All the Deliciousness – none of the Traffic, and lots of Free Parking

Hendersonville – Not only is it hard to get a table without reservations made well in advance at popular Asheville restaurants these days, it’s hard just to GET to those restaurants, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. 

Asheville Friday Traffic
Typical Friday – Saturday Asheville Traffic

In some ways, it’s a good problem for Asheville to have. Due to an agressive and unrelenting tourism push, there are no “slow” months in Asheville anymore. In the last year or so, at least six new hotels have been built, or are in the process of being built downtown. There’s a perpetual line out the door at French Broad Chocolates. Sidewalks are full of pedestrians. Sometimes so many, getting to your destination unimpeded becomes tactical video game worthy.

Now all that being said, I do love the energy in downtown Asheville. The cultural vibe, street buskers, mix of people, street artists, etc.

More and more, I’m hearing people who live outside Asheville say they don’t want to battle drive-in-to-town traffic and parking issues for dinner out. So where are they going? Hendersonville. 

Hendersonville is about 25 miles south of Asheville and has also been changing, but in a more subtle way. You’ve noticed if you’ve paid attention over the last couple years. Demographics have quietly shifted, and continue to shift, younger. Twenty and thirty-somethings are choosing Hendersonville as the place they want to live, raise families, and – drum roll – go out. There’s also a new downtown boutique hotel on the books coming soon.

And town entrepreneurs have responded, opening new restaurants, bakeries, coffee roasters, cideries, and breweries. A new pub, Brooks Tavern, is on the verge of opening on 3rd Ave W, just off Main St. In addition to operating hours you’d expect, they are planning a late night kitchen, unheard of in Hville! And soon, please soon, a new restaurant with an open kitchen, very cool bar, event space, and rooftop bar is opening on Main St at 2nd Ave.

There’s even a new-ish monthly May-Sept free outdoor beer and music event, Rhythm and Brews, featuring bands leaning toward rock and funk at the north end of town. For those preferring oldies, bluegrass, and clogging, there’s still Music on Main at the southern end of town.

Of Note: Two large housing developments in Henderson County have been denied recently after citizens rallied in opposition. County Commissioners are exploring a possible moratorium on growth. One concern is that infrastructure (roads, water, sewer) have not kept up. The county comprehensive plan and/or subdivision ordinance may be updated with managed growth with today’s world in mind. 

Back to Deliciousness. There are WAY too many tasty spots in greater Hendersonville and Flat Rock to list here, so I’m just going to include those on Main Street (or close by) Hendersonville, and the core of Flat Rock. Surprising how many there are!

Main Street, Historic Downtown Hendersonville
Main Street, Historic Downtown Hendersonville

Key: H=Hendersonville, H7H=Historic 7th Ave, Hendersonville, FR=Flat Rock
Most restaurants on Main Street have generous outdoor sidewalk seating
SAVE THE DATE! Hendersonville Restaurant Week March 15-24, 2018

