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Location, Location, Location

dining2009Many business people have said that location is one of the most important factors in determining the success of a business. If the business was visible and near high traffic areas, it had a better chance to attract customers. Hemlock Inn is neither easily visible or near any traffic. In fact, you have to look for us pretty hard….off the main highway, up a side road to our mountain top. But the search is worth it. Our view and seclusion is what makes Hemlock Inn special. But our location does have its drawbacks and we certainly don’t get much drop by business. That is the price we pay.

This fact was bought home to me very vividly yesterday as a spent the day in Asheville. As I waited to have my car serviced, I decided to walk across the road to a pretty well known restaurant, which will remain nameless. I had never been there, but seen and advertisements offering homecooked southern style meals. “This ought to be good” I thought. Upon entering, I was immediately struck by all the plaques and certificates. The Asheville newspaper had declared this restaurant the “best southern cooking in Western North Carolina” for several years running Southern Living had even done a write-up praising the food.

The place was packed.

I knew I would be having a big meal back at the inn that evening so I only ordered a chicken sandwich and a glass of their “famous” sweet iced tea. I had high expectations. Much to my surprise, they brought me the tea in a mason jar and shortly thereafter my sandwich arrived in a plastic basket. My french fries were an odd combination of overcooked and limp. Don’t get me wrong, the food wasn’t bad…it was just ordinary. I pictured the chicken and fries right out of a frozen bag and quickly deep fried. It tasted like a chicken sandwich I could get anywhere.

As I looked around the restaurant at all those dining there, I thought to myself, “These people don’t really know what southern cooking really is”. I already knew that when I returned back to Hemlock Inn that evening, I would be having Fried Chicken (fried in a black iron skillet over a gas stove), homemade meat loaf, apricot casserole, green peas, carrot custard, broccoli salad, homemade yeast rolls, sweet tea in a real glass, and chocolate eclair squares for desert. Now, that is what I call genuine southern cooking.

Hemlock Inn is not located on a main road in a large town and has not reviewed by the Asheville Citizen or Southern Living. I doubt they know we are even here. But I will stack our southern style meals up against anyone.

Hope you will come visit us and enjoy our meals. We have plenty of room most all season and the country ham, chicken and dumplins, roast beef, and fried chicken await you.

–Mort White