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Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 11, 2009

As we drove around Asheville at 2 pm, we realized it had been several hours since we had eaten. We were hungry. With so many options in downtown Asheville, how were we to choose? Amanda found the Asheville Brewery and Pizza place, and as we swung by, it looked awfully closed. Sure enough, they WERE closed, but opened at 4 pm. Wonderful, we had our dinner plans. I do like a good local brewery. But what about lunch? As we got back in the car and bumped back into downtown (the brewery is a small handful of blocks out of downtown), Amanda said it was MY job to select our lunchtime eatery. Well, at the next light, I saw Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria. THAT was our lunching spot.

My recommendation: If you’re in Asheville, try it. It was good food, with a wide assortment of tastes, and a great draught beer selection. If you don’t set your hopes really high, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Overall: Worth every nickel. I had a hard time selecting a beer, as they had over 25 on tap, mostly domestic, with a very large selection of NC beers, most of which I had never heard. The food was pretty good, too.

Ambiance: The restaurant was an appliance store in the 1920s. It has nice tall ceilings, and a lot of “attractive” wood paneling. It’s shooting for a “modern” German restaurant look. Not “modern” like I commented about the Crave Dessert Bar, where you’d expect to pay $12 for a martini, just because the stem of the glass helix-shaped, but “modern” in the sense that the beer wasn’t actually sitting in a barrel out back, but rather in some chiller in a keg. Otherwise, it’s like any other pub.

Menu: Pizza, Calzones, Sandwiches, and Pitas. The toppings list, available for almost any item on the menu, was the interesting part. It was clearly catering to the “crunchy” crowd that inhabits Asheville, and included pineapple, squash, spinach, and black beans. Not that any of these things are odd, in and of themselves, but black beans on my pizza would be different.

Something you won’t find on most menus: Fiddlesticks. The restaurant makes its own sourdough from scratch every day, from unbleached, unbromated flour. Fiddlesticks look, on the surface, like french fries, but are sticks of the sourdough, cut into strips, dipped in spicy/sweet sauce, and lightly fried, then served with blue cheese and peppercorn ranch sauces. They were a served a little cold, but were very good.

Service: Standard, run-of-the-mill service. The waitress was nice, took care of everything, and things came out in a reasonably timely manner. She made no mistakes, but made pleasant smalltalk.

Food: We saw they had calzones, so we decided to split a calzone (mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, butter, sourdough crust), and added mushrooms, black beans, and “beefalo” (a low fat, no hormone beef) to the calzone. I had a “cup” of chili and we shared the previously-mentioned “fiddlesticks.” I say “cup,” because it came in a bowl. It was a smallish bowl, but a bowl nonetheless. Had I known, I probably would have skipped the calzone, which was also huge, so as not to have to have brought my half of the calzone home (which is now sitting in our hotel’s fridge). Everything was above average, noting the cold fiddlesticks, and the meal was very well priced, including the beer, for ~$25.

42 Biltmore
Asheville, NC 28801

Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


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