Bear’s Restaurant Group has opened its newest location in Asheville’s South Slope neighborhood, at 135 Coxe Ave.

The family-owned restaurant is managed locally by the mother-son team, Collyn McDonald and Cheryl Antoncic.

Bear’s Smokehouse will serve its traditional Kansas City style BBQ from their on-site food truck with plans for a full-scale restaurant to open in the near future on the same premises. The menu features Bear’s favorites from the co-owner, Jamie “The Bear” McDonald’s hometown of Kansas City.

Menu items include slow-smoked brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, baby back ribs and jalapeno-cheddar sausage, along with traditional Kansas City-style burnt ends. Other popular menu items include the Bear Attack – cornbread topped with mac and cheese and choice of meat, and the MOINK ball, bacon-wrapped meatballs and dry rubbed, smoked wings. All sauces and rubs are gluten free.

In addition, Bear’s offers a vegan, gluten free smoked Impossible Meatloaf and many of its sides are loved by vegetarians including mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, cornbread and the favorite Sweet Mama Bear salad.

General Manager and Pitmaster, Collyn McDonald has been working in the family business since the age of 15 and looks forward to bringing high quality food and service to the Asheville community.

“We’re passionate about the foods we prepare and working with our local producers—It’s about the barbecue, but ultimately, it’s the lifestyle and everything that the laidback barbecue way of life stands for,” said Bear’s General Manager, Collyn McDonald, adding, “Asheville is no stranger to enjoying barbecue and here in Asheville’s South Slope neighborhood the city’s name as a “bucket list craft beer destination” has the potential to make Bear’s Smokehouse the ideal new neighbor.”

The background for how the Asheville location was chosen, was an act of serendipity. Collyn describes this as “Our first location outside of Connecticut, the newest Bear’s Smokehouse in Asheville was inspired by a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains and experiencing Asheville’s renown foodie culture, vibrant arts scene, and strong local community.”

“Bear’s Smokehouse and the entire Bear’s Restaurant Group, demonstrates integrity and applies our B.E.A.R.’s hospitality to all we say and do,” said Cheryl Antoncic, Co-Owner, Bear’s Restaurant Group, “We are dedicated to a mission-centered philosophy: Be Authentic. Engage and Empower. Appreciate and Show Gratitude. Respect Ourselves and Others; we are founded on the belief that as a business we must support our local community,” Antoncic added. “We find personal fulfillment in making meaningful connections and having an impact on the lives of the people we serve and employ.”

Bear’s is proud to be a “second-chance” employer and for successfully employing those who have been formerly incarcerated. In addition, they have a strong commitment to raising awareness around mental health and suicide prevention, and recently raised over $40K to support this cause that is affecting more lives than ever during COVID.

The team is versed in high-volume catering and vending services, and has tailored these services to be COVID-safe. In addition, guests can order online directly on the Bear’s website and choose to have delivery or pick up. Delivery is also available via Takeout Central.

Founded in 2013, Bear’s Restaurant Group is an east coast favorite for its fun ethos and combination of handcrafted, award-winning Kanas City-style barbecue and meaningful community collaboration.

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