AVL Guides    Food + Drink, Lifestyle

24 hour-guide to West Asheville

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@OverAsheville

Mary here. 👋Living in West Asheville, I’m constantly amazed at the passionate local businesses along Haywood Rd., the walkable side streets, and incredible eateries.

West Asheville has a long and storied history. It is a historic neighborhood, dating back to the 1800s when the post office gave it a name. In fact, West Asheville was a separate town during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, until the decision to incorporate into the city of Asheville (which passed in 1917 by just 8 votes)

Fast-forward to now. With dozens of eateries, watering holes, local shops, and businesses, the area is one of the most notable parts of the city. 

So, in the spirit of spotlighting different parts of WNC and the gem we call home – We bring you a guide to West Asheville (my personal favorite part of the city) – featuring what to see, do, eat + drink on Haywood Rd. and beyond. 

The deets

Neighborhoods include: Burton Street, WestWood Place, Falconhurst, Malvern Hills, Horney Heights, Sulphur Springs Park, Mountain Vista at Luther Cove + more.
📍County: Buncombe
💡DYK: The West Asheville History Project is archiving the area’s stories as recalled by residents. The archive is housed at the West Asheville Branch Library and includes newspaper articles ranging from the 1900s to the present day, oral histories, scrapbooks, and more. A digital library can be found here. 

Disclaimer: This isn’t an exhaustive list of all there is to experience in West Asheville. Did we miss your favorite spot? Add it in the comments below. 

Breakfast bliss 

Biscuit Head

As far as coffee shops go, there’s something for everyone. Odds Cafe is a go-to study and conversation spot with lots of seating, smoothies, quiche + baked goods. OWL is a bakery making fresh croissants and bread with local ingredients daily in a tiny old house. Izzy’s Coffee House has fresh bagels, a sweet patio + wine for after-hours. Flora Asheville doubles as an Instagram-worthy plant-shop and cafe with local granola and herbal-iced cubes and Battle Cat is a cozy house cafe with bagels (plus Tiger Bay sandwich shop in the back). Bonus: Coffee not your thing? Check out Dobra, a Japanese-style tea room. 

For brunch, there are a few tried-and-true standards. Biscuit Head has a jam bar, gravy flights, and famous southern biscuits. There is almost always a line that wraps around the building every weekend morning. Go later, earlier or on a weekday if you’re in a rush. 

Sunny Point is the ultimate brunch with a huge menu, cocktails and a large patio. On the weekends, you can expect an hour wait, but they serve coffee, cocktails, and pastries to enjoy in their huge garden (and sometimes have live music during the wait). Try their buttermilk french toast or the shrimp ‘n grits.

For the ultimate chicken and waffles, head to King Daddy’s. More off-the-beaten spots include weekend brunch at Isis Music Hall, Zia Taqueria and Foothills Meat. Plus, catch classic diner fare at Tastee Diner. 

Good morning, sunshine

A bridge along the French Broad River, between Hominy Park + Carrier Park.

Summer is a perfect time to talk a walk next to the French Broad River. After breakfast, take a stroll starting at Hominy Creek park, which features a paved bike/walking trail which connects with Carrier Park. At Carrier Park, you’ll find a large playground, roller hockey rink, road bike track, dirt trails, volleyball nets, basketball court and picnic tables. If you forgot coffee earlier, you can grab it across the street from the park at Edna’s Coffee

 If you’re looking to give the doggos some exercise, French Broad River Park is a hidden gem off the road right where Amboy road crosses the French Broad River in West Asheville, which includes a fenced dog park (with a separate area for little guys). 

Pro-tip: Hominy Creek Greenway is a mile long dirt trail on about 14 acres of land along Hominy Creek, perfect for a shaded stroll. For a longer run/walk, take a foot-tour of the local neighborhoods before getting on the trail. 

Shop ’till you drop

Haywood Rd. at sunset.

There is no shortage of shopping along Haywood Rd – From fun gift shops to reused outdoor gear – There is something for everyone.

