After passing groups of people trolling for an open restaurant in Asheville on New Year’s Day, we felt lucky to find not one, but two.
Three of us walked to Early Girl Eatery on Wall Street after parking nearby at the Grove Arcade. They were open … and SLAMMED! There were people packed into the Girl’s small antechamber where the wait was 45 minutes to an hour.
That was a bit too long for us, so we headed around the block to Mayfel’s where the wait was a bit shorter. We put our name on the 35 minute wait list and tried to find an out of the way spot inside, where it was warm.
The story goes that the owner’s grandmother, Mary Felonise, was teased at school about her name – “Mary fell on your knees”, so she shortened her name to Mayfel. They cook all their food from scratch, just as Grandmother Mayfel would want it.
At Mayfel’s, there is no out of the way spot inside. We shuffled to the left so the server could get drinks out of the cooler, shuffled to the right so the busboy could pass with a tub of dirty dishes, shuffled back farther into the corner when more people came in and shuffled again when people were at the Bloody Mary bar mixing up their perfect “morning after” concoction.
(some wait for a table while others work the Bloody Mary bar)
(dangly objects d’art)
(a bit scary!)
It was worth the wait. Sis had the Omelet of the Day – goat cheese, spinach, mushrooms and garlic. Daily omelets come with choice of home fries or stone-ground yellow grits and toast or biscuit ($8.95). She thought it was delicious and so did I! In fact, I’d say it was one of the best omelets I’ve tasted in quite a while. The goat cheese had a nice flavor and wonderful creamy texture, and the spinach still had some body – not mushy.
PIC went with the Half Pound Cheeseburger – choice of cheddar or jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion (add bacon/$1.00), with fries or sweet potato fries ($8.50). He chose cheddar and added the bacon. They forgot the bacon, but the issue was resolved in a friendly way. His coffee was $1.50. The burger report was favorable: cooked to order and seasoned nicely. PIC had no choice but to share the delicious fries.
Hillbilly Breakfast was my choice – two eggs any style, biscuits with cream gravy, choice of home fries or stone-ground yellow grits and thick cut bacon, sausage or veggie sausage ($8.50). I didn’t think I could eat everything, so I asked to substitute toast for the biscuits and gravy. No problem. One of the eggs was cooked more than I would have liked, but overall it was fine. The grits were delicious with some salt and butter added.
If you go to Mayfel’s, and I hope you do, take a few minutes to look at the building’s exterior. It’s one of many built in the “art deco” style in downtown Asheville. Built in 1936, it fits right into what’s thought to be the period when this style manifested itself – between 1920 and 1939. David Thompson talks about the Mayfel’s building on his blog, Art Deco Buildings.
(Image: Art Deco Buildings)
Mr. Thompson refers to the building’s chevrons (“V shapes pointing up or down”) and ziggauraut (ziggurat) forms (“a stepped tower or pyramid of ancient Mesopotamia”), which are typical of art deco design that had Roman and Middle Eastern influences, among others.
Mayfel’s website is hard to find. This might be due to their using .net rather than .com? Anyway, bookmark it if you want to check their menu, hours, etc.
22 College St
Asheville, NC 28801