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Tavern joins Haywood restaurant scene

A new tavern is set to make its debut this week in downtown Waynesville, featuring barbecue, beer, and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere in the Main Street space that was formerly Headlights Bar and Grill.

Tipping Point Tavern is a joint venture between Sweet Onion owners Dan Elliot and Doug and Jenny Weaver, along with now former manager Jon Bowman. He has left the restaurant to run Tipping Point full time.

The location is somewhat of a homecoming. Prior to Headlights occupying the space, it was Wildfire Restaurant. Wildfire was the first restaurant opened by Doug and Jenny Weaver in Waynesville, prior to the opening of the Sweet Onion.

The idea for the new restaurant has been taking shape for around three years, when Bowman came on at the Sweet Onion. The concept, he explained somewhat cryptically, “started with three men on a boat in Lake Santeetlah,” and has grown into an operation that will include house-made sausage, pastrami and, one day, their own beer-brewing operation.

At least that’s what Bowman said he’s looking towards.

“The word artisan is the way I like to describe it,” said Bowman of the menu, drink selection and overall atmosphere. “We felt like there was a need for it, that it would be hugely successful and that it was the right place at the right time.”

The tavern takes its name from the term popularized by writer and journalist Malcolm Gladwell in his book of the same name, the concept being the moment when an idea or trend becomes unstoppable.

Bowman said that he hopes the new restaurant will be just that, a tipping point for more family-friendly artisanal drinking and dining in the downtown area.

This venture will follow in the heels of the Weavers’ successful venture in Sweet Onion, which they opened after bidding farewell to Wildfire.

The menu will feature typical pub fare – fish and chips, wings, nachos and the like – as well as barbecue that they think will rival any in the area.

Bowman said the hope is to offer a diverse range of beer on tap, as well, with a mix of domestic, local and European brews up for sale that will be constantly tweaked and updated.

They’ve planned to open the doors on Wednesday, Dec. 22, and will be open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until. Sundays, Bowman said, are still up in the air.

“We want people to come here and know that it’s going to be a relaxed, comfortable, friendly, just good-times place,” he said. “Families can come in here, we’ll have good beer and we’ll have the best barbecue in Western North Carolina.”

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