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Trout & Barrel Opens in High Country, Offers Great Beer, Food & ‘Biggest Stage in Town’


Trout & Barrel owners Jonathan Proctor and Mike Self. Photos by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

When Jonathan Proctor and Mike Self decided to open Trout and Barrel, they primarily thought of the establishment as a great bar with a big stage for live musical performances.

“Damn if the food didn’t overshadow it,” Proctor said of his unique, farm-to-table fare – such as the signature dishes, trout wings and the 16-hour smoked brisket, that has quickly become the talk of the town.

Located at the corner of N.C. 105 and N.C. 105 Bypass, Trout and Barrel, which opened in April, has 20 locally crafted beers on tap and more than 50 beers – craft, domestic and international brews – for customers to enjoy from the bottle or can. It also serves liquor.

The rustic-looking interior of the restaurant and bar features handcrafted maple-wood bars that Proctor and Self built and mason jar lights than hang over the bar. There is quite a bit of barn wood and wormy chestnut wood that lines the interior and plenty of old signs that add to the character of Trout and Barrel.

Around 4,500 square feet, Trout and Barrel has plenty of handcrafted, non-bar seating that in a spacious setting never feels as if you are sitting on top of someone. The stage tucked on side of the bar is perfect for a solo acoustic act or more of a rockin’ band with several members and a van of equipment.

“I know we have the longest bar, best beer and biggest stage of anybody in town,” Proctor added.

One of the nice maple slabs that Proctor and Self built. These add to the rustic charm of Trout and Barrel.

In addition to all of that, Trout and Barrel has an outside patio with a view of the gorgeous sunsets in the High Country, and by the time the sun goes down, there is a stone fireplace ready to be stoked to keep the patrons warm outside.

Splitting days running the restaurant and bar, Proctor and Self both went to Appalachian State University. Self lives in Boone, and Proctor, who is a Watauga County native, lives in the High Country. Proctor, who owned several Huddle Houses and Truby’s in Virginia and Tennessee, has plenty of experience in the restaurant industry.

But he didn’t come from the restaurant industry before starting Trout and Barrel with Self. He was a pilot. He flew for Piedmont Airlines and FedEx feeder for about 12 years.

With Proctor married to Tina and their children Jack, Browning, Devan and Dustin, the pilot lifestyle of being away from home and the family wasn’t exactly what Proctor wanted at this stage in his life.

So, he decided to open a bar in his hometown – and that bar became the family-friendly Trout and Barrel. But, like he said, the food part of the business kind of took off. Proctor said that lunch and dinner has been popular and folks then hang around a little longer to have a drink or three. Anthony Burton is the master chef at the establishment.

Proctor described the cuisine as in keeping with the farm-to-table concept, sourcing as much ingredients from the High Country and North Carolina as much as possible.

For example, the trout comes from Sunburst Trout Farms in Haywood County and arrives not frozen every single day. The catfish, pork and sausage are also made in the state, and Trout and Barrel also features Watauga County ham, local greens and duck breasts from Ashley Farms in Asheville.

Trout & Barrel also caters. For instance, last week it catered a oyster roast and BBQ for a High Country Home Builders Association function.

As for the music, live local and regional bands are featured on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For June, each Tuesday features Klee Liles and Don Vallarta from 5:30 to 8:30.

Here’s the rest of June’s music lineup at Trout and Barrel:

  • June 11 – Dawn Kuhn Duo (5:30 p.m.)
  • June 12 – Don Vallarta (5:30 p.m.); Youngest Son (10 p.m.)
  • June 13 – The Mountain Laurels (6:30 p.m.)
  • June 19 – The Caribbean Cowboys (5:30 p.m.)
  • June 25 – Danny Whittington & Friends (5:30 p.m.)
  • June 26 – Klee & Mike Show (5:30 p.m.); Adam Church (10 p.m.)
  • June 27 – Dub Axxess Reggae (9:30 p.m.)

Trout and Barrel is located at 2968 N.C. 105 in Boone. Its phone number is 828-386-1457; its Facebook page can be reached here; and its website here.












Master Chef Anthony Burton