Asheville Eats Map: What's open and what's coming, including The Village Porch, Andaaz, Walnut Family Bakery, Pollen, Morning Social, and much more
Also, Stoney Knob Café in Weaverville celebrates its 60th anniversary
Note: This story is sponsored by Citizens Fuel Co., a family-owned Asheville company.
When I introduced the first Asheville Eats Map a couple of weeks ago, I was in awe of the level of restaurant activity around Asheville, especially after everything that they’ve been through the past year. I figured I could stay on top of it with this occasional feature.
Wrong. There’s just too much good stuff happening. So here we go with another restaurant roundup. Got a tip? Please leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Onward!
What’s just opened
Chow Chow ‘21: Chow Chow, the Asheville culinary festival that launched with big ambitions in 2019 and was canceled last year due to the pandemic, returned last weekend. The Appalachian Pride Brunch at Smoky Park Supper Club on June 27 opened Chow Chow in vivacious style (as illustrated here by another of Stephan Pruitt’s amazing photos.) The restructured festival will take the form of limited capacity in-person events, as well as several online programs, from now through September. There’s an added emphasis this year on themes that explore racial justice, climate resilience and food justice. Chow Chow background here.
The Village Porch: When Marilyn Ball, my longtime friend, mentor and all-around Asheville doyenne, called to invite me out to lunch at The Village Porch in Woodfin’s Reynolds Village just a few short months ago, I was still skittish. I’d been newly vaccinated, but it had been a solid year since I’d had a sit-down meal inside a restaurant. Still, I was itching to get out. And Marilyn insisted that I really needed to meet her friend, neighbor and Village Porch owner George Pfeiffer Jr. We met up, and I was glad I got out.
Over great conversation, Marilyn and I sampled fantastically flavored chicken wings (tossed in Carolina gold sauce) and crunchy fried pickles. I went further, taking down the Porch Burger, a smash burger featuring two 4-ounce patties topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and signature Porch sauce. Fantastic. George served as a gracious host whose family, I learned, has a deep connection to Asheville. His father, George Pfeiffer, was the dynamic executive director of the United Way of Asheville from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s, a uniquely formative period of the city’s growth. It was great getting to know him, and The Village Porch, his first restaurant venture, seems to me to serve as sort of an extension of his family’s community-minded hospitality. With a dozen televisions and two dozen taps, it stands unabashedly as a sports bar. But there’s ample food and space, including plenty of outdoor patio seating (putting the “porch” in the name), to accommodate any friendly meet-up.
Andaaz: This new white tablecloth Indian restaurant in the former Rezaz restaurant location in Biltmore Village has eased into its opening over the past couple of months. It’s the vision of Al Singh, who manages nearly 20 Citi Stop convenience stores in Western North Carolina. He and a group of restaurant partners turned to New York Chef Bobby Chhikara to design the restaurant’s menu and hire staff. Chhikara’s food inspirations are grounded in the Punjabi region of Northern India. Sample dishes include a tomato-and-yogurt sauced chicken Andaaz and a lamb korma featuring a cashew-and-walnut sauce.
The Shoppe at Prescription Pad: This little hot dog and ice cream shop, styled like an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, recently opened inside The Prescription Pad of Weaverville on Main Street. They Shoppe serves up hot dogs featuring homemade toppings, as well as handcrafted Ultimate Ice Cream from Asheville (including homemade waffle cones). It’s simple, down-home delicious. The location was home to Weaverville Drug Company for nearly 90 years before the pharmacy was sold about four years ago. Follow on Instagram at @theshoppe_weaverville.
Walnut Family Bakery: Fortune.com’s Adam Erace recently profiled the Philadelphia couple that purchased the magical little Madison County house and wood-fired brick ovens that have been home to a series of wonderful bakeries in recent years, most recently Walnut Schoolhouse and Smoke Signals before that. Camille Cogswell and Drew DiTomo tell Fortune.com they plan to bring back the beloved community pizza night at the spot in the Walnut community of Madison County that they're now calling Walnut Family Bakery. They also have plans for a small Airbnb operation, according to the story. (Here’s the paywalled Fortune.com story.) There’s no opening date that I’m aware of, so keep your eyes peeled for updates.
Pollen Coffee & Flower Studio: This shop is the new concept from Allyson Seifert (the flowers) and Jacob Rich (the coffee). They plan to open July 1 in the former Olarie coffee shop space on South French Broad Avenue. Pollen plans to work with local farmers and growers, and will serve Brooklyn-based Sey Coffee.
