Asheville Hospital Food Court
Mark Damon Puckett

Discovering a Lunchtime Secret at Asheville’s Mission Health Hospital

By
The hospital’s food court is one of the city’s best
Asheville Hospital Food Court
Mark Damon Puckett

The food court is surprisingly sleek, with plenty of quality offerings.

One of the perks of living by downtown Asheville, North Carolina is that I can walk or bike into town in 10 minutes. The sleek Mission Health Hospital cafeteria in the center of town is just a minute’s walk up the hill for me, so when I was babysitting my nephew the other day I asked him if he would like to go see the MAMA helicopter land.


Mark Damon Puckett


After watching the copter blow up dust in front of 360 blue-green mountain views, we decided to visit the hospital cafeteria for lunch, and it’s a good thing we did, because it happens to be one of the best in town.

Why I haven’t had lunch here more often is a mystery. It feels brand new with a steady flow of hospital employees, relatives, and patients, and I lucked out running into the manager who said, “I thought you were a personal shopper!” We chatted for a moment as I noted that this seemed to be a well-kept secret. He nodded.

It’s an open-choice kind of place with different stations: salad bar, burgers, Chinese, and so on. But unlike many cafeterias, there’s a subdued natural light that didn’t feel artificial and retina-blinding. Low ceilings offer an intimate feel and it’s not too noisy. We could have been in a chic college campus open food court.

I'm always on the search for a solid lunch place. Café fare is often too baked and sweet, and many lunch places can’t seem to get a simple to-go sandwich order correct. I found just about everything I needed here, from full, filling meals to lighter snacks.

Related

In a touristy town like Asheville, where the Blue Ridge foliage, the Biltmore Mansion, and the myriad breweries attract all manner of lost out-of-town drivers, it’s a local treat to walk to get your cheeseburger — and then maybe see the helicopter take off again on your way home — even if it is at a hospital.