11 Best Restaurants Near River Arts District Asheville NC

September 19, 2023

Looking for the best restaurants near River Arts District Asheville NC? You’ve landed on the right page. I’ve got you covered from 100% vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants to breweries, coffee shops, and the best plant-based pizza!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide a small commission to me at no cost to you if you decide to make a purchase. You can read more in my disclaimer here

Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville’s river arts district sits in a perfect location between downtown Asheville and the French Broad River Greenway. It’s a vibrant community driven by local artists and graffiti artists showcasing their original artwork. 

This eclectic neighborhood has evolved from its industrial roots into a thriving hub of artistic innovation and cultural vitality. 

The district is a mix of former factories, mills, and warehouses. All of which have transformed into an awe-inspiring community of art studios, galleries, shops, and popular restaurants. 

As you stroll through the streets you’ll find many of the buildings brightly painted with murals that create a colorful and welcoming atmosphere. 

The River Arts District not only showcases the talents of local and visiting artists but also fosters a sense of community and collaboration. It’s communities like this that continue to fuel Asheville’s reputation as a dynamic and artistic gathering place.

So if you’re ready to treat yourself to good local food, the Asheville River Arts District will soon become your new favorite place to hang! 


Plant is a vegan restaurant known for its creative, flavorful, food made from scratch using carefully selected ingredients from the earth. 

Meals are 100% plant-based, locally sourced, and predominantly use organic ingredients from local farmers. They are also mostly gluten-free. 

Every dish reflects a multicultural influence and features vegetables, spices, and styles that inspire the chefs to serve deliciously good food. Whether you’re vegan or not, you’re sure to enjoy your experience at Plant.

The menu changes seasonally, but you can always expect to find a variety of creative and delicious harm-free meals. 

Some of their most popular dishes include:

  • Miso Eggplant Dumplings
  • Truffle Mac and Cheese
  • Crispy Brussels Sprouts
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Plant also offers a full bar with a variety of craft beers, biodynamic wines, and cocktails.

The restaurant is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The staff is knowledgeable about the menu and can help you choose the perfect dish. The restaurant is also kid-friendly, with a dedicated children’s menu.

If you’re looking for a delicious and unique vegan dining experience in Asheville, Plant is the perfect place for you.

Address: 165 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Hours: Open for dinner Wed, Thurs, Sun from 5-9 pm / Fri and Sat from 5-10 pm. Closed Mon and Tues.

Pulp + Sprout Juice Bar and Vegan Cafe

Pulp + Sprout Juice Bar and Vegan Cafe offers fresh, organic juices, smoothies, and vegan dishes. And while it’s not a full-blown restaurant, they provide great service and delicious meal options. 

And during the warmer months, their smoothies and juices hit the spot! The restaurant is also a great place to find vegan desserts and baked goods.

Some of the healthy and delicious options you can expect are:

  • Acai bowls
  • Smoothies
  • Juices
  • Sandwiches
  • Salads

Address: 233 S Liberty St, Asheville, NC 28801

Hours: Open Wed through Mon, 9-4 pm / Closed on Tuesday

The Trashy Vegan

The Trashy Vegan in West Asheville is a vegan ‘fast food’ local favorite. The former food truck turned brick-and-mortar is a 5-star eatery for good reason. Locals rave over their delicious and creative vegan burgers, as well as their friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

In addition to the ‘burgers’, the menu includes ‘chick’n’ sandwiches, and a wide variety of fries, and desserts. The typical fast-food options but veganized and cruelty-free. 

There also offer a weekly rotating special as well as alcoholic beverages. 

Address: 697 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
Hours: Open Fri through Tues from 3-8 pm / Closed Wednesday and Thursday

Vegan Food Trucks

The Smokin’ Onion 

The Smokin’ Onion is a vegan food truck located near the north carolina glass center in the arts district. The food truck offers delicious animal-free comfort food and a friendly and inviting atmosphere. 

Gluten-free options are also available and have their own menu along with one for the kiddos. 

In addition to the arts district, The Smokin’ Onion is located at different spots around Asheville throughout the week. You can find their schedule on their website or social media

Some of their popular menu items include:

  • Fried Pickles
  • Fried Brussels tossed w/ Sweet & Smoky Mustard
  • Hand-cut Fries w/ Smoked Onions
  • Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
  • Fruit infused water

Gift cards are also available and make a perfect gift for friends, family, or even co-workers.

Address: Mobile food truck 
Hours: Open Mon, 4-9 pm; Tues, 12-8 pm; Thurs, 2-8 pm; Sat, 12-8 pm / Closed on Wed, Fri, Sun

ZenBurgers Love Shack

For the best burger in Asheville, you’ll have to make your way to ZenBurgers Love Shack to try their “can’t tell it’s vegan” burgers!

