Since mid-May, BimBeriBon owners Eva and Reza Setayesh have taken stuck-at-home diners on a global culinary tour via Big Bountiful Bags. The adventurous twist on takeout was the West Asheville restaurant’s first step to resuming business after closing on March 18.
You can thank mothers for giving them the nudge to get back in gear. “It was a week or so before Mother’s Day, and restaurants had been closed for almost two months,” recalls Reza. “Mother’s Day is such a big day for treating moms to a delicious meal. We thought, ‘Poor moms!’ We had to do something.”
What they did was create brunch in a bag: baked goods, a whole quiche, salad, soup, dessert and a bottle of prosecco. “All people had to do was open it up, spread it out and celebrate your mom, your wife, your grandma, all the mothers in your life.”
The Mother’s Day bags sold out, and a concept was born. Each week the bags are themed to a different destination; so far, passport stamps include Greece, Cuba, France, India, Mexico, Asia and Spain. “How many of us have canceled trips and vacations? Everybody!” Reza asks and answers. “We tell a story. Imagine for one night you’re in Costa del Sol. Set the table, pour your sangria, cut your bread, put out the meal and take a respite from everything happening in the real world.”
Like many independent restaurateurs navigating the COVID-19 world, Reza is balancing saving the business, responding to customer requests and keeping staff and customers safe. In addition to the Big Bountiful Bags (ordered online 9 a.m. Monday through 5 p.m. Wednesday and picked up on Thursdays), BimBeriBon has added Friday and Saturday takeaway — breakfast and lunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and dinner 6-8:30 p.m. — which can be ordered online or at the eatery’s walk-up window on Haywood Road.
And like many other restaurants on Haywood, BimBeriBon has plans to expand the footprint of its existing patio area to allow more guests to pull up a chair and sit a spell. “People want to go out to eat,” Reza points out. “They just don’t want to sit inside to do it. From now until late October, we’ll take the opportunity to make the most of outdoor dining” — no passport required.
For details, visit bimberibon.com.