One day only: Jewish deli food, like this corned beef sandwich, comes downtown for the HardLox festival.

200 feet of Jewish eats

The HardLox Food and Jewish Heritage Festival returns to Pack Square for its 10th year this Saturday, Oct. 21. “HardLox is the only day of the year that you can get real Jewish food in downtown Asheville,” says Marty Gillen, chair of the festival and member of Congregation Beth HaTephila.

A crew of 220 volunteers will manage a 200-foot-long Jewish delicatessen in front of the Biltmore building in Pack Square where they will dish up corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, blintzes, matzo ball soup, potato latkes, baked goods, and kosher hot dogs and pickles, among other delights. The congregation prepares many of the items from scratch, but some of them, like the Coney Island knishes, are sourced from as far away as Long Island.

Gillen looks forward to eating a pastrami sandwich and as much challah, rye bread and rugelach as he can. He says he has hopes for a Jewish restaurant in the future. He cites a 2011 study from Brandeis University in Boston, which reveals that the Jewish community is growing in Western North Carolina. Already, there are about 5,000 Jews living in the area, most of them in Buncombe County, according to the study.

The HardLox Food and Jewish Heritage Festival takes place in Pack Square from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21. Live music and dancing are scheduled throughout the day. For more information, visit

Tacos, westward, ho!

Zia Taqueria of Charleston is taking a hard look at Asheville. Owner and chef Kevin Grant came to town recently to explore possible locations for an expansion to the mountains. “It seems like a really good fit for me and the business,” he says. Grant has a prospective partner who lives in Asheville, and the two hope to bring the Charleston concept here.

Grant visited Bandidos Burritos on his trip to Asheville, and he says he has heard a lot about the tacos at White Duck Taco Shop and West Asheville Lounge and Kitchen, but he thinks his business could provide an additional take on the taco. “Y'all have a fair amount of Mexican food, but you don't really have anything that's quite like what I serve,” he says. “I feel like there's a niche in y'all’s market that I could fulfill.”

Zia Taqueria focuses on Mexican-style meats served in a la carte tacos, plates, enchiladas and tortas along with Tex-Mex appetizers and salads. Grant says the full bar, which serves a number of tequila-based cocktails, is a central part of the Zia Taqueria concept.

Grant toured the former Dolores and Jose Mexican Restaurant building in West Asheville on his visit. He hasn't moved on the property yet, but he's seeking input from the community regarding locations and tacos in general. He welcomes emails at Zia Taqueria is online at

Get Local Apple Fest at 5 Walnut Wine Bar

Despite the freeze that damaged the Henderson County apple crop in April, there’s no shortage of the fruit in these parts. 5 Walnut Wine Bar and Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project will celebrate the apple season on Monday, Oct. 22, with an evening of apple-themed dishes that will be curated and cooked by Chef Nathan Allen of Knife and Fork in Spruce Pine. Sweet and savory apple dishes will be on the menu for guests’ consideration. Hot, apple-mulled wine will also be served. The event runs from 4 p.m. until midnight at 5 Walnut St. Singer/songwriter CaroMia Tiller is currently scheduled to entertain from 8 to 10 p.m. For more information, visit


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