Renovations continue at Ben's Penny Mart. Photo courtesy of Ben's Tune-Up

Ben’s Tune-Up brings new convenience store to South Slope

“Everybody needs sodas and cigarettes and snacks,” says Ben’s Tune-Up co-owner Meg Alt. Now, individuals who work and play downtown have an expedient means to get these items. Ben’s Penny Mart, Asheville’s newest convenience store and hangout, is scheduled to open on Friday, Aug. 15, at 195 Hilliard Ave. adjacent to Hi-Wire Brewing. The hours […]

A $20 pledge earns donors one Thru Hike game. Photo courtesy of Thru Hike's Facebook page

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. THRU HIKE: THE APPALCHIAN TRAIL […]

GET FIRED UP: Darren Stephens' patent-pending wood-fired oven cooks a 20-inch pizza in just 90 seconds.

Amazing Pizza Co. rolls out mobile franchise plan

Western North Carolina’s (and the nation’s) mobile food trend continues to roll along: Darren Stephens of Mills River believes he may have found a new market niche with mobile pizza kitchens. Nearly two years of research and development and about $60,000 pumped into the Asheville-area economy have yielded a compact, wood-fired oven that cranks out […]

COOKING WITH CONFIDENCE: Making sure employees are ServSafe-certified "makes me more confident in my crew, myself as a chef and the food we serve," says Amy Lawson, chef at Nine Mile West. Photo by Alicia Funderburk

Safety first: Local restaurants team up with Goodwill for food-safety training

With 109 food-poisoning cases in Buncombe County in 2013 — and probably more that went unreported — Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina has teamed up with the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association to train local workers and certify them through the national ServSafe program. “Making people sick is bad business, and you can definitely take measures […]

Early Girl Eatery owners Julie and John Stehling are pictured with Southern Living food critic Morgan Murphy, center, during Murphy's recent visit to their Wall Street restaurant. Photo courtesy of Early girl Eatery

Southern Living food critic visits Early Girl Eatery

Southern Living food critic, author and television personality Morgan Murphy visited Asheville on Sunday, July 13, with the mission of sampling two specific menu items at Wall Street’s Early Girl Eatery: the Early Girl benny and the local sausage and sweet-potato scramble. “I am constantly searching the South for the most inventive and creative fare — and hot […]

THE WILD SIDE:Carolina West RibFest organizers say the revamped festival will offer a more eclectic blend of entertainment than past events , including sideshow acts and cancan girls. Photo courtesy of AKA Entertainment & Media

Small bites: RibFest gets a makeover

As in summers past, WNC residents can expect a barbecue rib festival to happen this month at the WNC Agricultural Center. But this year there’s a new RibFest in town. What has been called since 2007 the Carolina Mountain RibFest will now be known as Carolina West RibFest and will sport an edgy new look aimed at appealing to a broader, more alternative audience.