Well Played

Cortland Mercer

Well Played


Photo by Lynne Harty

What is your favorite part of being a restaurant owner in Asheville?

Asheville is a place that supports and rewards creativity, and we wanted to do our part to contribute. Not every community would embrace a wild concept like a board game café, but Asheville truly has. It’s amazing to be supported by such a great community of interesting, creative, board-game loving people.

What is the background of your restaurant’s name?

At Well Played, our mission is to bring friends, family, and community together through friendly competition, specifically through board games. We wanted a name that was playful, but that also captured that feeling you get when you accomplish something extraordinary. We wanted the thrill of victory and gamesmanship to be in the DNA of our business.  

What ingredient could you not live without?

Fun. It’s the lifeblood of what we do. We have a great café with awesome drinks, snacks, and desserts, but if people aren’t having fun, we don’t have a business. 

What is your favorite dish on your menu?

My favorite dish on the menu is “The Mac.” It’s our mac ‘n cheese grilled cheese sandwich with bacon, which I describe as an adult take on everyone’s favorite comfort food. It’s a great representation of what we’re trying to offer, with approachable and affordable food that incorporates the nostalgia and creativity inherent in playing games.

What is your favorite dish from a fellow AIR restaurant’s menu?

The Chicken Skin Chips at Sovereign Remedies. Simply delicious… don’t forget to douse them in the Korean chili honey. 

Why did you choose Asheville to open your restaurant?

My partners and I were either born here, or have been here a long time. It’s home.

What is your favorite chef’s tool and why?

Knife sharpener, because a sharp knife is a safer knife.