Stir Fry Cafe: With the opening of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro at Biltmore Park mere months away, another chain has debuted an upscale pan-Asian eatery in South Asheville. Stir Fry Café, which operates four outlets in Tennessee, recently opened its first North Carolina location at 1829 Hendersonville Road. The restaurant specializes in fusion favorites, including lettuce wraps and Thai peppercorn-crusted pork chops, with an emphasis on seafood. “All of our fish is brought to the restaurant within 24 hours of being caught,” assistant manager Miguel Villafane said, touting Stir Fry’s extensive sushi bar. But Villafane is as proud of the restaurant’s stylish ambiance as he is of its menu: “We like to entertain the adult contemporary crowd,” he explained.
The Asheville opening marks the start of Stir Fry’s aggressive expansion plans, which call for one new restaurant each year. Villafane said the chain, which went into business more than 15 years ago, chose Asheville as its first out-of-state location because its owners “really liked the feeling and culture here.”
Stir Fry Café is open for lunch and dinner. For more information, call 505-4934.
Sugo: Sugo Restaurant in downtown Asheville, which in just one year acquired a reputation for culinary integrity and a firm dedication to using fresh, local ingredients, has closed. Cavicchi and his wife Lindsay opened Sugo in August 2007 after selling Clingman Avenue Coffee and Catering Company. Although the Cavicchis weathered the economic downturn with good humor, enticing diners with an early bird special advertised as a “gastronomic stimulus plan,” the forecast proved too bleak for their books. While Sugo wasn’t yet suffering when it shut down, Damien Cavicchi told the Asheville Citizen-Times the closing was “a judgment call.”
Doubletree Catering: Two leaders of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association have announced a new joint venture: Eric Scheffer, owner of Savoy restaurant, and Jim Kammann, owner of Kamm’s Custard, are launching a catering service. According to a release, Dining Innovations, which will be housed in the Doubletree Biltmore, will “specialize in creating colorful, high-end, themed events” for groups ranging in size from 12 to 500 people. Many of the wine-dinner themes Scheffer pioneered at Savoy—including a traditional Argentinean barbecue—will be available through Dining Innovations. To learn more, call 209-2000.
Bruisin’ Ales: Asheville’s own Bruisin’ Ales was one of only two Southern retailers named to Imbibe Magazine‘s list of the nation’s top-10 beer shops, found in the current issue of the popular magazine that celebrates “liquid culture.” The magazine cites Bruisin’ Ales massive inventory, adding, “While the shop has an affinity for Belgians and Belgian-style ales, beer lovers of all preferences will find just about any brew to suit their palates.” To contact the store, located at 66 Broadway, call 252-8999.
North Carolina Wine: Biltmore Winery’s sparkling wine claimed top honors at the N.C. State Fair Wine Competition, held in Raleigh earlier this month. More than three dozen wineries submitted 307 wines for judging. Childress Vineyards was crowned Best in Show on the strength of its 2006 Barrel Select Cabernet Franc. Other wineries with top finishes included Old Stone Vineyards, winner in the Muscadine category; Buck Shoals Vineyard, producers of the apple mead named best fruit wine; and Shelton Vineyards, which contributed the best white.