Southern Porch is a family-run operation not too far from Asheville. The current couple that owns it started it with the wife’s mother and stepfather, who had chef experience. The senior couple retired in March of 2019. The building was constructed as a house in 1876, before Canton was even a town. As the town boomed due to a paper mill the building was purchased in 1910 and made into a hotel. A 4-story tower was added and it became The Imperial Hotel. Much has since transpired but the ownership started restoration of the building’s appearance to the 1920’s look and then welcomed Southern Porch Kitchen and Drink onto the premises. The inside dining rooms now are large and fairly unadorned. The bar was off to the side when we entered the large room with well-spaced tables, a high tin ceiling, a wood floor and rock music in the background. The menus were large and so worn that much of the print was wiped off. There were a number of people working there but our server was not particularly experienced.
The Canton Club was made with smoked ham and oven-roasted turkey breast, American and Swiss cheeses, lettuce, tomato, candied and peppered bacon and zesty mayo on toasted sourdough. It was a huge sandwich made bigger by fairly thick sliced bread. They used a Bibb lettuce which was unusual with the saucing being not quite zesty enough. The balance of meat to bread and cheese was slight on the meat portion. The bacon had lots of flavor but added a sweet smokey dimension. It would rate an okay only.
The Carolina Cheesesteak was made with shaved prime rib or shredded chicken topped with sautéed peppers, onion and mushrooms with pepper jack cheese on a hoagie bun and you could add crispy jalapeños for $1. The server heavily recommended chicken over beef so that’s what I ordered and opted to add the crispy jalapeños. This was not a sandwich you could pick up as the nicely toasted bun wouldn’t come anywhere close to closing. There were lots of pepper and onion slices that again added a sweet component which was nicely offset by the spicy jalapeños – actually they were the best part. The chicken was dry but somewhat seasoned. If you order this I would recommend trying it with beef.
Each sandwich came with a side and O-ringers were listed which are their hand cut onion rings served with dipping sauce and we both chose that as our side. These were the hit. They were nicely fried, lightly coated and not greasy. With good sweet onion filling that stuck to the coating, they were grand.