Bakery
Underground Baking Company  (H7H – fantastic breads and pastries)
McFarlan Bakery  (H – been on Main St for decades, a classic)
Gateaux  (H – new-ish in town, fabulous pastries, cakes for events)
Flat Rock Village Bakery  (FR – one of my faves, everything baked in a wood-fired oven)
The Baker’s Box (H – on Kanuga Rd, breads, cakes, pies, sandwiches, salads, no seating) 
BBQ
Flat Rock Wood Room  (between H and FR – lunch and dinner, award-winning BBQ, wood-fired pizza oven)
Hubba Hubba BBQ  (FR – seasonal, excellent BBQ, fantastic outdoor seating)
Moe’s Original BBQ  (H – excellent BBQ, right on Main St)
Breakfast and/or Lunch
Flat Rock Village Bakery  (FR – some breakfast items, espresso, great lunch spot)
Cafe Crepe Mania (H – breakfast, lunch, very good crepes, try the Portobello Mushroom crepe!)
Honey and Salt (FR – extra good breakfast spot, might wait for table, limited hours)
Three Chopt Sandwich Shoppe (H – lunch spot, an oldie but goodie)
Mike’s on Main  (H – breakfast, lunch, authentic soda fountain, value pricing, fun)
Mountain Deli  (H – on Main, late breakfast, lunch, excellent)
Dandelion  (H – lunch, training cafe for abused folks wishing to re-enter work force, go) 
Village Café & Pub (FR – lunch, sandwiches, evening pub, good food)
Mean Mr. Mustard Cafe  (H – breakfast, lunch, good food, nice outdoor deck, drive through espresso)
HenDough Chicken and Donuts  (H – on Kanuga Rd, fried chicken, big donuts, patio)
Brewery, Cidery
Sanctuary Brewing Company  (H – just off Main)
Southern Appalachian Brewery  (H7H – off 7th on Locust) 
Black Star Line Brewing  (H – just off Main)
Dry Falls Brewing Company (H – on Kanuga Rd, opening soon)
Triskelion Brewing (H7H – set back from 7th, opening soon)
Flat Rock Cider Works  (H – on Main)
Brunch
Never Blue (H – Saturday Brunch, tapas, creative menu, excellent cocktails, delicious)
Season’s at Highland Lake Resort (FR – Sunday Brunch, buffet, delicious!)
Cafe
Dragonfly Cafe  (FR – semi-fine dining)
Cajun / Creole
Dat’s Cajun  (H – Creole and Cajun cuisine, just off Main St)
Chocolate, Fudge, Ice Cream
Kilwins  (H – on Main St)
Van’s Chocolates  (H – as good as European chocolates, must try)
Sweet Frog  (H – frozen yogurt, on Main St)
Yogurt World  (H – frozen yogurt, just off Main St)
Marble Slab Creamery  (H – on Main St)
Coffee Shop
Black Bear Coffee Espresso Bar and Cafe  (H – on Main, breakfast pastries, sandwiches)
Jongo Java  (H – on Main, smoothies, espresso, good meeting spot)
Independent Beans  (H7H – bean roaster, limited seating, no wi-fi, excellent coffee)
Sweet Gypsy Coffee  (H – on Church St, good espresso drinks)
Appalachian Coffee Co  (H – very limited seating, drive through)
Coffee Bar on White (St)  (H -good espresso drinks, at Kanuga and White) 
Craft Cocktail/Wine Bar
The Poe House  (H – wine bar, craft cocktail bar, live music, cool ambiance)
Crepes
Cafe Crepe Mania  (H – on Main, breakfast & lunch, limited menu, good crepes)
Deli
Mountain Deli  (H – on Main, late breakfast, lunch, excellent)
Diner
Pop’s Diner  (H – just outside downtown on Main, authentic classic diner)
Fine Dining
Brandy’s on Main  (H – on Main, lovely menu, nice ambiance)
Postero  (H- on Main, EXCELLENT food, great bar, classic and craft cocktails)
Renzo’s  (H – on Main, delicious Italian)
Season’s at Highland Lake Resort  (FR – wonderful location, historic, great food)
German
Haus Heidelberg  (H – at southern end of town, traditional German fare, market)
Irish Pub
Hannah Flanagan’s  (H – on Main, local favorite, good bar, good food)
Black Rose  (H – on Main, local favorite, good bar, good food, pool tables upstairs)
Italian
Renzo’s  (H – on Main, delicious Italian)
Mezzaluna  (H – on Main, excellent Italian, wood-fired oven local and visitor favorite)
Mona Lisa  (H – just outside downtown, authentic Italian)
Mexican
Sol Y Luna  (H – on Main, very good Cali-Mex, good margaritas)
Pizza
2 Guys Pizza & Ribs  (H7H – outside downtown, good food)
West First  (H – just off Main, artisan thin crust pizza, wood-fired oven, good house salad, busy)
Pub / Bar and Grill
Olive or Twist  (H – off Main, bar and grill, live music)
Brooks Tavern (H – off Main, opening soon, late night kitchen, pub food)
Southern
Daddy D’s Suber Soulfood (H7H – authentic Southern cuisine, local family owned, some of the best fried chicken around)
Sports Bar
The Dugout  (H – on Main, sports bar, live music)
Sushi
Umi (H – on Main, Sushi & Fine Japanese Dining, excellent food, busy)
Champa (H – on Main, Sushi & Thai, beautiful interior, good food)
Tapas
Never Blue  (H – on Main, local favorite, great cocktails, delicious creative menu)
Thai
Thai Spice  (H – on King St just off Main, very good Thai)
Lime Leaf  (H – on Main, great ambiance, very good Thai)
Champa (H – on Main, Sushi & Thai, beautiful interior, good food)

If I’ve forgotten any restaurants that should be on this on Main or nearby list, let me know in a comment.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Laura,
    This is a great list.
    The proximity of restaurants on Main is a real plus. We went with friends to West First. We thought that at 7:30 the families would be clearing out. We were told it would be an hour wait. We walked around the corner to Never Blue and told there was a 30 minute wait. We went to Brandy’s and were seated immediately though that restaurant was filling up. Our friends were impressed with the food and the service.
    I did notice you omitted Hannah Flanagans from the list, and we think of Laurel Park as being in the area also. We like the Sol Y Luna location there, Dixie Diner is my go-to place for breakfasts, and we hear that the recently opened Uncle Scott’s Pizza is very good.
    We appreciate your blog and are excited to see that Hendersonville Restaurant Week will be happening in March 2018!
    Cheers,
    Tim Mendelsohn

    • Hi Tim,
      Gah! I had Hannah’s and Black Rose under Irish Pub on my working list, but missed moving them over to the article. Of all places, to leave Hannah’s off! I know and like owner Matt very much, and know he’d understand it was an oversight.

      It is getting busier in Hendersonville. At this point, I still think it’s a good thing. Many of the restaurants in town haven’t enjoyed this kind of traffic until recently. That said, I’m very happy the county is looking closely at managed growth!

      It was tough to leave the Laurel Park places off because we go there, too. But the list was getting huge. Dixie Diner is great! We’ve gone there for breakfast for over 10 years. Have you had breakfast on their back deck? Not too many people know about that. Also like the LP Sol Y Luna. They have a great deck, too.

      Have you been to Tooley’s Cafe? We haven’t been there or Scott’s Pizza. We built a house last year and it became all consuming. Had to create a list of places to check out after the dust settled. Feels good to have more time now, even though we’re still working on things related to the house.

  2. Great list. Thank you! Hadn’t known about the new crepe place but hope to try it soon.

    Hendersonville may not be as hyper as Asheville but there are times when we anticipate downtown parking will be a trial so we choose a restaurant with easy parking, like Thai Spice…which fortunately is also very good!

    Recently went to brunch at Seasons, good and upscale offerings but we feel dinners are better quality than the buffet…which is probably pretty true about most buffets.

  3. Can’t imagine how Harry’s and Piggy’s were omitted!
    Talk about iconic, quintessential H’ville!!
    It’s hard to decide if the decor or the food is the “best” part!

    • Hi Sheila,
      Harry’s and Piggy’s is definitely a Hendersonville icon, but I was limiting the article to places on or near Main St, and in the core of Flat Rock because there are so many great places in the greater area. Too many for one article like this.

      Thanks for mentioning them, though,
      Laura

  4. Great article Laura!! With the mix of fantastic restaurants, I am hoping to see a Vietnamese restaurant someday. My favorite cuisine and one of my desires for western North Carolina.

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