The Laughing Seed Café has been an institution of Asheville for over 20 years offering Organic, seasonal, farm to table vegetarian cuisine with an international touch with ingredients are sourced from local area farms. Joan and Joe Eckert opened the café as a lunch counter on the lower level of the YMCA in 1991 moving to the current location on Wall Street two years later. It was one of the original businesses that spearheaded the downtown Asheville renaissance.
In 1996, the Jack of the Wood bar was added directly below the Laughing Seed Café. Jack of the Wood is a Celtic style pub offering live music, locally sourced pub fare and of course a full bar. Jack of the Wood was the original home of Green Man Brewing which specializes in hand crafted English Ales. The bar is rustic with an old world atmosphere as well as one of Asheville’s favorite downtown haunts.
Legend of the Laughing SeedOn the Indonesian island of Bouton there is the legend of the Laughing Seed. This plant was sacred to the people of the Spice Islands for centuries. When the seeds of this plant were consumed, the people were intoxicated with laughter and able to communicate with the gods. It is said that this wondrous food satisfied the appetite and created a sense of fullness and well-being which lasted for many days…
Quality and creativity have always been the driving forces behind the Laughing Seed’s eclectic international approach to vegetarian dining and this has led to our popularity with vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Local products, organic ingredients and a flair for global fusion combine to give our dishes a unique and satisfying character. We have been the recipient of numerous awards including Best Vegetarian Restaurant in WNC fourteen years in a row (as voted by the Asheville Citizen Times and the weekly Mountain Express), and been recognized by publications as diverse as Southern Living, Vegetarian Times, and the NY Times. And we’re pleased to announce that we just achieved a two-star Green Certified restaurant rating for our many eco-friendly practices!
The Laughing Seed’s ambiance is one of a soothing oasis, where warm shades, a mural of the rainforest, and a babbling fountain melt away anxieties and set the stage for our festive, imaginative cuisine. A beautiful blue-green bar invites customers to sample one of our many fresh fruit smoothies and elixirs, indulge in a martini or mojito, relax with a glass of wine, or sip one of our locally brewed Green Man Ales. In warm weather dining is available on our sheltered patio, perfect for people watching and soaking up the mountain breeze.
If you are a newcomer to the world of vegetarian dining we are sure your curiosity will be amply rewarded by our wide selection of delicious offerings. If you are a seasoned lover of meatless cuisine you’re in for a real treat. After all, as our many satisfied customers will tell you, there’s nothing like “Eating Right!” at the Laughing Seed Café.
A Meat-Eater’s Experience
As one of those meat-eaters, the Laughing Seed was never at the top of my ‘need to try’ restaurants in town. But again, with a little more time on my hands these days I’ve been attempting to hit some of Asheville’s hot spots. The Laughing Seed is definitely one of them. I’ve had many recommendations for them over the years and I’m happy that I finally had my first visit – yes, I said first, I plan on hitting them more often.
Now not being someone that seeks out vegetarian cuisine I did have to ask about a couple terms on the menu. The server was very gracious and helpful to guide me through. There were several menu items that sounded very interesting but I was able to finally choose the Indian Thali Plate ($13). This is a combination plate that changes daily but always features a vegetable curry, dal, aromatic white basmati rice, salad, chutney, organic yogurt, chapatti and papadam. It was an excellent selection with tons of flavor that left me full, satisfied and wanting to come back for more.
I’m proof that you don’t have to be a vegetarian or a vegan to enjoy the food at the Laughing Seed. If you’ve been nervous about trying a ‘vegetarian place’ it’s time to brush that off and give them a try. You’ll be happy that you did.
Laughing Seed Café
40 Wall Street
Asheville, North Carolina 28801