Not many people know that I once lived in Asheville, North Carolina. I had just left the West Coast after my first year of Graduate School and I thought a new city where I did not know anyone would be a fun adventure. While I instantly fell in love with this charming little town, at the end of the day it was just too small for me and I ended up moving to New York City by the end of the year. Nonetheless, I have very fond memories of my brief time there and I make an effort to return often, since it is less than a three hours drive from where I live now. My most recent trip to Asheville was on behalf of both Explore Asheville and The Omni Grove Park Inn, as they had invited my husband and I there for a midweek getaway.
What can be said about Asheville that has not already been said a million times? This bohemian enclave has an incredibly vibrant art, music, and culinary scene, as well as having an interesting mix of locals who consider themselves progressive thinkers, yet still hold traditional Southern values. Its downtown area is best explored by foot and without a map.
Our dinner for the evening was at Strada Italiano, which is located in a gorgeously renovated building from the 1880’s. The restaurant resembles the ambiance of a storied neighborhood trattoria in Italy with rich woods, warm reds and ochres, low-lit chandeliers, and custom copper architectural elements that strike a welcoming tone right in the heart of downtown Asheville.
The menu consists of authentic Italian cuisine representing all of the regions of Italy and many of owner Chef Anthony Cerrato’s traditional family recipes. Strada sets itself apart from other restaurants in several ways: it uses all gluten-free flours in an effort to cater to the health conscious and those with food allergies, it boasts a full bakery and produces homemade artisan loaves, cakes, and pies, and it is a 3-Star Green Certified Restaurant. Recycling, composting, and utilizing green cleaning supplies and sustainable building materials are a few of the ways the restaurant adheres to an eco-friendly ideology.
After dinner we made our way to Strada’s rooftop bar Social Lounge for some handcrafted cocktails while we digested our unforgettable meal.
Life really is better in the mountains!