If you’re exploring downtown Asheville, eventually you will more than likely run into the iconic Asheville Music Hall. While studying their vintage-inspired sign, the smell of incredible food soon grabs your attention. After you walk through the front door, you follow your nose to the stairs that lead down to a lively bar and restaurant, The One Stop.
Wait...music, local brews, and good food all in one place?!
That’s right, folks!
But how are these two seemingly separate spaces connected? General manager, Micah Wheat, explained: “We’re all one business, but being that the Music Hall is more of an event space and larger room, we’ve got to match the programming that fits there. But what’s been nice about The One Stop, the smaller more intimate room, is that some of the bands you see selling out The Orange Peel or Pisgah have started downstairs with us. To operate simultaneously has been a neat concept. Whether it’s a funk band upstairs, and then you come downstairs to a singer/songwriter in a more intimate setting or vice versa, we try to match that programming between floors. It’s been a neat opportunity to offer folks.”
The upstairs music venue, previously known as Stella Blue, became Asheville Music Hall in 2011. May 20th 2019 marked new ownership with Brian Good and Paul Casey, who is also part owner of French Broad Brewing.
“This has been an iconic institution in downtown Asheville since 2011, and this building has been a celebrated music venue for over 30 years,” stated Wheat.
While The One Stop always offered up and coming bands in the downstairs area with good food and drinks, new kitchen manager, James Mayfield, has created a brand new menu with names that allude to the music scene, and also features some of his very special family dishes.
“I’ve got to really tip the hat to my mom; she created a couple of these recipes,” said Mayfield. The mouth-watering pimento cheese on the Marley burger comes from his family’s home cooking, and the pickled onions are also from one of his mother’s pickling recipes.
Pear's Gone Fishin' Taco
With over 18 years of experience as a professional cook, Mayfield got into the Asheville brewery scene as the general manager at UpCountry Brewing, and then ventured on to Urban Orchard Cider Company. Wanting to do more with his food, Mayfield established a good working friendship with Brian Good, which led to Mayfield coming on as the kitchen manager at The One Stop. But it wasn’t without its challenges.
“We had to shrink the menu down. And then alarmingly we went from 60 days notice, to 5 days,” mentioned Mayfield. Yes, that also meant 5 days to flip the kitchen. Mayfield knew he had some pretty big shoes to fill when he came on at The One Stop, and fill those shoes he did! He described The One Stop’s fantastic new menu as friendly and appealing for everyone, and even has vegetarian options. He’s currently working on vegan dishes, and plans to expand the menu even further. Frozen margaritas and mimosas are also on the way.
“We feel our mission is to offer musical programming, events, really good food, and good, affordable drinks,” Wheat added. “We’ve always had a solid crew here, from our production staff to our talent buyers; to our bartenders and our kitchen. But it takes capital, and we have that capital now to take larger risks on shows and major improvements on the building. We’ve got a great relationship with the building owner who’s given us a very nice long term offer. He supports our collective vision of what we’re doing with some of these bigger shows and our day-to-day programming as well. For us to stay competitive with some of the bigger venues around town and in the area, we’re doing very well. The summer has been very good to us.”
The venue’s strong upbringing has always been focused on the loosely thrown around jam band culture. Years ago they were voted one of the top ten jam band clubs east of the Mississippi River, which includes the Brooklyn Bowl.
“We’re pretty heavy in booking the jam bands, funk, reggae, bluegrass, and electronic music as well,” Wheat explained. “Electronic is pretty popular with us, and not many rooms around town will work with that genre, it seems, so it’s been really neat to support that and put on some really good shows. We’ve got a loyal fanbase, and many folks have stuck with us through the years. We’re excited to announce some of our bigger upcoming shows soon.”
The One Stop is bringing back the Brown Bag Songwriting Competition, which showcases local original music. The event’s host is Debrissa McKinney, a Grammy Award-winning local artist from Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and Empire Strikes Brass. One of the winners of a past event was featured on American Idol. The venue will also be featuring trivia nights and comedy acts.
So what separates The One Stop apart from the rest? Wheat commented, “What sets downstairs aside from all others is the name: it’s The One Stop! You can come in and have some of James’ food, you can have a good drink, and you can also see a really good show and not have to go to any other place. So to provide those three things, and very affordably, sets us apart. One of our bartenders was just named the number two best bartender in Asheville, so you’re gonna get a quick turnaround even if there is a line. It’s that holy trinity of good food, good drinks, and good music!”
The One Stop is currently open six days a week, but will soon be open seven days. For those late-night foodies, The One Stop will also soon serve food until 2am. Delivery service is also being lined up in collaboration with Kickback AVL, and The One Stop will deliver on foot within a 3 block radius, “Just because we can!”
They also feature their very popular Bluegrass Brunch on Sundays, and Free Dead Fridays with acoustic Grateful Dead performances from members of local band Phuncle Sam. Learn more about The One Stop at Asheville Music Hall and their upcoming events and specials by checking out their Dig Local Profile.