Jason Sellers is one of those people I often envy for what appears to be an uncanny ability to do anything well. Here’s a case in point: we were hanging out at the Bywater with friends a few weeks ago. The Bywater is this really cool concept bar/recreation area on the French Broad River. I call it a kind of summer camp with booze: in addition to the bar, there’s about an acre of land with picnic tables, horseshoe and cornhole games, grills, and fire pits. You can bring your own food and grill out, sit by the river, play the games. You can bring your dog. You can tube down from the Wedge, climb out of the water, and head into the Bywater — at least that’s what a whole cadre of folks had done the day we were there. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will.
There’s a bimini ring toss game as well, the goal of which is to swing a ring tied to the end of a string in such a way that it lands on a hook attached to a wall. This is not an easy task. I stood there and threw the freaking ring over and over and never got it on the hook. Jason took one practice swing, then a second, then got the ring on the hook. And then did it over and over. In exasperated and highly competitive frustration, I gave up and got another beer.
So it’s this sort of thing that seems unnerving to me, Jason’s ability to do things with such seemingly little effort. But the truth is something altogether different — and the ring toss example works to explain it. I just kept throwing the ring, thinking that if I just threw it enough times, it would land on the hook. Which it didn’t. If it had, I would have then gone back and then tried to replicate the process by which I succeeded. And that’s kinda sloppy, no?
Not Jason. Jason’s the antithesis of sloppy. Jason measures everything that he does, and he weighs all the options before acting. He got that ring on the hook on the third try not only because he considered the problem of the ring and the hook — the weight of the metal in his hand, the length of the thread, and his position relative to the wall — before he let it go, but also because he paid careful attention to what he did wrong the first and second times; he doesn’t come at things backwards, doesn’t allow himself to continue to make errors. He gets it right because he takes getting it right very seriously — perhaps more so than anyone else I know. And once he gets it right, he keeps working to get it more right. He got the ring on the hook, but maybe he could get the ring on the hook with his eyes closed. Maybe he could get the ring on the hook using his non-dominant hand.
So back to Plant: Plant is vegan. Plant is a restaurant based on an ethical principle to which Jason adheres absolutely and to which his business partners, Leslie Armstrong and Alan Berger, adhere as well. And that ethic is, in fact, the driving impulse behind the place. Jason had been a long time vegetarian when I met him in 1997; we became vegan after we moved to Massachusetts in 1999. And Jason has always been a chef at heart, has always been interested in food and in the politics behind how and what we eat. He went to culinary school at the Natural Gourmet in Manhattan in 2004, and he worked in the city at Candle 79 before moving with me — very much against his heart’s desire to stay in New York — to Asheville, where he became head chef and kitchen manager at the Laughing Seed.
Jason has been working to get it right for a long time, and he’s succeeded in ways that seem inconceivable to me. And I should know: I’ve been present for the entirety of his culinary journey and before, when he was working in his masters in Linguistics at North Carolina State University and training Kung Fu, becoming the very badass salad-eating-vegan-who-can-put-you-through-a-wall. The food that he’s making now is the food he’s always wanted to make. It’s delicious, savory, entirely plant based, and incredibly refined in both presentation and flavor combinations. One of my friends declared, after eating lunch there today, that the space in which Jason works should be declared a holy pilgrimage site.
For Jason, getting it right is still something that can be improved upon; getting it right is just another place from which to start. And I can’t wait to see what happens now.
In the case of Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, the “light bulb” went on while Operating Partner Eric Horsley was skiing in Aspen. Heading back to Charlotte, Eric shared his idea with Managing Partners Jeff Van Dyke and Barbara Bodford-Morgan. Together they conceived of a restaurant that that applied fine dining techniques and quality to casual, everyday food. Love of great pizza with a good beer is universal. So the goal was to keep it simple and fun, but add a unique style.
But, how do you stand apart from the competition, big and small? Simple. Just add fire.
