The highly-anticipated Rhubarb restaurant in Asheville has opened in the heart of downtown on historic Pack Square. It’s definitely a comfortable place for friends, families and strangers to enjoy good times and a menu inspired by seasonal, local ingredients. Owner Chef John Fleer pays homage to the bounty of regional and American cooking, with an open kitchen featuring a wood-fired oven and grill.
The menu changes frequently, taking advantage of available local and seasonal ingredients. Compose a tapas-style meal of a wide selection of tasty snacks, savory and sweet, or progress from appetizers to a hearty entrée and finish with a sweet treat by Pastry Chef Ashley Capps. Wines are entirely from wineries that use ecologically sustainable practices, and the cozy bar pays tribute to the inventiveness of the early 20th century cocktail culture.
Chef John Fleer, a three-time James Beard nominee for Best Chef Southeast, strikes an informal, nostalgic and sometimes playful chord with familiar foods designed to nourish and excite. Rhubard is open for lunch and dinner and located at 7 SW Pack Square. For reservations, call 828-785-1503.
Here are some photos of our wonderful visit this weekend (click on one image to start a slide show):
More About Chef Fleer:
Chef Fleer transforms local ingredients into world-class dishes. His unique “foothills cuisine” established at Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm wandered the line between refined and rugged, fancy and familiar. It focused on interpreting the regional larder through classical and traditional techniques, eventually catapulting the resort to the honor of Relais Gourmand. Under Fleer’s leadership, the Tennessee destination was honored by Zagat Survey in 2003 and 2004 as #1 Small Hotel in America and #2 Hotel Dining in America.
Inspired by the “culture of food” he experienced in Venice while a Religion and Philosophy major at Duke University, John began his culinary career humbly, working in kitchens as a way to pay for graduate school in Religion and Culture at UNC. His passion ignited, Fleer enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America.
Following a fellowship at one of the CIA’s restaurants and a stint as personal chef to Mary Tyler Moore, Fleer joined Blackberry Farm, where he served as Executive Chef from 1992 until 2007.
In May of 2009, John took his first step back across the Blue Ridge from Tennessee, opening Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers, NC. Fleer’s food here is enhanced by one of the most beautiful restaurant settings in the country, sitting at the foot of the largest box canyon in the United States.
Chef Fleer has served on various boards, most importantly as a member of the Board of Directors for the Southern Foodways Allliance from 2003 until 2009. Rhubarb is the next step in Fleer’s journey; he hopes to bring the relaxed atmosphere of his previous pastoral posts to Pack Square, broadening his approach with a freestyle American cuisine well suited for its location at Asheville’s vibrant crossroad.
See more of our favorite Asheville NC restaurants.