It was only four days after moving to Asheville, Margaret Rose recalled, that she realized Asheville had always been her home. “It just took me a lifetime to get here.” Now a retired, downtown resident of 18 years, she remembered what her friends’ retorts were when she gave voice to that realization of homecoming. They would quickly interject, shaking their heads. “No one chooses Asheville; Asheville chooses you.”
Why, everyone seems to have a story of how they came to live here, thought Margaret Rose, and many of those stories are miraculous.
Margaret Rose loved collecting stories and they were everywhere, here in the mountains that nurtured, then when you were healed, let you go. She wondered what stories she would hear today as she headed for The Vault Cocktail Lounge to try their famous burger for which they had won the ‘BEST in WNC.’ The outside patio was filled with customers – bridesmaids in costume feting the bride-to-be, couples with dogs in tow, children and folks of every ethnicity, race, age, and dress.
I think that’s why I like this place, Margaret Rose mused. Everyone, no matter what, can feel comfortable here.
Once inside, Margaret Rose noticed the place had recently been transformed. The Vault, from which the lounge got its name, had been opened so that diners could have a broad view of the diners on street level and outside. Margaret Rose caught the eye of the bartender and made her order. “We like to serve it Medium Rare, if that’s ok,” said the bartender. Only two bartenders, Neva Jo and Butler, were hustling to keep the growing crowd happy with food and drink, all the while checking IDs.
Margaret Rose took a seat at the far end of the bar, just under the trophy signifying the burger’s prime spot as Champion in Western North Carolina. While waiting for her Vault Burger, cooked The Vault way, she nursed a cold glass of beer and looked around at the growing crowd of patrons inside and out. Inside too, there was a mix of diverse people.
This is the way I like it, a friendly place for all.