Breakfast and brunch are two of my favorite Asheville meals; and yes, they are different meals. Here are some of the places I enjoy.
Early Girl was the first restaurant Eric and I visited on our first trip to Asheville as college sweethearts. The eatery features farm-to-table cuisine with a focus on fresh, local ingredients. The dining room is small, so expect a wait or visit on a weekday.
Grab a cup of coffee and dig into one of my favorites. I love the Early Girl Benny served with tomato gravy over fried grit cakes; the Sweet Potato Black Bean Cakes with a delicious avocado relish; or the Pan-Fried Free Range Chicken with Herb Cream gravy – pick two sides to go along with it like decadent candied yams, the creamy mac and cheese, or the vegetable of the day. Don’t miss the broccoli cheddar hushpuppies served with apple butter for your appetizer. And, whatever you do, make sure you get a biscuit on the side to coat with Imladris Farm‘s Berry Best Jam.
Now with two locations to help you beat the crowd, Biscuit Head is a favorite for hangover food and lazy weekend mornings. Another Asheville favorite prone to long lines due to all of their adoring fans, Biscuit Head is best in the early morning or just before closing at 2pm.
Don’t miss the Pulled Pork Biscuit (my favorite), featuring smoky pork over a cat head biscuit, topped with the perfectly poached egg, jalapeno pimento cheese, thick cut bacon (because you should always top your pork with more pork), and a drizzle of maple syrup. Their newest creation – The Asheville Benedict – is just as delicious with a slather of charred scallion cream cheese, garden fresh tomatoes, and a bright kale salad covered in rich hollandaise. The Smoked Chevre Grits are a staple side and the Gravy Flight is a great way for the whole table to try delicious combinations like the fried chicken or sweet potato coconut gravies. The Caramelita Latte features local handmade goats’ milk caramel from Looking Glass Creamery.
Journey just 10 miles east of Downtown into the Fairview community and you’ll stumble upon a local diner connected to a gas station. The Local Joint serves locals and visitors alike with traditional and creative breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare.
My favorite is The Big Bear – a biscuit fill with a Cajun-spiced chicken filet and topped with thick bacon, sausage gravy, and cheddar cheese. The French Toast – topped with sun-dried cherry and pecan marscapone is delicious and decadent. If you’re feeling like lunch, you can’t miss the Cuban Panini with local Lusty Monk Mustard.
An Asheville favorite, Sunny Point Cafe is located along Asheville’s busy Haywood Road just west of Downtown. With indoor and outdoor seating, a large courtyard to wait with a fresh cup of coffee, and a huge garden to wander before or after you meal, Sunny Point is a restaurant I could visit every day.
The restaurant serves huge portions, mixing breakfast favorites with Tex-Mex menu offerings. Try the Savory French Toast, a spin on the traditional powder sugar-topped favorite, filled with local sausage, cream cheese, and sharp cheddar. The Huevos Rancheros feature black bean cakes topped with fresh eggs, locally made chorizo, briny feta cheese, and delicious roasted tomatillo salsa. The dish is finished with roasted potatoes, a cilantro crema, and crispy tortillas. Don’t miss the selection of lunch sandwiches and breakfast salads to round out the menu.
I would tell you more about my favorite doughnuts and the best coffee in town, but that will have to wait until another day.
Tyler J. McCall is a WNC native, non-profit director and blogger who loves fancy cocktails, Southern food, trashy TV, and road trips. For more posts about Asheville, home decor, food and cocktails, visit Tyler's blog at leavesandbeards.com.