Village Wayside Bar & Grille

Lately, Sean and I have been trying to branch out.  There are some places that just seem like cool places to try, particularly for vegetarians, and there are some places that we have jointly taken one look at and decided that, because of its name, or its location, or some other indescribable factor, good vegetarian fare was probably not to be had there.

I love it when we’re wrong.

We recently decided to give Village Wayside Bar and Grille a chance, because it’s not far from where we live and it’s super-close to where I now work.  I discovered from a co-worker that it’s one of her favorite places to eat, and we were told they could get you in and out in an hour lunch-break.  The Village Wayside is located in historic Biltmore Village, in what looks to be the former depot, along the railroad tracks.  It’s actually a really cool historic  building.  We have often commented that it looks as though they lifted a restaurant off of Folly Beach in SC (near where we used to live) and plopped it down here in the middle of the mountains.  It just has that laid-back, beachy vibe that we would probably really love it we weren’t hungry vegetarians.  Beach-vibe restaurants often have a reputation for great burgers, or fish-n-chips, but rarely do they do vegetarian food well.  (If I’m wrong about this, dear readers, please set me straight for our next vacation.)  Another nice, beachy feature is the cute patio to the side of the restaurant–perfect for relaxing with a cold local brew while watching the sun go down over the ocean (ahem, I mean the railroad tracks)…

So we were pleasantly surprised when we realized that the Village Wayside offered a number of different salads, including a Greek Salad (my hubbby’s favorite), a Village Salad, an Asian Salad and a Wayside House Salad, all vegetarian, and two  more delicious-looking salads that look like they could be made vegetarian with the absence of the bacon.  Three sandwiches were offered (a grilled cheese, a hummus and veggie sandwich, and the one I ordered, which I’ll describe in a sec) and they offer a Malibu Burger, which is vegan (!!), and which can be substituted for any other burger on the menu.  With toppings for the burgers like avocado, Cheerwine BBQ sauce, and the “Spicy Cold Hot Dip,” there is no shortage of interesting things for vegans to put on their burgers (except apparently, the “Cold Hot” dip does have cheese).    In addition to all this, they also serve a Greek Platter (with Spanakopita, hummus, and a Greek salad), Garden Pasta with your choice of red or Alfredo sauce, and a regular Fettuccini Alfredo, just for good measure.

So Sean ordered the Greek Salad, which I would have expected.  It was pretty much just a traditional Greek Salad, with the exception that it comes standard with beets.  (Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I did not order this one for myself.)  I was really impressed with the item I did choose, though:  the Grilled Pear and Havarti sandwich.  (Mmm…there are few things on this planet that get my attention faster than Havarti.  It’s one of the creamiest, nuttiest, tastiest mainstream cheeses you can get, in my humble opinion.  But, as usual, I digress…)  The sandwich is served on hearty sourdough bread and includes fresh spinach and red onion with stone ground mustard.  The pear is candied, which makes for a very interesting combo of sweet, spicy, and creamy all on the same deliciously grilled sandwich.  I was hooked.  I just really appreciate the creativity required to mix those flavors together with spicy mustard.  The homemade potato chips are really quite delightful, and Sean enjoyed his choice of their homemade french fries.  You can also choose macaroni salad (which our friend chose, and which looked delicious), or upgrade to sweet potato tots, side salad, house or village salad, or onion rings.  Gluten-intolerant friends take note:  they also have gluten-free bread available!  I thought that was a pretty nice touch.

It took us nearly three years to get around to trying this Biltmore Village staple, and I’m really sad that it took that long.  But you can bet your sweet potato tots that we’re going to be heading back soon.  And next time, it will probably include a beer on the “beachside” patio!

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