June 11, 2014. Over Yonder is a new destination restaurant in Valle Crucis near Blowing Rock, Boone, Banner Elk and Linville in the High Country mountains. Designed, owned and managed by the award-winning Mast Farm Inn, Over Yonder restaurant tells the story of historic Appalachian cuisine in a picturesque setting atop the rolling hills and peaks of Valle Crucis and is located across from the original Mast General Store and a few yards from the Mast Farm Inn.
The restaurant is the latest initiative by the owners of the award-winning historic Mast Farm Inn and Chef Andrew Long, now also a partner at the Mast Farm Inn. Chef Andrew Long has for years created a following of enthusiastic diners in the High Country.
Over Yonder opened on Tuesday, June 3 and serves lunch and early supper Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from noon-7 p.m.
Over Yonder resides in the “Hard” Taylor House built by Henry Taylor in 1861 with hickory and hemlock milled directly from his own land. On entering the building, the two rooms on the left showcase the brick that Henry crafted by hand from his own brickyard. Henry’s son Thomas Hardester “Hard” Taylor expanded the house around 1895 adding amenities such as indoor plumbing and a closet in every bedroom, otherwise unheard of in Valle Crucis at that time.
The Hard Taylor House also played an important role in the community, serving as the post office until it later moved across the street to the Original Mast General Store where it resides today. Hard Taylor and his wife Vicki served as postmasters until 1928 and their original certificates naming them to their positions are still hanging on the wall near the entryway.
A new chapter begins in the Hard Taylor House as it is transformed by The Mast Farm Inn and Chef Andrew Long. Long welcomes the opportunity to expand his culinary vision with the new outlet, but faithful fans of the Mast Farm Inn need not worry, he remains the executive chef and in the kitchen of the Inn’s restaurant, Simplicity.
“We are ecstatic about the potential of Over Yonder as the perfect setting to really pay homage to the Southern traditions of our little pocket of Appalachia,” said Long. “We will continue the theme that we present at Simplicity: local, ingredient-driven cuisine and garden-based cooking, it will just be on a more casual level. Think grits and soup beans, potlikker and chow chow.”
Luke Taylor, a veteran of local establishments Bistro Roca and Crippen’s Restaurant as well as Long’s sous-chef at Simplicity will helm the kitchen at Over Yonder.
“You won’t find a chef around here that has the respect for traditional Southern food that Luke has,” Long said. “He’s a true statement of our craft, always preserving the past with techniques of the present.”
Over Yonder features a large, wrap-around porch with stunning views of the valley and a large back porch where diners can relax near the pond and the large organic garden, designed and managed by Long’s wife Megan, who also manages the micro farm at the Mast Farm Inn.
“We’ve always had great relationships with our local farmers,” said Long. “And now we have two amazing gardens from which we can pull fresh homegrown foods.”
In keeping with the theme of historic Appalachian dining, the garden at Over Yonder will produce fresh vegetables that will be used for pickling and chow chow, featured on the restaurant’s burger and pimento cheese dish, respectively.
“It surprises some folks when I tell them a lifelong dream of mine has been to have a restaurant with a seriously amazing cheeseburger,” said Long. “But details matter in cooking as they do all things, and it’s the details that make a great burger.”
The Valle cheeseburger features dry aged pastured beef, local hoop cheese, house made pickles and mayo and fresh cut ribbon fries tossed in pork fat, rosemary and sea salt.
Asked if there are any other concepts developing for the Mast Farm Inn, Long chuckles, “Definitely. But we think baby steps are best when it comes to opening restaurants. For now we just want to focus on amazing casual lunches at Over Yonder and exceptional fine dining at The Mast Farm Inn.”
Check out the menu: