The family who owns Never Blue doesn’t want you to enter with preconceptions. Their tapas-style menu draws its influences from culinary traditions around the world, mixing and blending flavors to create an entirely new level of delicious. The fact that they’re small plates also helps, so you don’t have to limit your decision to one dish. The restaurant is also eclectically decorated by one of the owners, the mother of one of the two chefs. You’ll find a lot of Mexican touches, like the taco menu, but don’t expect it to be the kind of Mexican food that you can get just anywhere. If you can, save room for dessert – their signature brownie wrapped in phyllo dough and served with crème anglaise and ice cream is an experience unto itself.
The aim of West First Wood-Fired, the sister restaurant to the Flat Rock Village Bakery, is to acquaint guests with the process that puts the delicious meals on their table. The ornately tiled oven that bakes all the pizzas fresh draws attention to itself and the activity of the chefs around it, and diners can rest easy knowing that the ingredients in the food here are local and organic whenever possible. The cuisine is definitely drawn from the Mediterranean region, but it doesn’t limit itself to that. For proof, take a look at the pizza menu. You’ll find the basics like Margherita and prosciutto right alongside the southwestern pizza with mole sauce.
If you took a barbecue joint and moved it to Italy, this is what the result would be. They have two specialties: crispy, Italian-style pizzas and down home southern barbecue. They blend together seamlessly in various ways on the menu. Take the smoked brisket pizza, the BBQ pork white pizza, or the BBQ panini sandwiches on bread made from the pizza dough. It’s not every day that you can find a full barbecue menu side by side with a full pizza menu, but Flat Rock Wood Room has done it without compromising the quality of either.
You can get a loaf of bread anywhere, but you can’t get good bread everywhere – that’s where Flat Rock Village Bakery comes in. Hearkening back to the time when all bread was made lovingly, this bakery in historic Flat Rock endeavors to add a little something special into everything that they put into their ovens. The bread that results is flavorful and exciting. They have certain breads every day, like the sourdough and the rotating specials for every day of the week. If you’re looking for a meal, they’ve got pizzas made from the same stock as at West First Wood-Fired and some really great soup, salad, and sandwich options. This is a perfect place for a healthy, wholesome meal.
Deli, Restaurant, Sandwich Shop, South American, Vegetarian, $$$
Mountain Deli is a new interpretation of a classic formula. They’ve got all the deli favorites, put together with as many locally grown ingredients as they can find and loaded onto freshly baked bread. They even make their own bagels, which are baked fresh to order at any time of the day. They have a special hot sandwich every day, so you can have something new whenever you come by, like smoked pit ham or Angus roast beef au jus with any number of accoutrements. Meaty though this sounds, vegetarians need not be intimidated – they’ve got plenty of choices for them as well. If you plan well, you can show up before 11am to take advantage of their breakfast sandwiches.
A real local favorite, Umi has been voted the best restaurant in Hendersonville several times since it opened in 2007. Their range of Japanese cuisine with an additional Thai menu covers everything you could possibly want out of a Japanese restaurant – fantastically creative sushi rolls, succulent teriyaki meat, and bento boxes if you just can’t decide what you want. In order to get their desired quality and ambiance, Umi is no discount restaurant. But, they do have an ample lunch menu if you want to get a cheaper bite. Their drink menu is also worth a look, as it includes a huge range of sake choices plus a list of signature cocktails.
Binion’s is patriotic to the core and southern to boot – literally, they have a giant boot outside, painted with the stars and stripes. They have many things on their menu to be proud of, including their huge juicy burgers and steaks, which they rightfully call perfect. Once you’ve got one of those in your stomach, it’s time to try their famous Tombstone Tea, their special version of a Long Island iced tea, served in a quart-sized mason jar. If you’re feeling slightly more cautious, try one of their tasty margaritas, and you won’t be disappointed there either. Their menu is uncomplicated and not too long, which just speaks to the level to which they have mastered each of the dishes they offer.
You’ll want to order one of the enticing appetizers at Papa’s & Beer, and when you do, you might as well go ahead and ask for the take-away box for the remainder of your main meal. The portions are huge at this authentic Mexican restaurant, and you won’t want to waste any of it. Made with fresher ingredients than your average Tex-Mex place, this California-style Mexican restaurant really embraces its roots and has risen to the top of the pile of Mexican restaurants in Hendersonville. The desert may feel far away up in the Appalachians, but with Papa’s & Beer around, you’ll completely forget that.
You won’t know what’s hit you when you bite into one of Joey’s freshly baked bagels or bialys, which are made from the same dough as bagels, except they’re baked, not fried and they only have a depression in the middle, not a hole. You’ll suddenly be transported to New York City – just without all the chaos and noise. Depending on the time of day, you’ll be given the choices of breakfast sandwiches or lunch options, along with salads, wraps, and smoothies for a sweet treat when you’re done. It can be difficult to find a truly good bagel, but Joey’s has you covered in Hendersonville.
Fittingly named after the father of its owners, Daddy D’s pays homage to this man by cooking up the best soul food anywhere around Hendersonville. Between the mac and cheese, fried chicken, collard greens, sweet potato casserole, biscuits, cornbread muffins, and all of their other tantalizing southern options, this is truly not a place for anyone on a diet. Grab a sweet tea and just hang out for as long as you like. They really get into the southern spirit here, so you should go along with it and not hurry off anywhere. What more is there to the South, really, than a slow, greasy meal with a refreshing sweet tea to wash it down and temper a warm afternoon?