The closure of Weaverville’s Sunnyside Cafe has turned out to be just a hiatus, with owners Jack and Patty Keeran recently reopening their celebrated Main Street eatery. The cafe, which closed in 2005 after five years of serving American classics, is back in business. According to Patty Keeran, “We’ve adjusted our hours to have a life and not get burnt out.” Chef Jack Keeran, a veteran of the Richmond Hill Inn and the Swag Country Inn, makes much of his menu from scratch, including the veggie burgers and the buns on which they’re served. Sunnyside Cafe, at 18 North Main St., is open weekdays for lunch and Wednesday through Friday for dinner. For more information, call 658-3338.
The Market Place Restaurant, widely revered for introducing the local-foods philosophy to Asheville, is reinventing itself from front to back. Jason Barrows, a longtime restaurant worker with a background in theater, has assumed the role of dining-room manager. And Perry Hendrix, who started his culinary career in owner Mark Rosenstein’s kitchen, has returned to Asheville as the restaurant’s executive chef. A self-taught chef, Hendrix spent two years at the Market Place before moving to the Richmond Hill Inn in 2001. He left his post as executive chef there in 2003 for a job at the Metropolitan in Salt Lake City. According to a release from the Market Place, Hendrix is committed to continuing to use “fresh, local ingredients in creative handmade culinary preparations.”
There’s more to be found on a menu than a well-priced plate of chicken cacciatore: A good researcher can mine its offerings for valuable cultural insights. That’s why the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans has mounted a project to collect menus from throughout the South. “They can be old or new,” museum executive director Elizabeth Williams says. “Any menu from a restaurant in the South will do. We have a unique culinary history and experience, and we want to document what we have for future generations.” Visit www.southernfood.org to learn more about submitting menus.