Taste of Avery
Life in the High Country is good enough to eat.
Beautiful scenery and outdoor activities aside, the area's many restaurants make this more than just a sentiment.
Dining is a draw, a fact appreciated by Julia Heinlein and the Avery County Chamber of Commerce.
Heinlein, owner of Antler Realty in Banner Elk, serves on the Avery chamber's board of directors and decided to cook up its most delicious fundraiser yet - Taste of Avery.
Serving as a fundraiser for the chamber, the culinary show brings more than a dozen Avery restaurants to the Best Western Mountain Lodge on May 27, where visitors can sample the eateries' most creative concoctions and, afterward, work off those calories with a DJ dance party.
"One of the biggest attractions in the High Country is our fabulous restaurants," Heinlein said. "By having a culinary show, everyone gets to sample the many great restaurants we have here."
Participating restaurants include Zuzda, Bayou Smokehouse and Grill, Bella's Neighborhood Italian Restaurant, Subway, Nick's Restaurant and Pub, Sorrento's Bistro, Puerto Nuevo, Carolina Barbeque, Evergreens, Linda's Kitchen Delights, The Ugly Mugg Coffee and Creamery, and Painted Fish Café.
Best Western Mountain Lodge is donating use of its ballroom for the event and will also offer a cash bar.
If this inaugural event proves successful, Heinlein said it could become an annual event.
"Everybody loves food," she said. "I've never met anyone who doesn't get excited about food."
That includes residents and tourists, alike, and Heinlein's hoping the tasting will fit perfectly with Memorial Day weekend.
"I always thought there's nothing going on here Memorial Day weekend, so let's do something fun," she said, "and anybody can come."
Taste of Avery happens Friday, May 27, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., with the dance party starting at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
"Where else could you possibly go and sample a dozen restaurants in one night for 20 bucks?" Heinlein said.
For more information, or to purchase advance tickets, call the Avery County Chamber of Commerce at (828) 898-5605. The Best Western Mountain Lodge is located at 1615 Tynecastle Highway in Banner Elk.