Early Girl Eatery, Asheville NC

Last Sunday morning, we finally came to the end of our trip in Asheville, and had time for one last meal before checking out. Prior to our first visit in 2009, Marie had read about Early Girl Eatery, and heard it suggested as a reasonable alternate should Tupelo Honey Cafe be too packed. That’s really no way for a restaurant to get a reputation, and I didn’t think it was fair then. Having enjoyed one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in months here, I’m certainly opposed to thinking of it that way.

Early Girl is located literally behind and above Tupelo Honey, with an entrance on Wall Street. On Sundays, they open at 9 am. Not 7 am, as certain incompetent bloggers with whom you might be familiar would tell you after glancing at the hours and misreading them. We got dressed and parked downtown at 7.45, realizing too late that Asheville simply doesn’t get up that early on a Sunday. Making the best of things, we enjoyed a several-block walk around the town, looking in the windows of businesses that we had not seen yet. The city is perfectly suited to early-morning jaunts like this, although sadly, that great big climb up the hill behind the civic center is an absolute bear when you’re as out of shape as me.

Our walk got us back to Wall Street as the first of our fellow diners started milling around, so we took our place near the door. By the time they opened, the line was forty deep. See, that reputation mentioned above is totally unfair; this place is really known as the restaurant with the knockout breakfast worth waiting in a long line.

I don’t remember what Marie had. I’m sure it was very good; in fact, she declared the other day that it was even better than my meal, but she’s wrong. I had the Early Girl Benny, a lovely twist on eggs benedict. Served over a grit cake, it’s poached eggs, tomato, spinach and avocado with an unbelievable tomato gravy. It’s incredibly light and just explodes with flavors that mix very well together. It’s served with a biscuit that makes every other biscuit you’ve ever had surrender.

The funny thing is that I had been planning, since we walked past on Friday night and I misread their hours, to have the shrimp and grits, about which I have read amazing things. At the last minute, the Benny suddenly appealed to me and I changed my mind. This doesn’t often work out for me, but if that shrimp and grits bowl is anywhere as good as these eggs… well.

Marie and I will be going back to Asheville in late July, and for the most part, I think that we want to try new restaurants instead of repeating. However, a second shot at this place sounds like a terrific idea. I really do need to try the shrimp and grits, if I can somehow manage to not order these lovely eggs a second time.

See you soon, Asheville. Don’t change a thing.

Do you enjoy classic television? I’m reliving some great shows from my own childhood with my young son. Come join the fun at Fire-Breathing Dimetrodon Time!


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