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Megan Carmody & Black Cat Burrito Serve Up Same Ethos It Opened With 15 Years Ago

Black Cat owner Megan Carmody (second from right) poses with staff members in the restaurant. Photo by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

Black Cat celebrates its 15th anniversary this October, and while the business has obviously evolved over the years, the restaurant and bar’s ethos hasn’t changed since it opened on Depot Street in downtown Boone in the fall of 2000.

“Well, one thing I’ve always said is ‘pick something and do it well. We are not trying to be everything to everyone,” Black Cat owner Megan Carmody said. “Besides menu changes here and there, we’re pretty much sticking to our guns.”

And that’s making awesome burritos, enchiladas and tacos and serving up great brews at the bar, which is located somewhat under the level of Depot Street. That underground atmosphere and all the stickers stuck to the beer coolers over the years contribute to the “slightly divey” feel of the restaurant – that and some of the most epic concerts featuring independent (i.e., underground) artists in the past 15 years that Boone has seen.

“It’s pretty awesome [to turn 15]. Some days it feels like it’s been 20 years and some days it feels like we opened just yesterday,” Carmody said. “It’s been great being a part of this community for the past 15 years. We’ve had a blast.”

Being in a college town and the county seat, Carmody has seen a diverse clientele from college students to lawyers stopping by for a fresh bite to eat or a cold beer to drink. She’s also seen a fair amount of employees walk through the doors over the years.

Carmody said that kids who were spring chickens when they first arrived to Boone and decided to work at Black Cat are now in their 30’s and all grown up with families of their own. And they are prone to come back and visit with Carmody.

Just this past weekend, a former employee who used to work at Black Cat for seven years when going to school and living in Boone returned to help Carmody update the menu. This person is a chef on the coast who was supposed to be on vacation but chose to help Carmody in Boone because, as she recounted the story, “This place means the world to me.”

“That was just awesome,” Carmody said.

As for the menu updates, Carmody added a rotation of six to eight tacos, added a nachos special and brought in a new burrito after eliminating two. Carmody noted that every sauce and every salsa and guacamole are made in house everyday. All of its vegetables are fresh.

“Nothing is frozen,” Carmody said, adding that they even shuck their own corn before preparing it for dishes. Unlike some unnamed restaurant chains that have moved into town in the past year or so, every meal is made fresh to order.

“You are not going down the line,” Carmody said.

Bringing back an old tradition, Black Cat will also begin serving margaritas at the beginning of the New Year.

This past spring, Black Cat Burrito also received somewhat of a facelift. Carmody got rid of the stage and installed a new bar area to mix it up a little bit. There really isn’t much space for extensive remodeling.

But other than that – paint color changes, minor renovations and menu updates here and there – it’s still the same ole burrito joint that I ate during my freshman year at App State in 2000.

That’s something that Carmody appreciates.

For more information, contact Black Cat at 828-263-9511 or click to http://blackcatburrito.com. Black Cat is located at 127 South Depot Street.