I want Rhubarb to be where the important stuff happens.
I believe in the power of the table, the value of passing food, and of sharing stories and listening. These moments around a shared table deepen the ties between people we care about, in turn strengthening the web of our families, friendships, and communities.
Sharing food is transformative. I have experienced it throughout my life with family and friends and strangers. As a chef, I have witnessed how sharing a meal can reveal insights and discovery – often unexpected – about who we are and why we do what we do. These experiences deepen the connections between us, connections that ultimately elevate our lives.
- Chef & Owner, John Fleer
In his most important capacity, Rhubarb's owner and Chef John Fleer is a husband and a dad to three sons. He is an avid soccer player and fan, so if you cannot find him in the kitchen or with his family, he's either watching or playing soccer.
A native of Winston-Salem, NC, Fleer was named one of the “Rising Stars of the 21st Century” by the James Beard Foundation and is a five-time finalist, most recently in 2017, for the James Beard “Best Chef in the Southeast” award.
Inspired by the “culture of food” he experienced in Italy while a Religion and Philosophy major at Duke University, John began his culinary career humbly, rolling pasta and baking black tie pie at Aurora Restaurant in Carrboro, as a way to pay for graduate school at UNC. His curiosity piqued, 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.
Chef Fleer transforms local ingredients into world-class dishes.
The unique “foothills cuisine” he helped establish at Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm wandered the line between refined and rugged, fancy and familiar. His cooking 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.
In May of 2009, John took his first step back across the Blue Ridge from Tennessee, to open Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers, NC where his food was enhanced by one of the most beautiful restaurant settings in the country. Fleer left Canyon Kitchen in the summer of 2015 to devote his time to Rhubarb.
Rhubarb is the next step in Fleer’s journey; he brings the relaxed atmosphere of his previous pastoral posts to bustling Pack Square, broadening his approach with a freestyle American cuisine well suited for its location at Asheville’s vibrant crossroad. In late 2015, Fleer added a private event space to the Rhubarb family, providing an opportunity to host workshops, cooking classes, and private events. Shortly thereafter, The Rhu opened its doors, as Rhubarb's companion bakery, cafe, and pantry.
Chef Fleer is actively engaged in creating community, both in Asheville and, more broadly, in the Southeast. He served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Southern Foodways Alliance from 2003 until 2009. Fleer serves on the Advisory Board for Chefs at Downtown Welcome Table, works with the City of Asheville on downtown development initiatives, and is a proud member of Asheville/Buncombe Adult Soccer Association's Club Watershed.
Accomplished Pastry Chef Kaley Laird brings her unique style and non-traditional culinary sensibility to the kitchens at Rhubarb and The Rhu. For such a young chef, Laird boasts an impressive resume with more than eleven years of culinary experience.
Originally from Western New York, Laird’s interest in cooking sparked as a young child decorating Christmas cookies with her mother. What began as a holiday tradition, developed in to a passion that allows Laird to combine her interests in math, science, art and business.
Laird honed her pastry skills at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park Campus and graduated with an AOS Baking and Pastry Arts in 2007. Throughout her career, she has been privileged to hold many positions within the kitchen including Pastry Commis at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, Calif., where she won the Core Award; an honor bestowed upon the individual that best displays the CORE values of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. Laird was also the Pastry Chef at Michelin starred Ubuntu Restaurant in Napa, Executive Pastry Chef at The Carneros Inn in Napa Valley, and Executive Chef and Pastry Chef at Aveline Restaurant in San Francisco.
Laird is a classically trained pastry chef with a distinct perspective. She utilizes her experience with savory ingredients to broaden her repertoire of flavor combinations to create distinctly unique desserts using local, fresh and seasonal ingredients. Laird’s motto is “Flavor first. Just because a dish isn’t traditional, doesn’t mean it won’t be amazing.” Using her own dietary restrictions as inspiration, she is skilled at creating both dairy and gluten-free dishes.
Kaley is a new resident of North Carolina, and when she is not in the kitchen at Rhubarb, she enjoys culinary exploration, working out and exploring Western North Carolina.
all of the answers
WHEN ARE YOU OPEN?
Monday 3:00pm - 9:30pm
Wednesday & Thursday 11:30am - 9:30pm
Friday 11:30am - 10:30pm
Saturday 10:30am - 10:30pm
Sunday 10:30am - 9:30pm
Between 3pm and 5pm, we serve a limited snack menu.
WHEN ARE YOU CLOSED?
Monday Lunch, and all day Tuesday.
DO I NEED A RESERVATION?
WHAT'S THIS SUNDAY SUPPER THING I HEAR ABOUT?
Each Sunday at 6:30 we serve a three-course meal at our communal tables. The Sunday Supper menu is different from the regular restaurant menu and reflects the bounty of the weekend markets. The meal is $34 for adults and $13 for children. We encourage seating at the communal tables, but the menu is offered in the dining room. It's also close to Chef John Fleer's heart, so check out what he has to say about it.
I'M WITH A BIG GROUP!
For parties of 6 or more, a credit card is required to hold the table. If your party size decreases within 24 hours of the reservation time, we charge $15 per person that doesn't show up, with a maximum fee of $100. If the party size increases within that window, we'll do our best to make accomodations. We're happy to take up to four separate payments, but will present only one check for parties over 6. In some cases, parties may be seated at adjacent tables, but we'll always confer with you in that case.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS?!
Kids are people, too! The more, the merrier. We encourage families to join us.
DO YOU HAVE A BAR?
Of course! The R-Bar is full-service, and we think it's the best place in Asheville for local beer, craft cocktails, and house draft sodas. Be sure not to miss our healthy selection of whiskey...it's near and dear to our hearts.
HELP! WHAT ABOUT ALLERGIES & SPECIAL DIETS?
It's all good. We are always happy to oblige and adjust according to your dietary needs. Our menu includes a variety of options for vegetarian and gluten-free diets. If possible, please let us know your restrictions when you make your reservation.
WHERE DOES THE CAR GO?
There are five parking garages located within close proximity to Rhubarb. Street parking is also available. Don't feed that meter after 6pm...it's free until 7am the next day!
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY...CAN WE SIT OUTSIDE?
Yes! We have covered (and heated in Winter) patio seating. We don't take reservations on the patio, so get here and we'll get you seated when we can. It’s a perfect place to people watch, or enjoy Asheville's fantastic buskers!
WHEN DO Y'ALL CHANGE YOUR MENU?
Our dinner menu changes frequently based on what comes in from the farms, and the whim of the chefs. The menu for Sunday Supper changes each week, and is posted weekly on our website.
ARE MY FRIENDS FIDO & SPOT ALLOWED?
We do allow dogs on our patio. Patio seating is first come, first serve.
CAN I WORK AT RHUBARB?
We are always looking for fine folks interested in being part of our hospitality team. Please head over to see our current employment opportunities.
WHERE ARE YOU?
Our address is 7 SW Pack Square. We're right in the center of downtown, directly opposite the Pack Memorial on Pack Square.
What's on your mind?
inquiring about employment?
have a question for us?
thinking about a private event?
Get the process started with Elizabeth Westridge
want to talk press or marketing?
interested in joining our family of farmers and makers?
Shoot an email over to John Fleer.
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Garden & Gun - The Second Coming of John Fleer
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Bon Appétit - America’s Best New Restaurants 2014
Asheville Citizen-Times - Asheville's Rhubarb Named on Big 'Best Restaurant' Lists
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