POTENT POTABLE: Asheville Yacht Club bartender James Browne says the Painkiller is the bar’s best-selling cocktail. Photo by Michael Franco

Boat drinks

Ahhh tiki cocktails … those sunset-colored vacations in a glass. When done right, they warm your taste buds with exotic spices and unexpected flavors. When done wrong, they coat your tongue with sugary dreck and your head with one mother of a hangover the next morning. Fortunately, in Asheville, there are plenty of places making […]

Sylvia van Meerten is organizing Empower Autism’s first conference, Autism and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Autism and happiness

When it comes to services for children and adults with autism, Asheville offers an array of resources from vocational programs to mentoring to support for families. However, according to Sylvia van Meerten, founder of Empower Autism, there is a gap when it comes to teaching individuals on the autism spectrum how to be happy. “I […]

AFTER-DARK GREENS: Night owls in the mood for fresh veggies can opt for the arugula salad with maple-sesame dressing from the late-night menu at Ben’s Tune Up. Photo by Michael Franco

Late-night bites: Ben’s Tune Up

In a restaurant-rich city like Asheville, there’s one thing you can pretty much count on late at night: lots of hungry restaurant workers. According to Amelia Lindsey, the general manager at Ben’s Tune Up, the decision to do late-night dining was sparked specifically by this often-overlooked segment of Asheville’s population. “It’s an industry city,” she […]

D.O.G.S. LIFE: Decrepit Old Geezers Sausages food-truck owner Bill Drake, right, and his wife, Marlene, started their business as a hotdog cart four years ago. Photo by Michael Franco

Food trucks revisited

In the Oct. 29 issue, we looked at the life of a food truck owner from two different perspectives: the newbie (Roaming in the Raw) and the old-timer (Gypsy Queen). Following that story, Bill Drake, owner of the Decrepit Old Geezers Sausages (D.O.G.S) hot dog and sausage truck, responded to Xpress, “It seems like all […]

Punk Wok with Elliott Moss

No, that’s not a typo (nor is it the name of a new Sex Pistols cover band from the East), it’s the name of the new pop-up dining concept recently unleashed at MG Road. On Monday nights, “MG Road will be in full character for Punk Wok. The decor, the service and the drinks will […]

FESTIVE VEGGIES: Blue Ridge Food Ventures employee Natalie Marsh prepares chopped peppers to be vacuum-sealed and frozen for the Winter Sun Farms CSA. Photo by Michael Franco

Frozen sunshine

Kenneth Cole might be a name that appears on lots of people’s Christmas lists, but if you’re all about shopping and eating locally, you may be more interested in learning about Ken Cole, an organic apple farmer with deep roots in Western North Carolina. Cole has supplied both the apples and the applesauce recipe used […]

MIDNIGHT BREAKFAST: A breakfast taco with an Indian twist is one of the fun Night Brunch menu items at MG Road. Photo by Michael Franco

Late-night bites

Xpress correspondent Michael Franco continues his quest for late-night dining spots with a visit to MG Road. Night Brunch: Sunday midnight-2 a.m. Dishes: $5-9 No kidding. At MG Road, Sunday brunch begins at midnight. Chef de cuisine Tom Griffin says, “Kyle the bar manager and I were just joking around one night and talking about […]

FIRED UP: The pupu platter and flaming Love Boat for Two cocktail are among menu items being introduced at Ben’s Tune Up by new head chef Jake Whitman. Photo by Michael Franco

Tuning up the menu

The mighty plank of wood sailed through the air before docking atop my table. On it, two iron burners protected small fires in their depths. Armored red legs rested in a tangle in the middle and architecturally interesting shapes rose from the edges, forming a tantalizing city. The new pupu platter from Ben’s Tune Up […]

photo by Nick King

True stories

Karen, a former New York City probation officer who is about five-feet-nothing in height, has a big presence. Her New York accent is as thick as weekend traffic on the Long Island Expressway. She seems tough. Someone who’s seen a few things in her time. Someone you don’t mess with. Yet when she’s done telling […]

CREATIVE LICENSE: Chef Brian Canipelli gets to unleash his imagination on the late-night menu at Cucina24. Pork belly was recently featured among the ever-changing options. Photo by Michael Franco

Late-night bites

In this installment of correspondent Michael Franco’s continuing exploration of Asheville’s late-night dining scene, he checks out the offerings at Cucina24. Late-night hours: 10:30 p.m.-1 or 2 a.m. Dishes: $3-10 Some late-night menus are designed to suit the venue, while others are designed to suit the clientele. The month-old late-night menu at Cucina24 in downtown […]

REALITY IN THE RAW: Since opening in August, Roaming in the Raw food-truck owners Zack Bier and Jenni Squires say they have encountered both challenges and creative freedom. Photo by Max Cooper

The real deal

Have you ever thought of owning a food truck? The freedom! The creativity! The possibilities! True, but there are also: Regulations! Tight spaces! And burnout! We caught up with two local food-truck purveyors — Jenni Squires and Zack Bier from Roaming in the Raw and Suzy Salwa Phillips from Gypsy Queen. We wanted to see […]

NIGHTTIME GNOSH: A downsized version of the best-selling charcuterie plate graces Storm’s late-night menu. Photo by Michael Franco.

Late-night bites

Editor’s note: Michael Franco has explored dining options that have recently appeared on the late-night scene. This installment investigates Storm Rhum Bar & Bistro’s after-hours offerings. The sun set hours ago. The early-to-bed set has retreated to their homes and hotel rooms, and the streets are left to the visitors, the vamps and the venturers […]