ZenBurgers Love Shack is a vegan food truck that takes pride in its “soil to fork” concept menu creations. I love that they are heart-centered in the environment with a mission to inspire a better future for all. 

Their outdoor eating area is beyond welcoming offering a tranquil, garden setting with all the vibes. 

On the menu, you’ll find delicious plant-powered options with minimal processing and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. 

Some of their addicting menu options include:

  • Zen “Daddy” Mac
  • Maui Wowi – Thai Coconut Burger
  • BBQ Euphoria
  • Heaven on Earth Thai Lettuce Wraps
  • Zen Ball Panini
  • Taco Platters and much more!

If you’re looking for great food with a high-vibing, compassionate, earthly kind of vibe, ZenBurgers is a great place to stop. 

Address: 227 S Liberty St, Asheville, NC 28801
Hours: Open Wed-Mon from 11:30-6 pm / Closed on Tuesday 

Vegan-Friendly Restaurants 

Rosetta’s Kitchen & Buchi Bar

Rosetta’s Kitchen is a popular healthy vegan and vegetarian restaurant in the River Arts District. It’s known for its comfort food dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. 

Their Buchi Bar is a full-service bar specializing in Buchi Kombucha cocktails. Additionally, they offer a variety of craft beers, wines, cocktails, and other drinks including elixirs, ciders, and spirits. 

The bar is located downstairs giving you the option to dine in, grab a drink, and relax in their outdoor seating. 

The menu features a variety of dishes, such as:

  • Sweet Potato Hash
  • Vegan Mac and Cheese
  • Crispy Tofu Sandwich
  • Black Bean Burgers

Rosetta’s Kitchen is a great place to go for a casual meal with friends or family. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is laid back and relaxing. 

Address: 68 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Hours: Open Mon through Sun from 12-9 pm

Laughing Seed Cafe 

Laughing Seed Cafe is a highly-rated Asheville restaurant known as “Asheville’s finest.” They offer organic, local, and farm-to-table vegetarian and vegan cuisine with an international flair. 

The restaurant has been in business since 1991 and shows no signs of stopping. It’s one of the original businesses that spearheaded the downtown Asheville Renaissance.

Here are some of the delicious options on the menu:  

  • Crispy Brussels
  • Oyster Mushroom Grit Cake
  • Buffalo Tacos
  • Banh Mi
  • Risotto Verano

And so many more amazing options including alcoholic beverages and specialty cocktails. 

Address: 40 Wall St, Asheville, NC 28801

Hours: Open Mon, Thurs, and Sun from 11:30-8 pm; Fri and Sat from 11:30-9 pm / Closed Tuesday & Wednesday

Early Girl Eatery

Early Girl Eatery is a vegan-friendly restaurant with locations near the river arts district, downtown Asheville, and south Asheville. They also just recently opened a location in Southend Charlotte

The restaurant has been in business since 2001 and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Their dishes are made with high-quality, organic, and fresh local ingredients making delicious farm-to-table meals. 

Some popular meal options include:

  • Organic Tofu Scramble Breakfast
  • Banana Quick Bread Toast
  • Shroomie Garden Sandwich

And plenty of delicious sides to choose from!

It’s a great place to stop for Sunday brunch or anytime with options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all day long. Indoor and outdoor seating is available if you want to stop in and enjoy a mimosa, bloody mary, or bevarage of choice. 

Address: 8 Wall St, Asheville, NC 28801
Hours: Open Mon through Sun from 8-8 pm

Tupelo Honey  

With a location in downtown and South Asheville, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar is a ‘scratch-made’ Southern cuisine restaurant with a modern twist. They are known for their good food, friendly service, and lively atmosphere. 

The restaurant is not 100% vegan, but they do offer a few vegan options on the menu. From my experience, they are also always willing to customize any dish upon request. 

Some menu favorites include: 

  • Blistered Shishito Peppers
  • House Salad
  • Vegetable Plate
  • Black Bean Burger

Not my top pick for vegan food but it does have good service and good vibes. 

Address: 12 College St, Asheville, NC 28801
Hours: Open Mon through Thurs from 9-9 pm; Fri and Sat from 9-10 pm 

All Souls Pizza

All Souls Pizza is a vegan-friendly pizzeria serving up wood-fired pizzas, salads, and desserts using fresh, local ingredients.

Alcoholic beverages are also on tap at Souls Pizza. 

Additionally, they offer an outdoor patio with picnic tables boasting a chill vibe if you prefer to sit outside. 

Not too many vegan options on their menu, more so vegetarian. However, the bibb salad is really good and they offer a vegan pizza option as well. 

