O’Naturals: One of the leading restaurant groups trying to meld the organic mindset with fast-food methodology has taken root in Asheville: O’Naturals recently opened its first North Carolina location in the new Meridian Place development at 1829 Hendersonville Road.
O’Naturals was launched in 2001 by Gary Hirshberg, president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, and friends at the Institute for Civil Society who shared his frustration with having to eat processed food while on the road. “We started with the simple premise that people are tried of eating the same old food made with mysterious ingredients and served in plastic surroundings,” Hirshberg said in 2006, the year he and co-owner Mac McCabe agreed to start franchising. There are now six O’Naturals nationwide, including the Asheville outlet.
The café‘s additive- and preservative-free menu includes soups, noodle bowls, salads and flatbread sandwiches like the “Wild West,” which features wild prairie-raised bison meatloaf served on bread made from organic, unbleached and unbromated flour with germ, honey and sea salt.
“No steam-table serving here,” a Sun-Sentinel critic wrote in a recent rave review of the Orlando location. “No fryers or microwaves ovens, either.”
O’Naturals is open every day, from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 274-4100.
Kismet Cafe: Jen and Bob Rhea, who painstakingly rebuilt their Biltmore Village coffeehouse after it was destroyed by flooding, have decided to sell Kismet Café. The popular breakfast-and-lunch spot will remain open under new ownership. “We want to wish the new owners the best of luck, and to express our heartfelt thanks to our local customers,” Jen Rhea wrote a release. The Rheas, who opened Kismet in 2002, are shifting their focus to Acme Industrial Thinking, Bob’s steel-working business in the River Arts District. “It really spun off from the work we did creating Kismet’s look and feel,” Jen Rhea explains. “Bob built much of what’s in there.”
Nona Mia: West Asheville’s favorite rustic pizzeria is now open Mondays and Tuesdays—but cross the eatery off your weekend-dining list. Nona Mia recently shifted to a weekday schedule; check it out Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Moose Cafe: Of the many amateur cooks who entered Moose Café‘s “So You Think You Can Cook?” contest, three apparently thought right. Besty Ball, Debbie Fowler and Sharon Gates have been chosen as finalists in the competition, which will culminate with the customer-chosen favorite winning $100 and a permanent spot on the restaurant’s menu. Ball’s squash casserole, Fowler’s chocolate cobbler, Gates’ Reuben and her Goo Goo Cluster cheesecake will be available throughout the month of August at the Asheville eatery. Customers ordering any of the featured dishes will be asked to complete a comment card; the winner will be chosen based on feedback and number of orders.
Grove Park Inn: Grove Park’s Blue Ridge Dining Room, which has recently embraced a new attitude toward local, organic foods—“Efforts are consistently made to acquire all-natural or organic fare from regional farms,” a recent release reads—is unveiling a very old-fashioned price in honor of its upcoming anniversary. To mark 20 years of serving the area’s best brunch with a view, the restaurant is charging $19.88 (get it?), plus tax and gratuity, for brunch this Sunday, Aug. 17. The buffet will feature more than 75 items, including shrimp, oysters, crab legs, eggs benedict and “more desserts from our pastry chefs than one could imagine.” For reservations, call (800) 438-5800 or visit www.groveparkinn.com.