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Occupying a space that was formerly the Beacon Pub & Bistro, the Village Pub, and Puebla Mexican Restaurant (RIP), the new Native Kitchen & Social Pub just off Patton Cove Road hopes to become Swannanoa’s answer to the Bywater. And with its huge, grassy, fenced-in back yard and plans for an 8-foot firepit, the pub is well on its way.
Swannanoa, according to part-owner Sarah Watkins, needed a place where locals can grab good food, drink a beer and maybe bring the kids. No poker machines and no cigarette smoke, and a big yes to disc golf (forthcoming), pub trivia, Pisgah beer and family-friendly events including live local music.
Swannanoans “just don’t always feel like driving to downtown,” she said. “There’s nowhere for young families to go (here). We wanted to create a place that served locally sourced food for good prices.”
So she and several business partners including her husband Casey, an Owen High grad, opened Native Kitchen and Social Pub, what Watkins calls a gastropub serving higher-end bar food (chicken and waffles, BBQ chicken pizza, steak tacos, a catfish reuben), with generous portions and lower prices.
To Watkins, the name represents what she wants her new bar and eatery to stand for: Local people hanging out in their own neighborhood, eating locally sourced food and drinking local beer, Bywater style with a foodie touch. Watkins points out the venue’s McRitchie Hard Cider, made in Yadkin County from N.C. apples, as being a the kind of brew she wants to offer.
“This is the kind of place I’d want to go to and support,” she says. “I’d put my chef up against any of the downtown guys.”
As well as local beer and food prepared by former Southern Kitchen and Bar chef Chris Saffles, the Native Kitchen & Social Pub also offers patio seating, and, just a short walk away in back, picnic tables set up in an expansive, grassy area out that combines the summertime grill-out vibe of the Root Bar or Bywater with a gigantic, public back yard.
Dogs are always welcome, Watkins said. “I’m an animal person.” Also a dog and cat owner, Watkins welcomes a neighbor’s regularly visiting socialite feline, Lola, as the resident “bar cat.”
The plan for the back yard area is a fire pit, cornhole, disc golf and maybe even croquet. And croquet tournaments. And Brother Wolf adoption events. And maybe, Watkins says, there will be even hammocks next summer, when the weather warms back up.
Watkins said she hopes her pub becomes a springboard for other businesses to make positive local change in Swannanoa, the same way the influx of locally-owned bars, restaurants, bakeries, salons and other business changed West Asheville into a sort of indie-driven downtown Asheville for locals.
“West Asheville is now thriving,” she notes. “It takes someone to set the tone. If people enjoy it, people with similar ideas can transform it into something new.”
Native Kitchen hours:
Tuesday – Thursday: 11:30am – 9:30pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:30am – 11:00pm
Tuesday – Saturday: 11:30am until
Native Kitchen is at 204 Whitson Ave. in Swannanoa, just off Patton Cove Road in Beacon Village.
Category: Asheville food and drink