight in a tasty no bake smoked salmon spread, a delicious homemade pimento cheese and two samplings of flavorful salamis. A Portuguese Vinho Verde White, a mild wine accompanies this tapas dish. Sam encourages us to stroll the Garden Shop and snap some photos in these beautiful flowering plants.
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 favorite for Dawn, it is a hit with everyone! The fresh squeezed ice cold lemonade is a thirst-quencher on this warm summer day. All enjoy the tastings and cool drink as owners, Bud & Charisa, share their story of how Louise’s came about. As Sam leads us along the streets and shortcuts to our next eatery, he points out numerous mountains, historical sites and shares some intriguing history of Black Mountain. He also gives tidbits on other eateries, things to do in Black Mountain and entices us with descriptions of their Dessert Tour. Dawn and I agree, we will definitely give it a try on a future visit.
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. We are warned, that in summer with the many children’s camps in the area, to avoid Friday nights as the camp-kids swarm to town for pizza. Â 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. As we sample these ethnic foods, Chef Sicily explains her heritage and how the restaurant came to be.
Sam walks us around the corner to 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 ChÃvre (sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, local goat cheese, mozzarella, Fresh basil on red sauce). Hot, tasty and delicious! Dawn and I are thrilled with the savory flavors of each pizza. Pitchers of beer from the local breweries of a Pisgah Brewing Pale Ale and Highland Gaelic Ale enhance these mouthwatering pizzas.
Off to the final stop, we walk through town along State Street 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. Dawn and I agree that the salted caramel adds just enough contrast to the rich chocolate with whip cream and raspberries. Â 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 “Ultimate Foodie Tour!” Sam and Alli provide a great introduction to several unique eateries in Black Mountain. You get a little exercise, a little history of Black Mountain and a wonderful sampling of foods. You won’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. The Village of Cheshire has The Artisan Gourmet Market, 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 or The Gateway Eatery. Be sure to check out the dinner specials at Palate Restaurant & Fitz Taproom at Monte Vista Hotel for a delightful dining experience in their dining room 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 cocktails. 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 it southern 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:
Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, 36 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
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