We are downtown Asheville’s whole-foods kitchen & cafe. We serve lunch, dinner, late night, and Sunday brunches as well as our whole menu. We have been open since 2002 and have been serving our extended family, friends, and wanderer throughers, creative vegatarian and vegan soul foods out of our colorful space at a brisk pace all these years.
We have hosted hundreds of benefits, art shows, and musicians, we have fed the homeless, the wealthy, a good handful of celebrities, and everyone in between.
We have nourished everyone who has passed through our doors in the best ways we know how… We are owned by the Wezeltown tribe, managed by a handful of dedicated employees who are currently working on a plan to become a collectively operated business. The hard working staff, that almost seems to live at the Kitchen, are a dedicated bunch that only put up with the cramped space and constant chaos because of a love for food and/or the philosophy of the establishment. .
We are frequented by a constant flow of creative souls of a wide spectrum, foodies, health nuts, vegans, vegetarians, and curious tourists. Please stop in, say hello, and allow us to feed you. It is always an honor.
Nine Mile is a casual full-service vegetarian-friendly restaurant and bar with two locations in Asheville, NC. The original location is in the heart of Historic Montford. The newest location is in Downtown West Asheville on Haywood Rd.
Our cuisine consists of Caribbean inspired pasta dishes, rice dishes, a handful of traditional pasta dishes, daily specials, and an array of locally made desserts.
We carry a variety of local and micro brews as well as a specially picked selection of wine. Our non-alcoholic beverages include Jumex Nectars, San Pellegrino, and Fountain Sodas (Yes, we have Cheerwine!). The West Asheville location also serves an array of Caribbean Cocktails.
It is our pleasure to provide everyone from our nearby neighbors to our visitors from afar with great food and a pleasurable dining experience.
We invite you to come by and look forward to seeing you!
Everything at the Lucky Otter is made in house, no pre-packaged anything. This is a reflection of what we as owners like to eat. We source a lot of our produce locally, all of our draft beer is made in Asheville (PBR is an acceptable exception anywhere), and our goal was to be a neighborhood place. So 9 years later The Lucky Otter is still a good cheap neighborhood place with potent margaritas and good food.
The Laughing Seed Cafe was started in 1991 by Joan and Joe Eckert. Originally a small lunch counter on the lower level of the local YMCA, we moved to our current location on Asheville’s historic Wall St in June of 1993, where we were one of the first businesses to spearhead the downtown Renaissance of this beautiful city in the Blue Ridge mountains.
bird Quality and creativity have always been the driving forces behind the Laughing Seed’s eclectic international approach to vegetarian dining, and this has led to our popularity with vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. We combine local products, organic ingredients, and a flair for global fusion to give our dishes a unique and satisfying character. We have been the recipient of numerous awards including Best Vegetarian Restaurant in WNC fourteen years in a row (as voted by the Asheville Citizen Times and the weekly Mountain Express), and been recognized by publications as diverse as Southern Living, Vegetarian Times, and the NY Times. And we’re pleased to announce that we just achieved a two-star Green Certified restaurant rating for our many eco-friendly practices!
The Laughing Seed’s ambiance is one of a soothing oasis, where warm shades, a mural of the rainforest, and a babbling fountain melt away anxieties and set the stage for our festive, imaginative cuisine. A beautiful blue-green bar invites customers to sample one of our many fresh fruit smoothies and elixirs, indulge in a martini or mojito, relax with a glass of wine, or sip one of our locally brewed Green Man Ales. In warm weather dining is available on our sheltered patio, perfect for people watching and soaking up the mountain breeze.
If you are a newcomer to the world of vegetarian dining we are sure your curiosity will be amply rewarded by our wide selection of delicious offerings. If you are a seasoned lover of meatless cuisine you’re in for a real treat. After all, as our many satisfied customers will tell you, there’s nothing like “Eating Right!” at the Laughing Seed Cafe.
