Small Bites

Merrimon mainstay Gourmet Perks has closed, at least for now. Photo By Jonathan Welch

Closed For Business: Two mainstays of the north Asheville restaurant scene have closed. La Caterina Trattoria, long a high point in local Italian dining, shut down this spring. And last week, Gourmet Perks ended its run on Merrimon Avenue. A note posted on the coffee shop’s MySpace page reads: “We tried our best to stay open and provide a place that responded to the community both musically and nutritionally. Unfortunately for all of us, we were unable to meet the financial requirements of increased food costs and maintain an affordable eatery.” According to the note, staffers remain hopeful the café will reopen under new ownership.

Chicken And Waffles: The minds behind Mamacita’s in Asheville are preparing to debut a restaurant specializing in yet another staple of southern California cuisine: Chicken and waffles. Mo Daddy’s is slated to open in the space adjacent to Mamacita’s in early July. “We’ll have live music, local beers on eight taps, liquor and wine,” says Michael Vess, who would bear the title of manager, if opening another restaurant left the Mamacita’s crew enough time to worry about such things. “It’s really beautiful inside,” Vess adds, singling out the Venetian plasterwork and salvaged rail, which will serve as a footrest at the bar. Plans call for the restaurant to open at 4 p.m. six days a week.

More Monk: The Thirsty Monk, the newish pub in downtown Asheville, isn’t just for Belgians anymore: Owner Barry Bialik recently announced plans to expand into the upstairs space formerly occupied by Almost Blue. The second floor will house an American-craft-beer bar, with 16 lines carrying the best in domestic brews. “The upstairs we’re keeping like a merry-go-round,” Bialik says of plans to maintain a constant rotation of drafts, many of them obscure. “Our theme is [that] we’ll never tap the same beer twice in a row.” The two floors of the pub will be linked, so patrons can wander up and down without cashing out first. They can also wander outside to Patton Avenue, where Bialik is installing seating. To learn more, call 254-5470.

Coffee Cart In Biltmore: The latest addition to Stovetrotters’ parking lot in Biltmore Village is Caravan Coffee, a walk-up espresso cart serving coffee, tea and baked goods. “The coolest thing is that the Caravan itself is fun and funky with bright colors,” writes owner Cate Harrison. The cart’s open for business Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 273-6584 for more information.

Nature Center Screams For Ice Cream: The South Asheville Earth Fare is putting the social awareness back in ice-cream socials with a Wednesday, July 2, benefit for the WNC Nature Center. The market is selling ice cream for $1 a scoop from 4 to 6 p.m., with all proceeds benefiting the Nature Center. A few friendly Nature Center animals are reportedly planning to be there, too. For more information, call 210-0100.

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