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August 6, 2018

Vegan Dining Options in Asheville, NC (Part 3)

by Anne Paddock

Some people think of vegan cuisine as lots of salads or food trying to imitate other food, which is true to an extent but vegan cuisine is actually just as varied as standard American cuisine. There are healthy vegan options (i.e. whole grain, low oil, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds) and some very unhealthy vegan options (i.e. white bread, processed foods, fried foods) so choose wisely. Being a vegan doesn’t necessarily mean being healthy.

The list of vegan dining options in Asheville continues in this third posting which includes restaurants with vegan options.  With the exception of one restaurant (Bean Vegan Cuisine), all the restaurants listed below cater to all types of eaters. Whether you’re following a plant-based diet or not, consider each meal an opportunity to nourish your body with the healthiest options available.

CHESTNUT

  • Address:  48 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC (downtown)
  • Phone Number:  828-575-2667
  • Website:  www.chestnutasheville.com
  • Prices: Starts and Salads: $4-$10, Medium Plates: $11-$16, Entrees: $20-$38
  • Hours:  Monday to Friday:  11:30 am – 3 pm and 5 pm -9:30 (10 pm on Friday), Saturday and Sunday: 10 am – 3 pm and 5 pm – 10 pm on Saturday and 9:30 pm on Sunday
  • Reservations:  Highly recommended
  • Stand-Outs: The salads are always fresh and delicious and there is usually one vegan entrée option on the menu
  • Other Information:  The owners also own Corner Kitchen – a casual restaurant in the Biltmore Village that serves breakfast, lunch (order the black bean burger), dinner, and brunch (on the weekends).

Chestnut is a bustling downtown restaurant that serves lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends. At first glance, the lunch, brunch, and dinner menu don’t appear to offer a lot of vegan options but what they do offer is really, really good.  The menu changes frequently (usually monthly) to reflect seasonal ingredients. On our most recent visit we enjoyed a roasted vegetable and sticky rice dish with a light sweet and sour sauce.  In addition, there are always salad options – the seasonal salad without the ricotta cheese or the two-tone beet salad (also, without the cheese) are great starters.  Also consider the house made red bliss and yukon gold potato chips for a crunchy appetizer with a cold drink.

WHITE DUCK TACO

  • Address: Downtown: 12 Biltmore Ave, Asheville; Asheville (River Arts District):  1 Roberts Street, Asheville; Arden: 16 Miami Circle, Arden;
  • Phone Number: Downtown:  828-232-9191; Asheville (River Arts District):  828-258-1660; Arden: 828-676-1859
  • Website:  www.whiteducktacoshop.com
  • Prices: Tacos: Most tacos are $3.45 but the range is up to $5
  • Hours: Daily from 11:30 am – 9 pm
  • Reservations: No
  • Stand-Outs: The black bean tacos
  • Other Information: The only thing missing from the vegan tacos is fresh avocado (I bring my own Haas avocado, slice it at the table and add the pieces to the tacos. There is indoor and outdoor seating.

White Duck Taco is a super casual taco joint (there are 3 locations in Asheville) where you place your order, take a number, and then have a seat at a picnic table inside or outside (weather permitting) and wait for your order to be hand delivered.

White Duck tacos are not like the typical hard or soft tacos served at chain or Latin restaurants. These tacos are soft (2 shells per taco) and filled with all kinds of fresh ingredients. For vegans, there are lots of options: black bean with lettuce and spicy roasted tomato salsa (hold the cheese), the Banh Mi Tofu with Daikon Slaw and Ginger Glaze, or substitute jackfruit for meat in any other taco on the menu (try the “Jerk Chicken” which is purple slaw and pineapple on top of jerk jack fruit).  Or, try one of each (pictured below).

