There’s been a lot of movement in the restaurant scene in Asheville as usual. For one, Calypso, the Lexington Avenue Caribbean eatery, closed for its winter break and never reopened.
Also soon to close: Bean Vegan Cuisine, which has announced it will shutter its South Asheville location.
“Our last day open will be Sunday, March 29,” said co-owner Charles Foesch. “We met a lot of great customers and served a lot of great vegan food in Asheville.”
Bean Charlotte will remain open, and Foesch said Bean Vegan Cuisine is in development as a franchise.
But there’s good news to counter that crummy bit of intel. There are tons of new restaurants in the works and some new spots to try right now.
Hot take: Downtown Asheville’s west side is going through some very rapid changes. Among them: some new spots for the Grove Arcade and a new record pressing plant, cafe and bar for the first floor of the Asheville Citizen Times building.
Here’s the CliffsNotes version of some of what’s happening now and in the coming months.
When chef Owen McGlynn began lining up his sources for Asheville Proper, he also began looking for a wood guy.
McGlynn, with his wife Mindi McGlynn and partners Russell and Mercy Joseph are behind the new live-fire steakhouse concept coming to the Grove Arcade. The team is hoping to open the first weekend in April.
And spring is a perfect time to open, McGlynn said, because of all of the great produce that starts flooding in: ramps, peas and local asparagus, to name a few.
Owen McGlynn will open his locally focused steakhouse in the Grove Arcade in early 2020. (Photo: Courtesy of Asheville Proper)
The fact that McGlynn’s sights are set on tender spring green things among his a la carte sides underscores the seasonality of the forthcoming steakhouse.
Expect plenty of vegetables and locally foraged mushrooms, much of which will be ember-roasted, grilled or smoked on a very pretty NorCal Ovenworks Argentinian-style grill, fired with a mix of oak, cherry and hickory wood.
“I’ll be utilizing the fire and wood as much as possible throughout the menu,” McGlynn said.
Asheville Proper will have a menu of local and regional meat and coastal seafood, with some game to come later in the year.
Mindi McGlynn said the wine list should be about half old world, half new, and heavy on reds in keeping with a meat-centric menu. There will be local brews on draft and classic cocktails like Manhattans and gin fizzes.
“The basic theme is to bring it back to when the Grove Arcade was built: Art Deco, with a modern twist,” she said.
This Thai restaurant recently opened at 747 Haywood Road, next to Nine Mile West, on the first floor of what was originally Buffalo Nickel.
Thai Pearl’s menu is huge, with a number of salads like green papaya and chicken larb. There are about eight soup dishes, like the very good Thai street noodle soup, about six different curries and a ton of appetizers, including the easy-to-miss umami-packed Thai oysters, which are also worth an order.
Thai street noodle soup at Thai Pearl, which recently opened in West Asheville. (Photo: Mackensy Lunsford)
As of March 8, the bar above the restaurant was not yet occupied by a tenant. Renovations have sealed off the once-open stairwell, though it’s still accessible from the lower unit by a door.
This cafe and restaurant recently opened at 11 Southside Ave., serving craft coffee, teas and a small but smart list of minimal intervention and natural wines, with local brews on tap and in the bottle.
The menu is also small but smart, with breakfast bowls, toasts and salads. A savory Farm and Sparrow polenta porridge bowl comes with a soft farm egg, red pepper relish, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms for just $8.50. Smoked trout toast with pickled beets and microgreens is $8.
Co-owner Maxwell Puterbaugh said everything’s made in house and with local and seasonal ingredients.
Farewell is a multi roaster cafe showcasing a rotating menu of coffee beans, he added. Right now, featured roasters are Hex, Brandywine Coffee Roasters and Elm Coffee Roasters.
Jettie Rae’s Oyster House
This oyster concept is slated to open at the end of April at 143 Charlotte St. in the former Gan Shan Station space.
Expect lobster rolls, Lowcountry dishes like shrimp and grits, and grilled fresh catch of the day. The patio will host crab and crawfish boils, oyster roasts and other festive seafood events.