Whist is a local gift shop with unique greeting cards, artwork, books, and more. It’s my go-to for any type of present. Next door is Second Gear, a secondhand outdoor store selling jackets, helmets, kayaks, hiking boots, and more for a markdown. Reciprocity is a Boho-style secondhand store featuring clothes, shoes + accessories (we’re talking brand name here, on the cheap).

Harvest Records is a mainstay local record shop where music-lovers can spend hours browsing old-school classics and new releases. Firestorm is a “collectively-owned radical bookstore.” In addition to selling books focused on anarchy, feminism, equity, and social justice, they’re a community event space and support local grassroots movements.

Other notable stores include the new Roanline outdoor store, Littlest Birds children’s shop, Villagers homestead store, and the “one shop hippie stop,” Instant Karma. 

Mid-day fuel

Rocky’s Fried Chicken Shack // @rthaggerty

For lunch, stop at The Sandwich Company for, well, a sandwich. Check out BimBeriBon for a gluten-free sweet treat and fresh salad, or West End Cafe for a classic lunch paired with fresh-baked bread.

For something off of Haywood Rd. and over by Patton Ave., Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack is a classic for locals (try the honey-mild flavor with mac-and-cheese as your side). And, Bonfire BBQ serves us classic meat plates and “fancy sandwiches” for those wanting a little bit of everything.

Other options include the Haywood Lounge for wings, Universal Joint for classic pub fare and a giant patio, and West Asheville Lounge and Kitchen for burgers and beer. Neo Burrito is a classic fast-casusal local staple.

Dinnertime is fine

Seasonal dishes at The Admiral // @theadmiralasheville

Arguably the most well-known and longest-standing West Asheville restaurant is The Admiral. Located in an unassuming cinderblock building, this American fine-dining eatery is elegant inside and serves up a seasonal menu created by chef Richard Neal. If going on a weekend, you’ll want to make reservations far in advance

Nine Mile features Carribean-style vegetarian-friendly dishes. Oyster House Brewing Company not only brews its own beer but has a full seafood menu served in a living-room style dining area or large patio. Standard Pizza Co. + Pizza Mind are two go-tos if you’re in the mood for pie. Haywood Common is a newly-opened restaurant featuring southern classics like hushpuppies and unique seasonal dishes like Thai fried chicken alike. Ghan Shan West is known for their legendary ramen bowls. For something off the beaten path, try Green Tea Sushi and Japanese Restaurant on Patton Ave.

Other options include JargonTacos Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, and Gypsy Queen Market.

Local beer, live music, or a nightcap 

The Whale: A craft beer collective // @laurenislittle

First-things-first. Westville Pub, which has quality bar food, pool + garage-door style windows, and Brew Pump, a huge patio bar behind a Citi Stop gas station are quintessential low-key hangouts for grabbing a beer. The Whale is a craft-beer bar featuring dozens of local taps with unique brews from all over the world and a huge patio.

Urban Orchard Cider Co., One World Brewing, Upcountry Brewing Co., and Archetype Brewing Co. serve up unique beer and cider on Haywood Rd.

Desoto Lounge has ping-pong and the Retrocade brings it back to your childhood with classic arcade games. For live music, Odditorium features metal + punk, Ambrose West hosts a variety of local acts in a renovated church, the Mothlight holds the Moth Story Slam monthly in addition to community events, bands + more, and Isis Music Hall is a venue and restaurant in an old movie theatre.

And last but not least, for the ultimate dive bar, check out the Double Crown.

Pro-tip: If you want to learn about (and taste) the area from a multi-generational local, Asheville Food Tours has added a West Asheville tour led by Davion Bristol (a.k.a Spaceman Jones). They run on Saturdays and are $60 for a 4-hour food-fest.

Looking for more about West Asheville? OnHaywood.com is a long-standing resource website for the neighborhood. 

A perfect Saturday morning for me is running on the Hominy Creek Greenway, having coffee at Odd’s Cafe, and then walking back home before starting the day. I seriously love West Asheville. 

Looking for an excuse to learn more about West Asheville? Mark your calendar for next June, when the All Go West music festival takes over the neighborhood with free music.  

What’s your favorite thing about West Asheville? I can’t wait to hear. 

– Mary