VINNIE’S

  • Address:  641 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, NC
  • Phone Number:  828-253-1077
  • Website:  www.vinniesitalian.com
  • Prices:  Entrees: $13-$26, Pizzas: $15-$20
  • Hours:  Sunday to Thursday: 5 pm -9:30; Friday and Saturday: 5 pm – 10:30 pm
  • Reservations:  “Fuhgettaboutit”  Reservations are not accepted but call ahead for parties of 5 or more. See the website for more information.
  • Stand-Outs: Penne Arrabbiata (for those who like a spicy pasta dish)

Vinnie’s neighborhood Italian restaurant is casual, old school Italian, the kind of restaurant your family went to after a baseball game or on Friday night when your mom didn’t feel like cooking; the kind of place that serves water in red heavy duty plastic glasses (except at Vinnie’s they surprisingly don’t use them).  It’s the kind of place you expect to find in Brooklyn or the North End of Boston and yet, it’s right in Asheville in a nondescript building on one of the busiest commercial roads in Asheville, and it’s always busy, and everyone always shouts “hello” when you walk in.

The menu is extensive with entrees offered two ways:  a single large portion or family style (about 3 servings). For vegans there is Penne Arrabbiata or virtually any pasta with marinara sauce.  The server also told me they make a vegan pasta primavera that isn’t on the menu.  Pizza is also front and center at this restaurant so consider a pizza without the cheese (or order the Veggie Pie without the cheese) and ask for mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and olives. Although there are no other veggie additions listed, the restaurant has broccoli, spinach, and asparagus and will add these items if requested.

EARLY GIRL EATERY

  • Address:  8 Wall Street, Asheville, NC
  • Phone Number:  828-259-9292
  • Website:  www.earlygirleatery.com
  • Prices:  Salads: $4-$11, Sandwiches: $10-$12
  • Hours: Monday – Wednesday: 7:30 am – 3 pm; Thursday and Friday: 7:30 am – 9 pm, Saturday and Sunday: 8 am – 9 pm
  • Reservations: Not accepted for breakfast or lunch.
  • Stand-Outs: The Granola and the Avocado and Sprout Sandwich
  • Other Information: The menu provides information on all vegan options.

Early Girl Eatery is THE breakfast spot in Asheville, at least that’s what I’ve been told by several locals, and judging by the homemade granola, I would agree.  Located on historic Wall Street in the “Flatiron” district of Asheville (if you stroll down Wall Street than you will understand), Early Girl Eatery is a “farm to table southern comfort food experience” with an extensive menu that offers lots of options for vegans at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Think  casual diner with lots of Southern charm.

For breakfast, there is the Vegan Tofu Scramble, the Veggie Breakfast Bowl (hold the eggs and cheese), or the House Granola topped with fresh fruit while lunch offerings include the Smiling Hara Sandwich (chipotle maple tempeh with roasted tomato, arugula, and white bean hummus on wheat bread), the Tempeh Reuben, or the Avocado and Sprout Sandwich, all of which are served with soup (the lentil soup, when available, is delicious), french fries or a vegetable.

The vegetable plate (4 vegetables of your choice) or the Toasted Almond Ginger Salad or the Apple Walnut Salad – a spinach salad – without the cheese are also great options.

BEAN VEGAN CUISINE

  • Address:  2145 Hendersonville Road, Asheville (in South Asheville)
  • Phone Number:  828-483-6505
  • Website:  www.eatatbean.com
  • Prices: Most entrees are $8-$14
  • Hours:  Wednesday to Friday:  11:30 am – 8 pm; Saturday:  10 am – 8 pm, Sunday:  10 am – 4 pm
  • Reservations: No
  • Stand-Outs: The Famous Chili and the house made biscuits
  • Other Information:  This restaurant is for those who want the vegan version of chicken fingers or tenders, meatloaf, burgers, filet o fish sandwich, cheese steak, bratwurst, Reuben, gravy, scrambled eggs, etc

Bean Vegan Cuisine started in Charlotte, North Carolina and opened an Asheville restaurant in 2015. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Bean Vegan Cuisine is 100% vegan so the options are vast: waffles, biscuits, scrambles, breads, salads, bowls, sandwiches, burgers, dips, soups, and a long list of sides.  Cakes, cookies, and cupcakes are also available.

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