Eric Scheffer, who with Jim Diaz will open Jettie Rae’s Oyster House. (Photo: Courtesy of Eric Scheffer)
While the restaurant will be fun and family friendly, with picnic tables and cornhole on the lawn, it will also be a place to sit at the bar and eat oysters shucked to order.
Will Cisa, formerly of Charleston’s FIG and former chef de cuisine at Standard Foods and Gan Shan Station, will be the executive chef. Jettie Rae’s comes from longtime local restaurateur Eric Scheffer and Jim Diaz, principal of CoveStar Investment Realty.
Citizen Vinyl restaurant: Session
Citizen Vinyl, the vinyl-pressing plant, listening room and retail store opening on the first floor of the 14 O. Henry Ave. Citizen Times building, is getting a big food and beverage boost from some of the best in the business.
Charlie Hodge, owner of Sovereign Remedies, Ole Shakey’s and Asheville Beauty Academy and his business partner Morgan Hickory, will be behind the cocktails. Susannah Gebhart, founder of West Asheville’s Old World Levain Bakery, and Graham House, executive chef of Sovereign Remedies, are behind the food.
Musical stalwart Gar Ragland and engineer Peter Schaper are handling audio, from the initial recording in some cases to the final pressing.
The restaurant, bar and cafe will be called Session, and it will anchor the north side of the building, separated from the record pressing machines by a pane of glass. Food will be served morning through evening. And yes, you can listen to records there.
More: New vinyl pressing plant will be an immersive food, music and cocktail experience
For breakfast, find savory pastries like muffaletta croissants and bierocks. There will also be breakfast sandwiches on house-baked bread and latkes with various accompaniments like smoked trout.
A deli case of sides will offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Lunch sandwiches will be House’s take on classics, like pastrami on rye with sour cucumbers and gruyere, or grilled cheese on brioche with jalapenos and red onion jam. Here, you’ll also be able to sample Gebhart’s take on classic desserts.
More details are still to come about dinner and cocktails. This concept should open in summer.
New Meherwan Irani concept
Another fast-casual Indian eatery by Meherwan Irani, the co-owner of Chai Pani, is coming to the Grove Arcade, in the former True Confections.
Irani said the menu and concept is still being finalized, but to expect an eatery “focusing on a regional style and specialty, quick turnover counter service indoor and outdoor seating with a large patio and open all day.”
The name, naturally, will follow the concept.
Meanwhile, Irani is working on curating the restaurant lineup for the S&W Market, which will bring a food hall and two taprooms from Highland Brewing Company to the historic S & W Cafeteria building.
The S&W Cafeteria building in downtown Asheville January 6, 2019. (Photo: Angela Wilhelm/Asheville Citizen Times)
That lineup should be announced in April, according to Anne Aldridge, director of operations for the Ellington Realty Group, who are behind the development and management of the building.
Crab du Jour
This Cajun seafood restaurant and bar will open in the former Applebee’s at 115 Tunnel Road in 3-4 weeks, according to the owner.
The restaurant’s menu includes clams, lobster and crabs of various stripes: dungeness, snow and blue, in-season. There will be oysters by the dozen and shrimp, which can be ordered head-on or off and with various levels of spice. You may also have seafood boils with potatoes, corn and your choice of shellfish, including crawfish.
Papa Nicks at One Stop
This pizza restaurant recently opened in the former Mojo Kitchen and Lounge. Good news for late-night eaters: it serves slices into the wee hours most days, and until 4 a.m., Thursday-Saturday.
“We are as local as it gets, and will be doing hotel delivery late and industry discounts for all of our people in the restaurant business,” said owner Sean Turner. “Trying to fill the void that 51 Grill left. I love this town.”
Find it at 55 College St.
Itto Ramen and Japanese Tapas opens soon downtown
This downtown outpost of the West Asheville ramen bar is slated to open at 3 Biltmore Ave. April 1, according to owner Tony Lin.
Lin said the menu will be the same as his West Asheville shop, Itto Ramen Bar and Tapas.
The Itto miso ramen comes with house-made ramen, chashu pork, ground pork, boiled egg, corn and scallion in miso broth. (Photo: ANGELI WRIGHT/ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES)
That means handmade dumplings, some raw fish dishes and interesting takes on traditional Japanese appetizers, like vegetable katsu and fried oysters with yuzu. And yes, there will be ramen, including a creamy vegetarian version with house-made kale noodles.
