First, a little bit about my motivation for this piece. Chef Thomas Young was born in Asheville NC and after working in several high end markets like Hilton Head Island he decided to come back home and open up his own restaurant in the 1980’s. Expressions Restaurant was a four diamond restaurant in Historic Downtown Hendersonville for over twenty years. When the economy took a down turn, Tom closed his beloved “Expression’s Restaurant and Wine Bar” and after spending some time pondering his next venture, partnered up with his friend and fellow restaurateur Scott Surette to open up “The Tractor Shed”. Barbeque was always something special to him so Tom, with his thirst for knowledge, went to some of the best BBQ pit masters
and teachers in the southeast to learn the craft of making great barbeque. He also taught a lot of “fledgling chefs” along the way. While we mourn the passing of a wonderful friend with a big heart, and a great chef, we will also continue to enjoy his creations for generations into the future because Tom was never possessive about his knowledge or his recipes.
John does not have a favorite barbeque spot. I think this is because there are quite a few really great barbeque places in and around 1898 Waverly Inn.
Hendersonville – Tractor Shed – Scott Surette
What happens when you put a four diamond chef in the middle of a restaurant with barbecue and bluegrass? It is a barbecue “mecca” with lots of choices on foods and sauces. Scott Surette and Tom Young have had a deep and abiding love for the small farmers in the local area and wanted to create a restaurant where their fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and meats could be showcased. The sides are unique with Root Beer Baked Beans and Mama’s Potato Salad leading the list of reasons that vegetarians show up to what you would think is a meat lover’s only oasis! Three of the former patron favorites that were served at Expressions are on the menu here. The locals would not leave Tom alone until he agreed to serve his scrumptious crab cakes, shrimp & grits and the unforgettable wild mushroom pasta. So many dishes to try and so little time! You will see more of Tom Young’s influence in the great wine list and the availability of local micro-brewery beers at the Tractor Shed. In addition to his culinary interest, Tom co-owned Purple Sage Wine Shop in downtown Hendersonville. The Tractor Shed is located on White Street in
Hendersonville, where you will see the newest tractor or truck that Scott has taken from obscurity to a rehabilitated work of art. Scott is there to talk about whatever you want to each and every day. He is a delightful cross-section of America. He knows a little bit about everything and will let you expound on your subject of the moment with a thoughtful and attentive ear.
Flat Rock - Hubba Bubba Barbeque - Starr Teel
Starr Teel loves smokehouse barbeque. The NC BBQ Society keeps track of how many traditional wood-fired smokehouses are in the state and Starr is one of only thirty. Pulled pork and chicken, ribs and sliced brisket are on the menu along with “The Legend”, Mike Mills’, Smokehouse Baked Beans and a cornbread that has the texture of cake. It is different and yummy. Our favorite is
the Fish Taco Fridays and Saturdays during the summer months. The fish is smoked and served on soft tacos with avocado slaw and salsa fresca. This restaurant sits in Rainbow Row in Flat
Rock and has an informal atmosphere. They are located on Greenville Highway in Flat Rock, just south of the Flat Rock Playhouse and are open March through December. It needs to be noted that they do not take credit cards and they are closed on Sunday and Monday.
Asheville - Twelve Bones Tom Montgomery and Sabra Kelley
President Obama has put this restaurant on the national map but everyone in our area has known about this one for quite a while. They are so good that they branched out a couple of years ago and now there are two restaurants in the Asheville area. One is in the River Arts District and the other one is in Arden at 3578 Sweeten Creek Rd. Twelve Bones is known for ribs and fresh vegetables. John thinks their brisket is “fabulous”. It is so tender that it can be cut with a fork. The smoked potato salad, jalapeno cheese grits and corn pudding are my favorites. It needs to be noted that they are closed on Sunday and Monday also. Their open times are limited to 11am – 4pm.
Saluda - Green River BarBQ - Melanie Talbot
One of the older barbecue restaurants in Western North Carolina is Green River BBQ. It sits on Highway 176 on the outskirts of Saluda, NC. People have been raving about this place since I moved here twenty four years ago. The building looks like it may have originally been a roadside shack that has been winterized but do not let that deter you. The side vegetables keep luring me back to this local eatery. While I am sure that the barbecue is probably good I am not sure that I can say that I have ever had it. John eats it every time we go and he likes it. I cannot seem to get passed the long list of vegetables, salads and greens. I always come out well fed and wishing I had space for one more bite though! They are closed on Mondays and definitely worth the stop.
Shelby – Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge - Debbie Bridges-Webb
Opened in 1946 by Debbie’s parents this restaurant has been
at this location on Highway 74 in Shelby, NC since 1953. Debbie knows that pit cooked barbecue is becoming a lost art and she is doing her part to keep it going. This well-known barbecue place slow cooks pork over hickory all night long. Doesn’t that make your mouth water just thinking about it? Because of this lengthy process they occasionally run out of pork so arrive early. This is one of John’s all-time favorite barbecue restaurants and we always stop if we get within thirty miles of the door. It is closed Monday and Tuesday so keep that in mind.
Have you got a favorite place that we did not mention? Let us know about it. We are always looking…
We hope we've given you yet another reason to visit the 1898 Waverly Inn in Hendersonville, NC very soon!
John, Diane, Darla & Debbie
1898 Waverly Inn
Bed and Breakfast Hendersonville NC