Asheville is one of the most popular spots in North Carolina for residents and tourists. With its spectacular foothills setting, a surplus of forests, and thriving fine arts community, this city is incomparable. Asheville vacation rentals serve as a cozy home base for relaxing after exploring the downtown area, hiking in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains, or soaking in the natural hot springs. The city also features a vibrant food scene, with a wide variety of casual, kid-friendly restaurants. As you plan your itinerary, consider these great eateries for family dinners.
One of Asheville’s top-rated restaurants, Curate is a great choice for both adults and kids. The restaurant specializes in tapas, and a single small plate is a great size for a little one with a light appetite. For kids, try the crispy fried patatas bravas, the spicy chorizo with potato chips, or the albondigas, which are meatballs served in a homemade tomato sauce. Adults and teenagers with more adventurous palates love the creamy chicken fritters, compressed watermelon and sheep cheese salad, and the roasted South Carolina clams.
2. 12 Bones
No trip to Asheville is complete without barbecue, and 12 Bones is the place to get it. This smokehouse serves traditional North Carolina barbecue in a relaxed, funky industrial setting. Meat is the central focus. Choose from falling-off-the-bone ribs, beef brisket, chicken, or pork. There’s also a sandwich menu, with options such as elevated BLTs and bratwurst, and a selection of salads. Unless your kids are hearty eaters, look to the “Just a Taste” menu for smaller portions of meat. Try the rich macaroni and cheese side dish.
3. Early Girl Eatery
If you have a vegetarian in the family, Early Girl Eatery is a must-visit. This farm-to-table spot serves Southern-inspired cuisine, including meat-free options such as the vegan tofu scramble and spinach potato cakes. Meat eaters, never fear: Early Girl also serves up chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and the spectacular Porky’s Breakfast Bowl, which comes loaded with bacon gravy. The dining room is lively and casual enough for little ones, and the service is always friendly.
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For families who love simple, familiar food, WALK is a great, affordable option. The menu is packed with kid-approved items such as brats, quesadillas, chicken fingers, and chips and salsa. Take it up a notch with the blackened tuna tacos, avocado tempeh melt, or the arugula salad. The dining area features beautiful brick walls and high ceilings, with a laid-back vibe that’s perfect for rambunctious children.
5. Duck Donuts
Grab breakfast to go at Duck Donuts, a bakery known for its airy, indulgent pastries. The menu includes simple, kid-friendly breakfast sandwiches. Make your visit a dessert-only trip at the donut counter, where you can order house specialties, such as the pumpkin donut with marshmallow drizzle or the maple-frosted bacon-topped donut. Kids love the made-to-order option, which lets them customize each donut with a coating, topping, and drizzle.
6. White Duck Taco Shop
White Duck Taco Shop is an Asheville institution, and it’s easy to see why. This fast eatery serves creative tacos and Southern-inspired sides in an ultra-casual setting. Order your tacos inside, and take them outside to enjoy on the large picnic tables. Taco options include the duck with mole sauce, jerk chicken, mushroom and potato with Romesco, and more. If your children are picky eaters, the kids’ chicken or cheese quesadilla is an easy option.
7. Chai Pani
For fans of Indian street food, Chai Pani is the place to go in downtown Asheville. Try the chicken tikka roll, which comes wrapped in hot, buttery naan, or the Kolhapuri lamb thali in a rich curry sauce. The menu includes plenty of items that are easy for kids to eat, including the crispy chicken pakoras and the sev potato dahi puri. If your family has dietary restrictions, ask to see the special diets menu for vegan, gluten-free, and allergen-sensitive dishes.
When nothing but pizza can satisfy your cravings, head for the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company. Here, you can customize individual slices, so it’s a breeze to satisfy kids with different tastes. The menu also features a selection of appetizers, including wings, tater tots, and nachos. The restaurant makes a point of welcoming families, and the small onsite arcade keeps your kids entertained while you wait.
9. Biscuit Head
Try a classic Southern breakfast at Biscuit Head. Each entree consists of a freshly baked biscuit with your choice of toppings; standouts include the fried chicken gravy and the pork sausage gravy. A large menu of side dishes rounds out the meal with sausage, bacon, grits, and cheese-topped fries. When you’re visiting with kids, it’s a good idea to go on a weekday morning to avoid longer lines.
10. Wicked Weed
Experience the Asheville beer scene in a family-friendly environment at Wicked Weed, a beautifully decorated brew pub with a full menu. Here, chefs prepare classic pub food: sandwiches, burgers, and snacks. If your kids have trouble making it through big portions, try the small plates menu for dishes such as fish and chips or grilled shrimp. Teenagers and big eaters love the fried chicken sandwich or the classic burger. Wicked Weed is best for lunch or an early dinner with kids; if you’re traveling with the family pet, ask to sit outside on the dog-friendly patio.
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