Farm-Fresh, Affordable, and Kid-Friendly:
Dining Local with Children

Guadalupe Café, Sylva • The Scoop: With food that fuses Caribbean, Spanish, Mexican, Middle Eastern, modern, and hippie influences, Guadalupe can take you around the world while you sit in the heart of downtown Sylva, a quintessential American Main Street if ever there was one. By ordering from the taqueria section of the menu, diners can feed their kids simple beans-and-rice fare while building their own creations of smoked gouda, greens, farm bacon, roasted garlic, and dozens of other top-quality ingredients. A full menu of composed plates and smaller tapas also shines. Guadalupe is the kind of casually-managed place that will run out of a few ingredients every busy night, but it doesn’t matter because everything’s good.

The Four-Year-Old Test: Strangely, it’s again the alcohol-friendly environment that helps make this restaurant kid-friendly. The building once housed Hooper’s drug store, and tall stools still line what was formerly a lunch counter and now serves as a bar. Regardless of the time of day, businesspeople and WCU students line the counter sipping beers and creating that hum of background noise that parents cherish. Not that it’s a quiet place to begin with. The décor melds tiki bar with art café with diner with hip night spot, and everything about it says “fun.” The kitchen and the service can each get bogged down, so bring the markers and paper.

What’s Amazing: The use of local ingredients is spectacular here. Owner Jen Pearson has built relationships with just about every Jackson County small farmer capable of selling direct to her kitchen. Featured ingredients include goat meat and goat cheese from Dark Cove Farm, local pork, local produce from Vegenui Gardens and Pomme de Terre farm, and more. All meats on the menu come from ranged, hormone-free animals.

The Basics: Located at 606 W. Main Street, Sylva. Open Monday to Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., 2 a.m. on weekends. 828-586-9877.

Ask your average three-year-old who grew the potato, pickle, lettuce, or pork on her dinner plate, and she’ll likely name her neighborhood grocery store. Many parents are eager to raise kids who know and value the producers of their food. Visiting u-pick farms and shopping at farmers’ tailgate markets can help. Another way to hit kids’ taste buds with the message is to eat at restaurants that buy food from local farms and that have staff and menus that tell diners where it all comes from.
I recently dragged my four-year-old to several area restaurants in search of places that met my kid-friendly criteria. They had to serve delightfully-prepared local farm-fresh food; they had to mix low-priced items in with higher ones; they had to offer simple-flavored dishes along with more palate-challenging ones; and they had to comfortably absorb the typical level of noise and activity generated by a reasonably well-behaved child. Two shined on all counts; interestingly enough, neither is a typical “family” place.

Enoteca, Asheville • The Scoop: After the 2004 flood put Rezaz under water, owner Reza Sateyesh not only rebuilt but also added Enoteca as a more casual annex in the former Biltmore Coffee Traders location next door. The menu is a fun and delicious mix of cold and grilled sandwiches, build-your-own antipasto plates, salads, hot “small bites,” larger meals, and more. The chef seeks local farm food when he can find it in enough quantity—recently he’s been running specials utilizing yogurt cheese from Fullam Creamery, a fourth-generation dairy farm in Henderson County. A retail counter offers takeout wine bottles, gelato, and a stunning dessert case with everything from cinnamon-basil chocolate truffles to a pistachio-lime tart.

Enoteca has long hours and can be a stop for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, drinks, or coffee. The simple wooden tables and ample natural light contrast with the dimly-lit, white cloth serenity of Rezaz next door.

The Four-Year-Old Test: You wouldn’t think a place whose name roughly translates to “wine bar” would be the perfect place to bring a child, but it is. The high ceilings, bright surroundings, and social nature of the place make kids fit in just fine. The diverse menu allows a little-of-this, little-of-that ordering style that works well for sharing with picky eaters.

What’s Amazing: The menu, desserts, fine coffee, and spirits can easily draw you in to a $20 lunch. But restrained orderers will find prices shockingly low given the handcrafted cuisine. A $5 chicken salad sandwich holds chunks of grilled meat mixed with bits of celery and a delightful dressing that tastes of saffron. The bread is hearty and fresh, and a side salad is included. Meanwhile, diners across the street at the faux-tudor Biltmore Village McDonald’s were spending the same $5 on a Big Mac Super Value Meal—are they crazy?

The Basics:
Located at 28 Hendersonville Road. Open Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to late. Phone 828-277-1510.

2006 Issue

  Your guide to health practitioners and sustainable businesses in Asheville, NC, Atlanta and Athens,GA, Greenville, SC and the Southeast
massage, acupuncturists, energy medicine, herbalists, yoga centers, natural medicine, healers, alternative therapies, healing workshops
health food stores, restaurants, nutritionists, whole foods chefs, natural foods lectures & programs, organic farmers, caterers
therapists, churches, workshops, retreat centers, support groups
sustainable businesses in the Southeast



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