Asheville: Distillery City USA?
Troy and Sons may not be the only distillery open in Asheville for long. Adam Dalton Distillery is getting under way, first as a full-service bar and eventually as a craft distillery. Dalton says that his new bar, located at 251 Biltmore Ave., will be open for business at the time of this article’s publication.
In a few months, Dalton says, he should have all of the necessary licensing secured to start the process of making a 100-proof rum he’ll call White Widow. Dalton says that what's produced in his distillery will be a high-quality, hangover-free liquor, owing to a clean cut that will eliminate the heads and tails (the unwanted parts of the distillation process) leaving nothing but heart (see this week’s food feature for more on this method).
Eventually, he'll expand his repertoire to include tequila — but don't call it that, Dalton says. Tequila refers to a specific product, distilled in a particular place in Mexico — very much like real Champagne only comes from a specific region in France. "You can call it 100-percent agave nectar. Good tequila drinkers will know what that is, but the majority of the drinkers who just ask for a shot of tequila won't," says Dalton. "But it's fun to educate people."
For now, Adam Dalton Distillery will offer several beers on tap as well as mixed drinks. For more information, visit the Adam Dalton Distillery Facebook page.
It's not easy being green
How green are Asheville restaurants? Both The Market Place and The Green Sage have rooftop solar panels. The West Village Market and Deli uses all compostable or biodegradable packaging and disposables toward the goal of keeping 98 percent of the grocery's trash out of the landfill.
Now, Asheville Independent Restaurants has partnered with the Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute to brand Asheville as a Green Dining Destination city. The alliance has secured a $258,000 grant from the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology’s Green Business Fund to improve the environmental sustainability and economic success of 17 AIR member restaurants.
The funding will enhance the restaurants’ efforts to increase use of renewable energy, improve energy efficiency and promote energy conservation in support of achieving Green Certified Restaurant status through the national Green Restaurant Association.
“We are working to establish Asheville as the greenest dining destination in the country,” said Randy Talley, owner of The Green Sage. “This means we aim to have the most Certified Green Restaurants per capita of any city in the U.S. Not only will it benefit our restaurants but it will have a positive impact on our community and region, including local farms, local breweries and local businesses.”
The Green Business Fund grant will support the installation of solar hot-water panels, energy-efficient HVAC and refrigeration, lighting upgrades and other energy-saving measures including training in energy conservation practices.
These improvements are expected to save nearly 3.4 billion BTUs of energy each year, roughly the equivalent of unplugging 110,000 televisions according to an AIR press release. Grant funds are provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will also create the equivalent of two full-time local jobs. The initial phase of the project funded by the Green Business Fund will be completed by the end of 2011. BRSI and AIR are seeking additional member participation and funding sources to expand the benefits to other restaurants.
AIR members included in the grant and working toward GRA certification are Bouchon, Burgermeister’s, The French Broad Chocolate Lounge, The Corner Kitchen, The Green Sage, Fiore’s Ristorante Toscana (both locations), Frankie Bones, Homegrown, Laughing Seed Café, Jack of the Wood, Luella’s BBQ, Tupelo Honey Café (both locations), Neo Cantina and Rosetta’s Kitchen.
Posana Café, also participating in the grant, is one of only two existing GRA certified restaurants in North Carolina. Other AIR member restaurants pursuing GRA certification include Crêperie Bouchon and The Green Sage, south location.
Tim Ballard of BRSI is the project manager for the Green Restaurant Initiative grant. He can be reached at email@example.com or 708-7022. For information about AIR, visit airasheville.org. For more information about BRSI, visit blueridgesustainability.org.
A hot (wing) event
Ready for a wing-off? On Saturday, July 16, several local restaurants will battle at The Garage at Biltmore to find out whose wings reign supreme. Competitors include Luella’s BBQ, Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, Universal Joint, Jack of the Wood, Ed Boudreaux's Bayou Bar-B-Que and others.
The event is a benefit for My Sister’s Place, a local non-profit dedicated to supporting women affected by domestic violence. A panel of judges — including this writer and Joe Kendrick, midday host from WNCW Radio — will select the winning wing.
Tickets are $15 in advance at thegarageatbiltmore.com or at the door for $20. Prices include all the beer you can safely drink; entertainment from an all-star band featuring members of Vertigo Jazz Project, Brushfire Stankgrass, Overflow Jug Band and the Trainwreks; wings and pizza provided by the restaurants that competed in last year's Asheville Pizza Wars. The event begins at 6 p.m. For more information, visit thegarageatbiltmore.com
More restaurant closings
Two local icons of the Asheville food scene closed for good over the July Fourth weekend. Both the 52-year-old Three Brothers Restaurant and the Barbecue Inn (open since 1961) are shuttered.
Three Brothers was consistently named one of the top spots for Greek food in the Asheville area by Xpress readers in the annual Best of WNC poll. After winning yet again last year, George Zourzoukis, part of the younger generation of owners, told Xpress that the key to success is "all in the family."
"We're Greek, and we make a lot of our stuff, like our spanikopita and Greek pastries, from scratch. I think that makes a big difference," he said. "For all these years, we've really appreciated everyone's support and continued loyalty."
And in a story called "Barbecue Blunders" from the Feb. 16 issue of Xpress, Buncombe County Commissioner Bill Stanley credited the Barbecue Inn as the forefather of the Asheville 'cue scene, before this side of North Carolina had an identity when it came to barbecue.
"To Stanley's knowledge, the first barbecue joint of note in Asheville was the Barbecue Inn, Gus Kooles' place out on Patton Avenue, opened in 1961 (and still going strong). 'Gus advertised it as eastern North Carolina barbecue,' says Stanley.
TK Tripps, though not considered an Asheville icon, per se, has been open for 27 years on College Street in downtown Asheville. That restaurant closed on Wednesday, July 6.
There is no word yet on what will replace the businesses.
— Mackensy Lunsford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org