Roots Cafe: An Asheville catering company recently opened a storefront location in the River Arts District, serving breakfast and lunch on weekdays.
Roots Café, at 166 W. Haywood St., is offering a tightly edited menu of organic food and coffee, with biscuits available anytime. Lunch service, including a Mediterranean plate with house-made hummus and a pork loin served with from-scratch cornbread, starts at 11 a.m. The café's open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
To learn more, call 232-2828.
Grass Roots Café: Although owner Mike McLean admits that most political coffeehouses lean left, he felt the salon model would work just as well for right-of-center sentiments, as his newly opened Horse Shoe restaurant proves.
In addition to having a lengthy menu, the Grass Roots Café has an agenda: "We're actively involved in the FairTax Movement," explains McLean, who opened the eatery with his wife Carol and son Matt. "We have plenty of information here if someone's interested in tax reform."
While the McLeans are legally bound to collect and pay taxes at their restaurant, their aggravation with the system surfaces on the menu, on which every item's price is listed with and without tax.
"We believe very much in the visibility of tax," says McLean, who has long organized motorcycle rides to publicize the FairTax, an initiative that would replace all federal income taxes with a national retail-sales tax.
Still, McLean stresses that his café isn't just open to Fair Taxers: The 75-seat restaurant includes a meeting space that he hopes various community groups will use. "If it's in the theme of patriotism and reform, we're going to support it," McLean says.
The McLeans' patriotic streak shows up in the café's décor and on its menu, which features thoroughly domestic dishes like barbecue spaghetti, footlong hot dogs, chicken and waffles, bagels and lox and a sandwich of burnt brisket ends. While much of the menu is devoted to barbecue and burgers (served with a side of American fries), other entrees include chicken marsala, portobello pasta and skirt steak with raspberry chipotle sauce.
"The food is very eclectic," McLean says. "We're trying to put the theme of America into this."
The Grass Roots Café, at 4165 Brevard Road, is open Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sun., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, call 891-5024.
Red Stag Grill: The Grand Bohemian Hotel's dining room is jumping into the brunch business, opening every Sunday at 9 a.m.
The Red Stag's a la carte brunch menu is every bit as rich as its evenings offerings, with the restaurant touting its signature Oscar Benedict, crowned with crab and a petite filet, and a poached egg wrapped in salmon and finished with chive crème fraiche. Brunch cocktails include a pomegranate Mimosa and cranberry-spiked champagne.
For reservations, call 398-5600.
Tailgate Markets: Asheville's tailgate market shoppers have just more than a month left to help local markets win big in a nationwide contest sponsored by green-advocacy organizations Care2 and Local Harvest.
The tailgate market that receives the most online votes by Sept. 17 will receive $5,000, with the four runner-up markets earning smaller cash prizes. At press time, Asheville City Market had 50 votes and the North Asheville Tailgate Market had garnered 147. Other area entries included the Historic Haywood County Farmers Market, with 40 votes, and Black Mountain Tailgate Market, with 27 votes.
So far, none of the Western North Carolina markets have cracked the top 50, although the list's upper echelon is dominated by not-so-far-away communities. Flint, Mich. — leading with an impressive 2,321 votes — is followed closely by markets in Carrboro, Durham, Greenville, S.C., and Knoxville.
To cast a vote in the contest, visit www.care2.com/farmersmarket.