By Elly Murray
Local Banner Elk favorite the Bayou Smokehouse and Grill, and the adjacent Bayou General Store have a lot of events and deals for their patrons happening that you should check out!
First up, they host their Concerts in the Courtyard every Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m., a good excuse to take a weeknight off and relax. Winston Ammann, one of the owners of the Bayou General Store, says that, “We’ve been here for 15 years, and we may have been doing the summer concerts for that long. It’s something that everyone enjoys. There’s not a cover charge for it, people don’t have to come in and buy dinner or anything like that…It’s open to anybody who wants to come listen, and everybody really enjoys it. There are a lot of the local bands that are very popular, and everybody knows their playlists, so you have a lot of singalongs going on Tuesday nights. It’s a lot of fun.”
This Tuesday they have Rastacoustic performing, an upbeat band that combines reggae music and Appalachian folk. Ammann says that, “It’s a local musician, Peter Brown, and he’s teamed up with (Justin Butler)……and Peter’s always been popular as a solo act. Rastacoustic is something that’s new this year, and we’re just looking forward to seeing what they’re creating with their different sound.”
An outdoor dining space and plastic lawn chairs have been set up by Bayou, but you may want to bring a blanket just in case they run out of space. Free, on street parking is provided, and food and beverages are available for purchase from the restaurant.
Speaking of beverages, the Bayou Smokehouse and Grill offers a little deal every Wednesday; wine by the glass at half price. This little deal has been going on since they opened the restaurant in 2003, but an even more exciting deal is their Wine Amnesty. This is everyday when the Bayou General Store is open, and has been going on since the store opened in 2006. Ammann says that, “We also offer wine amnesty every single day, whenever the Bayou general store is open….We have a little general store that is attached and adjacent to the restaurant…Well, because the wine is here and because we’re actually part of the restaurant, and because I hate paying four times the price for a bottle of wine when I go out to eat dinner, once we opened the store we decided to offer wine amnesty whenever the store is open.”
Ammann explains that, “any of our guests who are dining downstairs in the restaurant can come up into the store, select any bottle of wine, and then we’ll take that bottle of wine and put it on their meal ticket at just the store shelf price. There’s not going to be a cork fee, there’s not going to be any kind of upcharge; it’s the same that you would pay if you were just buying it in the store and walking out the door with it.”
She also says that, “The best part of this is, if you don’t finish the wine, you can simply take it with you. So it’s a very cost effective way to give the guests a much broader range of bottled wine to choose from; they can come up into the store and pick exactly what they want. We always listen to our customers up here in the store, so if I see the same people over and over again, which I often do, and they’re looking for specific wine, I don’t have a problem stocking it for them. Makes them happy, makes me happy, gives us good product to sell, so it’s kind of a win-win situation for everybody.”
Another neat little thing that the restaurant offers is fried chicken every Thursday. Ammann says that this is kind of a big deal because, “I think we’re probably one of the only places in town that offers dine-in fried chicken, and that’s every Thursday from open to close. Because otherwise you’ve got to go into Boone to find fried chicken. And this goes along nicely with the Banner Elk Concerts in the Park; we have a lot of guests who will stop by here and get fried chicken to go and take it over to the concerts, as well as beer and wine.”
One of the best policies of the Bayou store is their dog policy. Ammann is happy to say that, “We’re very dog friendly. So if folks want to come and dine on the deck, as long as they are other dog and child friendly….We even have our own set of dog bowls, so all the dogs get fresh water when they come in. And the dogs are also allowed in the Bayou general store, since that is not accessed by the Bayou Restaurant kitchen.”
The people at Bayou Smokehouse and the Bayou General Store are well known for being incredible animal supporters and protectors. Ammann says that, “We often sponsor dogs at Avery Humane (Society)…we will give Avery Humane several hundred dollars and say, ‘This is for this animal’s care, we want to make sure nothing happens to this animal and that the animal gets the medical assistance’.”
Ammann also says that, “if you’re ever in here, you’ll see that people sign dollar bills and stick them up all through the bar. It’s kind of like a ‘Kilroy was here’ type of thing, and it tickles people to see their money when they come back the next year. But every now and then we will take all of those dollar bills down and that always gets donated to Avery Humane as well. So if anybody ever comes in and their dollar’s not here, it’s because it went to take care of some animals.”
She really enjoys how much her store supports and protects animals, and she says, “We love them, and we try to look out for them. It’s the least you can do.”
The Bayou Smokehouse and Grill and the Bayou General Store are hosting all of these incredible deals and events, so be sure to check out a few of them!
The Bayou Smokehouse and Grill and the Bayou General Store are located on East Main Street in Banner Elk. For more information on these two establishments, please visit http://bayousmokehouse.com/#about-us