Posted on November 19, 2009
Asheville and Weaverville have become known as a gourmet destination, so much so that the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau created the Foodtopian Society to help promote our tasty selection of fine eateries. Inn on Main Street has long been a big supporter of local, independent and quality-obsessed dining venues.
Finally, someone has stepped up to the plate, so to speak, creating a gourmand’s tour of Asheville restaurants. Chris Ortwein, a fellow innkeeper in the Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association, has begun Asheville Food Tours, a series of walking tours of local restaurants. There are so many restaurants participating that he has three entirely different tours, with the possibility of adding more. The day will come when a true foodie can spend a week here and sample a handful of new eateries each day. For the time being, settle for two downtown and one in Biltmore Village.
Each tour lasts about 2.5 hours. Chris set an introductory price of $25 per person per tour, with the expectation that it will rise in the spring. This winter is a great time to take advantage of the lower rate and indoor fun. Participants walk from restaurant to restaurant. Even though they tend to be only a block or so apart, Chris keeps a brisk pace that might challenge those reluctant to burn calories between samplings. With about eight locations on each tour, there’s no time to loiter.
The choices are filling and delicious. If there is a problem with the tour, it’s that some restaurants provide too much food. Participants have to pace themselves to save room for the later visits. The tour we recently took included some of our favorite places, such as Mela, Zambra and Vincenzo’s. Some others we hadn’t visited before, but plan to add to our recommendations, like Decades and Posana. Barley’s Taproom and Sante Wine Bar added a welcome liquid balance to the tour.
In a city that already offers the Brews Cruise and Winery Tours, Asheville Food Tours is a welcome addition.
Now, if Chris will only add a tour to highlight Weaverville’s great dining experiences. We suggest Sunnyside Cafe, Blue Mountain Pizza, Well-Bred Bakery, Stoney Knob Cafe, Weaverville Milling Company, the Bavarian Restaurant, Fireplace and Curras Dom. OK, so the last three are just outside Weaverville, but we love to claim them.