Town Tavern opens in Boone

Article Published: Nov. 12, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Town Tavern opens in Boone

Justin Davis and Chris Spillman hope to serve up success at the Town Tavern, a new bar and restaurant on Faculty Street in Boone.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

It's not the place where everybody knows your name. Yet.

The Town Tavern has opened on Faculty Street in Boone, serving top-shelf drinks and top-notch food in a comfortable atmosphere.

Helmed by owner Chris Spillman and general manager Justin Davis, the tavern is located in what was formerly Burrito Fresh Express, better known as the Mile-High Sub space.

Spillman, also a building contractor, gutted nearly the entire space to completely renovate, rendering it almost unrecognizable from its previous incarnations.

"We thought this side of town needed a place like this, and it's something for the whole town of Boone," Davis said.

The result is a tavern that, even in its infancy, has garnered repeat business and a slate of regulars.

The Town Tavern opened Oct. 7, just before Appalachian State University's homecoming, and Spillman and Davis were happy with the results.

"There wasn't a seat in the house all day Saturday, and everybody pulled together, so we did real well," Davis said. "We got good feedback from our customers, and we've already had repeat business."

With 32 bottled beers, ranging from domestics to imports to crafts, and four standards on draft, a full bar selection, and wine from Sutter Home, Davis said the bar aims to please.

"Cold beer is not just a trite term - it's a necessity," said Spillman, who takes particular pride in the tavern's food menu.

"If you look around town, there are successful restaurants in Boone," Spillman said. "We tried to figure out what we needed to do to be a successful restaurant."

This didn't necessarily entail the high-end avenue, but rather the affordable and quick path, but by no means hasty. When it comes to ingredients, Spillman spares no expense, guaranteeing the utmost quality with each meal.

"Lots of people helped develop the menu, like wings, burgers, nachos and hot dogs - if we're going to do these items, what do we do to have the best?" he said.

He found the answer from the area's foremost master chefs. For instance, the jumbo wings are roasted in their natural juices to maintain the chicken's flavor. "When they come out of the oven, they're good and firm - not soggy - and we rapid chill it. Then we flash-fry them to order and use the highest-end sauces available in the American marketplace. I don't want a good wing; I want the best wings."

The wings come with a diner's choice from eight sauces, including teriyaki garlic, Sweet Baby Ray's Original BBQ, Thai Red Chili, Sriracha Asian Fire and Super Hot Habanero.

Kitchen staff members continuously work on new recipes, with all involved sampling the fare before giving it the OK. "If it hits your plate, we've taste-tested it 20 times," Spillman said.

Acknowledging the tavern's proximity to Appalachian State University, Spillman and Davis devised a menu that caters to not only to students, but the entire town.

Appetizers include homemade chips and salsa, made with green chiles and three types of tomato, and homemade four-cheese Baja queso, comprised of cheddar, Monterey jack, white and American.

Other staples include chili and cheese fries, fried mozzarella with marinara, jalapeno bottle caps with sour cream and the sampler platter.

The burger menu features the standard American cheese burger, as well as favorites like bacon and cheddar, chili and slaw, barbecue, and bleu cheese. There's also a vegetarian option with the black bean burger.

Sandwiches include grilled cheese on Texas toast, grilled chicken (with or without bacon and cheddar), grilled teriyaki chicken, BLT and Davis's pride and joy, the Down-East Hickory Smoked Chopped Pork BBQ sandwich, with slaw on the side. Hailing from eastern North Carolina, Davis brings eastern-style, vinegar-based sauce to the table.

The tavern also serves char-grilled jumbo State Fair hot dogs, served with chili, onion and slaw on a fresh split-top New England-style bun, alongside fries or Southern-style potato salad.

Nachos come loaded, and the Hot Iron Quesadilla is served on a 12-inch flour tortilla, packed with cheddar and jack cheeses, green chiles and jalapenos, and garnished with lettuce, tomato and green onion, homemade salsa and fresh sour cream, with or without diced grilled chicken breast.
Chicken tenders are served with one's choice of sauce, on the side or on the tender, or both.

"The repeat business is tremendous," Spillman said. "People know we're going to give them a cold beer, a basket of hot, juicy and crispy wings, or a juicy burger on fresh bread with crispy green lettuce. Either way, you're going to have a good meal."

And a good time. The tavern sports seven high-definition televisions, along with the Direct TV NFL Sunday ticket, allowing patrons to watch any football game they please. Davis also promises regular specials, like Monday Night Football night with 35-cent wings. On Tuesdays, kids eat free, and Wednesdays are "Recession Nights," with the tavern serving $1 jumbo dogs and $1 beers. Trivia and Pay-Per-View events are also to come.

"We want you to have a good place to come eat and drink and have a good time," Spillman said. "And as long as I'm with the restaurant, we're going to deliver good food and service."

The Town Tavern is located at 208-A Faculty St. in Boone. Hours are Monday through Wednesday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, noon to 2 a.m.; and Sunday, noon to midnight. For more information, call (828) 264-2226.

Beat It
Got restaurant news? E-mail entertainment editor Frank Ruggiero at ( , snail mail Mountain Times Publications, Attn: Frank Ruggiero, 474 Industrial Park Drive, Boone, N.C. 28607, or call (828) 264-NEWS and ask for Frank.

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