by Madison V. Fisler
Aug. 22, 2013. The High Country is known for a lot of things: the beautiful views, the warm summers, and even our great country life. But what many people seem to forget is the many fantastic independent restaurants that call the High Country home.
Boone Independent Restaurants is a collection of indie eateries in the High Country area that work together to promote independent local restaurants around the area. This year, the organization will host the second annual High Country Small Plate Crawl, which will showcase everything that the independent restaurants have to offer, portioned out just right.
“The appeal is that you don’t have to sit down for an entire meal, you can pick new things to try and we like to showcase things on this smaller scale,” said Ronald Dhing of Makoto’s Restaurant.
“It’s a three day event, so there’s plenty of time to go restaurant hopping!”
The Small Plate Crawl gives restaurant lovers a unique opportunity to try out many restaurants they have always wanted to try, and sample different fares from their favorites, without having to break the bank, or your belt. On Sept. 3-5, each restaurant will offer up a small plate menu priced between $3 and $8, which will allow guests to sample from many different eateries over the days of the crawl.
“It really opens the doors for people to go outside of what they know and try something different,” said Rick Pedroni of Casa Rustica in Boone.
“It also gives a lot of restaurants an opportunity to showcase what their chefs can do!”
Perfect for college kids on a budget, savvy restaurant lovers who want a little taste of everything, or someone just looking for an excuse to hit all the best spots in town, the Small Plate Crawl has something for everyone.
Let your Small Plate Crawl Passport be your guide. This handy passport has all of the information crawl-goers will need to find their restaurants, find out the times they are open, and even allows for validation by each of the restaurants, so you can enter your passport in a drawing for tons of fun prizes.
“Each restaurant has a unique hole punch for the passports,” said Laura Huff, who started doing Small Plate Crawls in Hendersonville in 2009 and now helps to host them all over the state.
New restaurants are still being added, but as of press time, the participating restaurants include the following:
- 1861 Farmhouse
- Pepper’s Restaurant and Bar
- The Red Onion Cafe
- Simplicity at the Mast Farm Inn
- Boone Bagelry
- Vidalia Restaurant and Wine Bar
- TApp Room
- Yosefa AntiquiTEA
- Casa Rustica
- The Table at Crestwood
- Town Tavern
- Joy Bistro
The event will go on rain or shine, so come hungry and remember to bring your passport. To be eligible for the prize drawings, you must have 5 completed passport validations to show that you have been to five restaurants during the crawl. Including a restaurant outside of Boone and Blowing Rock in your count of five completed restaurants will double your chances of winning a prize in the drawing.
So far, the prizes are $25 gift cards to the following restaurants:
- Joy Bistro
- Town Tavern
- 1861 Farmhouse
Of course groups and sharing are okay, you wouldn’t want to get full up before you got the change to try as many restaurants as possible!
“This is a great opportunity to go into high end restaurants to sample things that you may not have been able to afford, but at the Small Plate Crawl, you can!” Huff said.
There are no tickets to purchase, just the small plates that you want to enjoy.
Although you don’t have to purchase anything but the small plates, tipping the servers is still encouraged. After all, they work just as hard whether the plates are large or small!
New participating restaurants will be added up until the week of the crawl, so keep checking back to see if your favorite has been added, or maybe a restaurant that you’ve always wanted to sink your teeth into.
Some of the veterans of the Small Plate Crawl are tweaking their approach to better serve their customers.
“This year we are expanding our menu to include not just small portions of things on our regular menu but also new, fun inventive things as well,” said Gary Claude of Joy Bistro in Boone.
“It gives our chef a chance to be inventive.”
Last year’s Small Plate Crawl was a huge success, and this year the restaurants are anticipating that it will be even bigger. For restaurants participating for the first time, its an exciting way to introduce themselves to the community.
“This is the first year that The 1861 Farmhouse will participate in Small Plate Crawl. We are excited to be one of several restaurants in the Valle Crucis area to be participating,” said Alison Garrett of 1861 Farmhouse.
“Because Valle Crucis is ‘off the beaten path,’ many people don’t think of it when they are considering their dining destinations – they just automatically go to Boone, or Blowing Rock. But there is some really wonderful food here in the Valle, being produced by talented chef teams. I think that Small Plate Crawls will get people thinking about other choices that are available to them, and introduce them to great, locally-grown food served in the unparalleled setting of peaceful views and ambiance found only in Valle Crucis.”
For more information, click here, or stay tuned for more information about the restaurants and what they will offer during this year’s second annual Small Plate Crawl.