Because personal nutrition is a highly individual matter, we are committed to providing products that fill a spectrum of dietary choices. As a neighborhood market we will reduce reliance on the automobile, helping people to shop close to home. We support as many local suppliers as possible, moving us toward our own goal of being environmentally responsible.
Early Girl Eatery opened its doors in mid October of 2001. Centrally located in downtown Asheville on historic Wall Street, the critically-acclaimed and locally beloved eatery offers delicious southern food in a casual, charming atmosphere.
The Early Girl serves dinner Tuesday through Saturday night with a well crafted beer and wine menu and offers breakfast and lunch 7 days a week. Regulars’ favorites include pan-fried free range chicken with herb gravy for dinner, the local sausage and sweet potato scramble for breakfast and the almond and ginger salad almost anytime.
When we opened the first Doc Chey’s in 1997, our goal was simple: operate a neighborhood restaurant that serves our guests affordable, delicious, pan-Asian food. Although we have been true to our original mission, we quickly learned that we had an even greater mission, and that was to improve the communities we serve. We did this by becoming stakeholders in our neighborhoods and fostering good karma in our communities through various initiatives – dine-outs that support local schools and charitable organization, donations to local organizations for fundraising events, and hosting charitable events like Morningside Mile and Breakfast with Santa. Through our efforts, we have donated over $200,000 in cash and food to local schools and non-profit organizations. We work hard to live our values everyday – treat others as we wish to be treated and give without expecting anything in return. We will continue to work hard every day to help make our communities better places to live – one noodle bowl at a time.
The story of Dobrá Tea begins in Prague during the last few years of Communism, where as a group of young tea lovers we began meeting to sample rare Indian, Chinese and Japanese teas smuggled into Czechoslovakia. Because of a shortage of foreign currency, high quality teas were then available exclusively to the Party, State and Military elite.
Then came the “Velvet Revolution” and the Fall of Communism in 1989. In 1992, “The Society of Tea Devotees,” was formed and the following year our first Bohemian-style tearoom, Dobrá Čajovna, opened in Prague. The Čajovna (tearoom) became a shelter, a place for safety, where like minded individuals could gather and taste the world of tea. Much success blossomed with Dobrá’s idea and the company began to spread its tea concept to many small towns throughout Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. In 2003 Dobrá Tea opened its first U.S. tearoom in Burlington, VT and years followed to Portland, Maine and Asheville opened in 2010. We welcome you to visit our humble, Japanese style Tearoom that opened in August of 2013 in Black Mountain, NC.
Traveling to tea growing countries annually, we have gone to great distances to source all of our teas directly from their regions of origin. Our Tea menu is arranged by country, and each tea tells its own story based on our travels and experience with each variety.
The tearoom gives us the opportunity to share our passion of tea and culture with the Asheville community. You may find the tearoom is something between a church or a pub. Many see it a place where they can relax easily, engage in good conversation or meet a loved one for the first time.
When Cathy and Krista hatched the idea for their business back in 1999, they were inspired by the growing and vibrant neighborhoods of West Asheville and the need for community-oriented walkable businesses. They both share a passion for healthy eating and a commitment to providing a welcoming atmosphere where diverse families and neighbors can relax. They try to stay true to their ideals by supporting sustainable agriculture and purchasing directly from local farmers.
At the West End Bakery we strive to give back to the community by volunteering with local schools and non-profit organizations to promote healthful eating. We collaborate with organizations like Slow Food Asheville, The North Carolina Organic Bread Flour Project, and Bountiful Cities Project to try to develop sustainable food systems.
Our staff take great pride in both the quality of product and of interaction with customers. We value the hard work and creativity of all of our employees and are a Qualified Living Wage Business according to the standards of Just Economics which includes insurance for full time employees. We feel that this family atmosphere is what sets us apart as a unique community business.
At the West End Bakery and Cafe, we use 100% organic flour and the freshest ingredients available. Everything served at the West End is made from scratch, and whenever possible we use locally grown produce and organic products. Come for breakfast and stay for lunch!