Lin said there’s very little work to be done on the interior of the restaurant, which was formerly The Wine and Oyster and, before that, Champa. He does, however, plan to take a wall down to open up the kitchen to the dining area. There will also be a full bar.
Itto downtown will be open from noon-10 p.m. weekdays, and from noon-11 p.m., weekends.
Hola, new Spanish eatery
Work continues on Hola, the new Spanish restaurant eatery slated for the first floor of the Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville.
A new Spanish restaurant called Hola is slated to take over the ground floor unit of the Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville at the corner of Battery Park and Page avenues. (Photo: ANGELI WRIGHT/ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES)
Hola will open in late spring or summer on the corner of Battery Park and Page avenues, across the street from the Grove Arcade. The upscale-casual restaurant will serve lunch, dinner and brunch and a small selection of tapas.
The restaurant will have seating for 108 inside and 33 out, with a full and extensive wine list.
Fermented Nonsense ‘Brewstillery’
Fermented Nonsense Brewing is leaving Craft Centric Taproom & Bottleshop in Arden and moving to a production space 3.5 miles away from the bottle shop, with an aim to increase brewing capacity.
Both the Arden space and brewing operations will now be called Fermented Nonsense Brewstillery.
The Arden shop will add a tiny craft distillery to the 130 square foot room that formerly housed beer-brewing operations. The taproom will still carry some packaged drinks, and offer beers from guest breweries on tap, though the real focus is on what’s being served and distilled there.
Recent changes in state liquor laws will allow Fermented Nonsense to serve craft cocktails with seasonal ingredients. The changes should be final by summer. 100 Julian Shoals Drive Unit 40.
New restaurants for the RAD
Jacob Sessoms is the lead local developer for a project to revitalize the Kent and Phil Mechanic buildings in the River Arts District.
Once complete, the two buildings will hold community spaces and food operations, with the Kent Building the site of a boutique hotel.
Sessoms, the James Beard nominated chef behind Table, Cultura and All Day Darling, said he will open a restaurant and bar in each building, though he could offer no specifics. The projects won’t open until 2021.
Food trends could change by then, the chef said. But what won’t change is Sessoms’ role as a thinker and planner who’s leaving the operation of his restaurants to others.
“My loyal team of professionals, between front and back of the house, will take the lead,” he said. “The chefs who work with me now have far more experience and ability to … make food well and concisely, much better than I can.”
Instead, he’s taking on creative roles, as with this project in the RAD. “I’m working with my partners to make these buildings and spaces an integral and viable part of the River Arts District, and Asheville as a whole.”
In other news
Three new pizza restaurants are in the works. City permits still say a restaurant called Harvest Pizza is opening at 39 Banks Ave.
There’s also a restaurant called Pie.Zaa opening at 46 Millard Ave., serving New York-style pizza by the slice until 3 a.m., according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.
And the Favilla’s New York Pizza folks announced on Facebook that they have permits in hand to open soon at 5 Regent Park Blvd.
A classic beignet at Bebettes Beignets and Coffee is loaded with powdered sugar. (Photo: Angeli Wrightfirstname.lastname@example.org)
Additionally, the event space above Button & Co. Bagels will stay just that — a place for special events and dinners. Tillie Hall will be the name of the space, which once housed Nightbell. That restaurant closed last year.
Also according to city permits, Bebettes Beignets & Coffee will open a location in the Grove Arcade in unit 111, which once housed a barber shop. That restaurant serves exactly what the name suggests. There’s a location open at 211 Tunnel Road, in case you’d like a preview.
Mackensy Lunsford is an award-winning staff writer for the Asheville Citizen Times, former professional line cook and one-time restaurant owner.
Reach me: email@example.com.
Read more: Subscribe to the Citizen Times here. Subscribe to my newsletter here.
Read or Share this story: https://www.citizen-times.com/story/entertainment/dining/2020/03/09/asheville-restaurants-whats-closed-open-and-whats-coming/4962040002/