If you see something you like, they are more than willing to customize it to your preference. 

Address: 175 Clingman Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Hours: Open Wed through Sun from 4:30-9 pm / Closed Monday and Tuesday

South Slope Brewing District

The South Slope Brewing District is a revitalized industrial area in Asheville offering a food scene, local brews, live music, and more. The area is home to over 10 craft breweries, a cidery, a distillery, and a number of colorful murals, which add to its vibrant atmosphere

It is also located within walking distance of the River Arts District. 

In addition to breweries, the South Slope Brewing District is also home to a number of other businesses, including art galleries, shops, and restaurants. 

Asheville Pizza & Brewing

Asheville Pizza & Brewing is the vegan pizza hot spot in Asheville and offers good beer options to go with it if you want to pop a top! They have a location in North and South Asheville and downtown South Slope. 

You can either try their signature vegan pizza, ‘Lawn Boy’ with all plant-based fixin’s or you have the option to build your own. They use Daiya for the vegan cheese. Definitely, a must-stop if you want to get your vegan pizza fix!

Address: 77 Coxe Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Hours: Open Thurs, 4-9 pm; Fri and Sat, 12-10 pm; Sun, 1-7 pm / Closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

More Best Places For Food & Drinks Near The River Arts District

With so much to offer, the River Arts District has become quite the happening place. 

It’s a central tourist attraction and local hot spot that continues to grow and evolve. From entertainment to local restaurants, open studios, coffee shops, and breweries, it’s definitely a must-visit. 

Below are some more options to explore including tea and coffee shops, breweries, and the RAD farmers market!

Best Coffee Shops Near the River Arts District

  • Green Sage Cafe – 5 Broadway St, Asheville, NC 28801 
  • Dobra Tea – 78 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 
  • Odds Cafe  800 Haywood Rd Suite A-110, Asheville, NC 28806
  • Summit Coffee Asheville – 4 Foundy Street #20, Asheville, NC 28801
  • Penny Cup Coffee Co. – 362 Depot St, Asheville, NC 28801 (Coffee roaster)
  • Ultra Coffeebar – 242 Clingman Ave Ext, Asheville, NC 28801 
  • Grind AVL – 346 Depot St, Asheville, NC 28801

River Arts District Breweries

  • Wedge Brewing Company at Wedge Studios – 37 Paynes Way, Asheville, NC 28801
  • Wedge Brewery at Foundation – 5 Foundy St #10, Asheville, NC 28801
  • Hi Wire Brewing RAD Beer Garden – 284 Lyman St, Asheville, NC 28801
  • River Arts District Brewing – 13 Mystery St, Asheville, NC 28801 (Opened in May 2023)  
  • Zillicoah Beer Co. – 870 Riverside Drive, Woodfin, NC 28804
  • New Belgium Brewing Company – 21 Craven St, Asheville, NC 28806
  • Ginger’s Revenge – 829 Riverside Drive #100, Asheville, NC 28801 (Offers gluten-free beer)

River Arts District Farmers Market

The RAD Farmers Market is held at Smoky Park Supper Club and is open weekly all year round. It’s a non-profit market with over 70 vendors selling fresh local produce, baked goods, flowers, crafts, and more. 

Here you’ll also find live music and food trucks, making it a great place to spend an afternoon.

The RAD farmers market is an easy access from the Wilma Dykeman Greenway if you choose to bike or walk. There is also plenty of parking along Riverside Drive. 

The River Arts District is located 10 minutes from the eco-friendly Omni Grove Park Inn and about 8 minutes from the Biltmore Estate.

FAQs about the River Arts District in Asheville

Where is the best place to park in the River Arts District in Asheville NC?

Both Riverview Station at 191 Lyman Street and St. Claire Art at 344 Depot Street are great places to park. Both locations offer ample parking. 

Is the River Arts District in Asheville dog friendly?

The district is “pet friendly.” As long as your animal companion is well-behaved and on a leash, you can bring him/her along with you. 

Can I take pictures in the artist studios and galleries?

It’s not recommended to start snapping shots as soon as you walk into an art studio or gallery out of respect for the artist. However, I would recommend asking the studio or gallery. Some may be okay with it as long as you credit their work if you plan on sharing it. 

How do you spend a day in Asheville River Arts District?

Nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina, there are plenty of things to do in the River Arts District. It’s a perfect location for all kinds of outdoor activities, dining, entertainment, breweries, etc. 

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Sandra Campillo

Sandra Campillo is an eco, vegan lifestyle and travel blogger and entrepreneur. Join Sandra and her community of readers on SandraCampillo.com to learn how to live a healthier, more sustainable, and compassionate way of life while creating a passive income lifestyle.

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