Home Food & Beverage We Found Real Outdoor Dining From A James Beard Award Finalist in Asheville, NC

We Found Real Outdoor Dining From A James Beard Award Finalist in Asheville, NC

by joeheg

For Sharon and I, the hardest thing about traveling right now is eating. We’re OK with staying at a hotel, timeshare or cabin because we’re able to clean all of the surfaces ourselves. Riding in an elevator is another story, so we’re relegated to staying on a low floor for the time being. Doing all of our travel in our own vehicle eliminates any problems with flights or rental cars. We’re choosing activities that are mostly outdoors or at locations that mandate mask-wearing and encourage social distancing.

That leaves one part of traveling becoming the most problematic, especially now that the weather’s turning cold—outdoor dining.

We’re not willing to eat indoors at a restaurant, even if the location is limiting capacity. Data shows that the reduced air circulation and duration of time sitting around maskless people is still a risky activity. Since it’s possible to avoid this activity, we are doing so.

However, when we’re away from home we do still have to eat. In the summer and early fall in the south, it was easy to search for a restaurant with outdoor seating, using a site like Yelp or OpenTable. On this trip, we were traveling more north and heading to the mountains. We went from t-shirt and shorts weather in Florida for lunch one day to long underwear and jackets in Asheville for dinner the next night.

While many places in Asheville said they had outdoor seating, we soon found out that not all outdoor seating was created equally. We ended up driving around town to find a place that met our needs. Fortunately, one of the locations that looked good was just across the street from the Kimpton Arras and came recommended by some of our Facebook friends.

7 SW, N Pack Square
Asheville, NC 28801

We only picked this restaurant because it had outdoor seating, it was close to our hotel and friends suggested it. Now that I’m reading more about it, the fact that we had such an amazing meal makes more sense. While many restaurants say they’re “farm to table,” this one takes it seriously with almost every ingredient listing where it’s from. It’s also not often when you get to eat a restaurant run by one of the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Stars of the 21st Century” and a five-time finalist, most recently in 2017, for the James Beard “Best Chef in the Southeast” award.

We started with the Goat Cheese Burrata and we were really hungry, so it was demolished before we were able to get a decent picture. After eating this, we realized we’d be writing about our meal and started with the pictures.

For the main course, Sharon ordered the wood-grilled chicken.

I opted for the swordfish, a dish I tend to avoid at most restaurants but this seemed to be a place where I could trust them to prepare it correctly. I was right.

We were full after two courses, and honestly, we were more than a little a bit chilly from sitting outside and looking to get back to our hotel and room and warm up for the night.

Final Thoughts

Rhubarb is a restaurant we’d love to go back to and rediscover once COVID-19 is finished. I want to linger over a three-course meal and handcrafted cocktails. However, we’re glad that the owners were smart enough to install heat lamps under the awnings, which allow guests who still want to sit outside in cold weather and enjoy a good meal to have somewhere to go.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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