Morning Social: The folks from the popular Honey and Salt are planning to open a sister restaurant called Morning Social at the Brevard Lumber Yard in Brevard this summer. They’ll take over the space that was formerly home to Magpie Meat & Three restaurant, which closed last year. The four-year-old Honey and Salt in the Village of Flat Rock serves up the standard eggs and pancakes, as well as breakfast skillets, quinoa bowls, smoothies and much more for breakfast and lunch.
Ukiah Japanese Smokehouse and Melting Pot Social opening dates: These two new downtown restaurants have set July opening dates. Ukiah, located in the former Bartaco space on Biltmore Avenue, is set for July 6. Melting Pot Social, located on Patton Avenue right across from Pritchard Park, is set for July 22. More on both here.
JuJu’s Craft Cookery: Jared Dotson is on a mission to elevate brewery food, and that’s exactly what he’s doing with the food side of Mills River Brewing Co. out in Mills River. In a recent phone conversation, Dotson told me he’s planning to add a barbecue menu (ribs, brisket and pulled pork) and a wood-fired pizza oven to an already bulging food operation featuring creative (and creatively named) nachos, salads, sandwiches and burgers. (Menu here.) He’s calling the concept “WNC’s first food park.” Indeed, with 92 picnic tables and a full slate of beer, wine and liquor, he’s well on his way.
Second Home: This restaurant’s full name is Second Home - Appalachian Eats and Crafted Drinks, and its coming together next door to the wonderful Homeplace Beer in downtown Burnsville. It’s a partnership between the brewery and the folks of Mars Hill burger joint Stackhouse. The food menu is described as down-home cooking “done up.” Look for Southern food favorites, from boiled peanuts and fried green tomatoes to smoked chicken and country fried steak. It’s set to open later this summer.
Old Europe: The coffee/pastry shop owners plan to build a new restaurant at 18 Broadway St., according to plans submitted to the city development office, across the street from their current location at 13 Broadway. (The new location was home to Smokey’s Tavern for years.) Old Europe’s owners bought the 18 Broadway property earlier this year. Old Europe is an Asheville institution that celebrated its 25th anniversary in Asheville last year.
First Watch: This Florida-based restaurant chain, which highlights the freshness of its ingredients and offers “complimentary newspapers and WIFI” (ok), plans to move into the former Pour Taproom space in Biltmore Village.
Polanco: This former restaurant is returning to its space at 10 N. Market St. in Asheville, according to city construction permits.
Former Nightbell restaurant space: There’s new life planned for old Nightbell restaurant space above La Bodega Curaté on South Lexington Avenue in Asheville. There are no details as yet, but the space has been opened up for more bodega seating.
Waffle House: A quick note for WaHo fans - the Waffle House at 1444 Tunnel Road in East Asheville is under renovation. It’s coming back, folks.
The short-order ticket
Celebrity chefs: William Dissen, the chef/owner of The Market Place restaurant in Asheville, will make his special appearance this weekend on “Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted,” the National Geographic cooking expedition series. Ramsay, best known as the fiery-tempered star of the “Hell’s Kitchen” reality TV cooking show, travels the world in this third season of “Uncharted.” In the Smoky Mountains, he must “rappel down a treacherous waterfall, kayak through raging rapids, and trek deep into the forest” to forage tasty ingredients before facing off against Dissen. The show airs on July Fourth at 8 p.m. on National Geographic.
Anniversaries: US Foods recently honored the Dermas family for their 60-year relationship with the company. Gus Dermas, the 92-year-old family patriarch and founder of the ever-popular Stoney Knob Café (founded in 1966) in Weaverville, was on hand to accept a crystal platter, according to a Tribune Papers report by Clint Parker. Also, Apollo Flame Bistro on Brevard Road had a sign up recently announcing that it was celebrating 20 years in Asheville.
Punk Rock Hot Dogs: Stu Helm, the Asheville Food Fan, is bringing back his Punk Rock Hot Dogs food fight concept on July 31, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Asheville Masonic Temple. Tickets are on sale now.
Correction: The Asheville Eat Maps from earlier this month misgendered Chef Silver Cousler, who is working on bringing their new Neng Jr.’s restaurant to fruition in West Asheville. I apologize for the error and have corrected the post.
Thanks for reading!