Farewell, My (Three) Brothers…

It is with heavy heart that I reflect on the closing of Three Brothers Restaurant in downtown Asheville, so I decided to revisit one on my posts about them:

Every town has a restaurant that’s been around forever, and the locals all know to eat there. Asheville has its share of such places, but Three Brothers was a one-of-a-kind spot that’s now closed after 52 years.

They offered a lunch special every day, and their regular fare was just as good–a Greek salad alive with feta cheese and their lemon pound cake was downright famous. But, oh, last Friday–they shut their doors for good and my all-time favorite Feta Burger (plus my sybaritic pleasure in consuming it) is gone.

Gone, but not forgotten. Picture a white oval plate being carried from the kitchen toward your table. On that plate: The Feta Burger Special. It began with a 1/3 lb. burger, and Three Brothers made a darn good burger that smelled and tasted like real meat that somebody actually hand-patted into a nice size and shape. The bun is pretty regular; white and of a size to complement the burger without too much overhang from either party. Although ordinary, the bun looked and tasted like buns used to look and taste in diners.

Next, a 1/2″ slab of feta cheese was applied to the burger. Not skimpy crumbles of feta that rolled away at the first onslaught of incisors, but a SLAB of feta sliced straight from the block. Then came a pile of grilled onions. Not too few, not too greasy, not too done. The onions were then topped with tomato–not a pitiful pinkish winter time tomato, but a sassy slice of a ripe red love apple. Can you hear my salivary glands kicking into high gear, just remembering it?

Farewell, my Three Brothers Feta Burger--I'll never forget you!

Surrounding this magnificent creation was a sea of French fries that looked and smelled and tasted like fries used to look/smell/taste. Neither steak fries nor shoestrings, but a happy medium between the two.  And a pickle spear, which was as crisp and garlicky as anyone could want. 

I usually divided my Feta Burger into manageable halves so I could master all its components. It could almost be considered a feta patty melt, but the feta was firm and cool–it didn’t form the requisite cheese-slick that characterizes most melts.

Conversation would cease; this moment was about the feta burger. I came up for air only when our server (usually Kimberly) asked if everything tasted okay. I could only nod. “Okay” was too weak a word for what I was feeling.

After that first Feta Burger, I asked Kimberly to please tell the owners to make this special a regular. We talked about this special special all the way to the car and back to the office. I told my sisters about it. I mentioned it on my Twitter account. I felt downright locavoracious about this burger, and I miss it already.

Farewell, my Three Brothers! You will be much missed by your regulars…*sniff*…

4 Comments

  1. Mtnsmith

    Oh no! I hadn’t heard they were closing! Why, why, why?

    Like one of my other favorite restaurants, Rooster Cogburn’s on Haywood Rd., they will be gone but not forgotten.

  2. Mrs. KBR

    Thank you for your great reflection on this wonderful restaurant. My husband and I are in still grieving over this loss. The food was great, the service and kindness better. We are transplants, having moved here 13 years ago. My husband found the Three Brothers on his second day of work, and we have been regulars ever since. Our hearts are broken, but the great memories will live on.

    1. ltbrwnhare

      Thank you for reading my post and for sharing the love and loss of Three Brothers! As much as the food (I’m afraid I’ll never have such a feta burger again!), we loved being known and appreciated there–it felt a little like having lunch with family…

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