Renowned for its highly creative and collaborative food scene fueling national interest in Appalachian cuisine, Asheville food is undergoing a culinary transformation in 2022. From Hawaiian barbecue to French-Latin crepes, and from The South to South Africa, a new generation of gastronomic auteurs is expanding and diversifying Asheville’s famous food scene.
- Global Flavors Take Root in Small Mountain Town: Black Mountain, a bucolic hamlet 15 minutes east of Asheville, has never been a typical small town. Home to an experimental art school that hosted Modernist masters in the 1930s, it is not surprising that Black Mountain continues to push boundaries — through food. Black Mountain is exploding as a creative culinary destination, offering Cuban, Spanish, South African, Mexican, Thai, Japanese, French, Argentine, German and Italian cuisine, all within three blocks.
- Small Town, Big Appetite: The recently opened Bush Farm House serves gourmet, South African-inspired cuisine in an outdoor setting alongside its own menagerie of furry farm friends. La Guinguette Creperie is a warm and welcoming bistro featuring a unique combination of French and Argentinian cuisines — so guests can order ratatouille, followed by a carne de vaca empanada and a dulce de leche crepe for dessert. B.A.D. Craft serves up all the good things in life — Beer, Art, and Dessert, all locally sourced and lovingly handcrafted. And, La Taperita specializes in delectable Andalusian small plates, wines and cocktails.
- Chow Chow 2022 Dates | A Food Festival With Depth and Community Spirit: In its fourth year, Chow Chow continues to dive deeper as a mission-driven food festival celebrating the unique and diverse culinary culture of Southern Appalachia. Taking place over three summer weekends — June 23-26, Aug. 4-7 and Sep. 8-11 — Chow Chow 2022 will offer immersive culinary celebrations designed to foster dialogue about racism, climate change and food justice through highly creative, celebratory and experiential tasting events and five-course dinners. From nationally recognized chefs to Southern Appalachia’s community of multigenerational farmers, millers, bakers, makers and culinary creatives, Chow Chow shines a light on the people that make the Blue Ridge a delicious place to explore.
- Hawaii in the Mountains: Huli Sue’s BBQ and Grill, newly opened in the historic Grove Arcade, explores the intersection of Southern barbecue and island cuisine. Diners can enjoy house-smoked Texas brisket served alongside sustainably caught fresh fish, or feast on poke tuna while sipping a tropical cocktail and leaving with a slice of oversized country pie. When pitmaster Ben Kruegar and partner Lisa Vann moved to Asheville from Hawaii, they were determined to bring with them the culture of their hometown of Waiomea, where actual Hawaiian cowboys, called paniolo, rule the high-altitude plains. Huli Sue’s is part of “Restaurant Row” at the Grove Arcade alongside several new and diverse culinary options.
- Neng Jr.’s Combines Filipinx and Southern Flavors in West Asheville: In 2022, Chef Silver Cousler will open Asheville’s first Filipinx restaurant, Neng Jr.'s, named after an affectionate nickname for Cousler given to them by their grandmother. Cousler, a creative force in Asheville’s food scene for many years (Buxton Hall and numerous pop-ups), pulls inspiration from their travels and cooking with their mother. Look for a Filipino-style hot dog, trout roe served with pork rinds and traditional dishes served with sides like collard greens with coconut milk. The new West Asheville restaurant will share space with DIFFERENT WRLD, a BIPOC-owned artist incubator, gallery and creative hub designed to break down barriers of entry to the creative industry, especially for artists of color. DIFFERENT WRLD will also open in 2022.
- Big Flavors at New Latin American Craft Kitchen: In Latin America, a “chango” is a small bird with a voracious appetite. And, that’s exactly how Chef Iris Rodriguez, chef and co-founder of Little Chango, wants customers to enter. Newly opened in an intimate space on the South Slope, with a bar and ample patio seating, Little Chango adds to the growing list of Latin American cuisine options in Asheville. The dishes are a fusion of the owners’ heritage and diverse Latin American flavors and styles. Arepas, the star of the menu, are a dish made from maize patties. They originate from Venezuela and Columbia, but Chef Rodriguez, in a nod to her Caribbean heritage, incorporates flavors from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Look out for the uber-popular ropa vieja, Cuban-style shredded flank steak served up hot with a side of sofrito black bean mash, sweet plantains and queso fresco.
- New Tour | Upgrade Your Munchies With a Food and Dispensary Tour: Stu Helm, the Asheville-famous food blogger whose coveted endorsement is sought by local eateries, is launching a new food tour. The Asheville Food and Dispensary Tour is for anyone curious about local dispensaries and the products they offer, including CBD, CBG, Delta 8, 9 and 10, and most recently, THC-O. Visitors will tour all five (soon to be six) downtown dispensaries, gaining knowledge and trying samples along the way. After an elevating tour of the dispensaries, guests will be treated to gourmet twists on traditional “stoner food” like pizza from Manicomio, cheeseburger flights from Twisted Laurel and curry from Blue Dream Curry House. HEMP FARM CRED: Franny Tacy — the first woman to farm hemp in North Carolina — is growing her dispensary and CBD-product “hempire” across the region with nine locations of Franny’s Farmacy. The organic farmer is now opening a new concept in the South Slope, Franny’s Farm Foods.
- CHEF SPOTLIGHT: Star Chef Ashleigh Shanti to Open Fish Camp-Inspired “Afri-lachian” Restaurant Read More and a New-to-Asheville Chef Cleophus Hethington Brings Flavors of the African Diaspora to The Block Read More.
Want more 2022 news? Click here to view 22 (and then some!) transformational travel stories for the year ahead. Beyond the “what’s new” factor are the ever-inspiring histories, untold stories and trailblazers leading the way in this lively mountain city.