I find it very frustrating that an article about changes in the River Arts District due to New Belgium's arrival doesn't even mention what they will be replacing when they build at their future location [“Big Breweries Bring Big Changes,” May 16 Xpress]. It isn't a vacant lot. It seems that a lot of folks talk about "community" without any visible regard for what has previously existed in this area that doesn't involve beer or art. Not that I don't love beer, and some art.
From what I understand, and I wish I was wrong, building New Belgium's new brewery will entail tearing down the stockyard and the [adjacent] Country Kitchen, which is currently my favorite place to eat in Asheville. After reading the article I still don't know where, if anywhere, the stockyard is moving or how the land got sold with them still there. I'll sure miss looking in on the massive rodeo bulls when I walk from east-West Asheville down towards the railroad tracks. Penland's Auction has already moved to Swannanoa, after 20-some years as a lively auction house. What about the people that work/worked at these spots? Seems to me they are being displaced. I understand they might not be a big tourist draw.
Also, I understand I'm a lowbrow hobo bum and a lot of folks might not share my appreciation of the area in its current form, but it seems that a place that talks big of being socially aware and embracing its history, might have a little respect for the businesses and the people that are heading for the last roundup. I'm not hating on New Belgium or saying nothing should change down there — it just makes me sad to see things I've loved disappear, especially without mention.
If you like cheap, greasy, Southern food, stop on by the Country Kitchen while you still can, and tip your waitress well.
— Brody Hunt