Installation is now complete on PIE.ZAA’s new retractable roof, which co-owner Tyler Kotch says “gives new meaning to the phrase ‘pie in the sky.’”
The makeover allows the producer of Asheville’s largest pizzas to offer helicopter home delivery service. PIE.ZAA pilots hover over the South Slope restaurant and, as the building gets topless, lower a rope with a hook. The box — safely housed inside a Kevlar carrying device — is attached by the kitchen staff, and the meal heads off to its lucky buyers.
“Will our boxes fit through a standard doorframe? No. The answer is still no.” Kotch says. “You’ll also have to bring the slices into your house one by one. We’ve heard from a few regulars that they’ve upgraded to double-wide frames, so that’s encouraging.”
Kotch also pleads for hungry citizens not to shoot down the boxes and instead simply place their own orders by phone or online.
“And please don’t hook yourself to the rope after the delivery is complete,” he adds. “We just … our insurance isn’t that good.”
(Tea) leaves of (blue) grass
Dobra Tea has partnered with local dobro player Billy Cardine to rebrand as Dobro Tea. The deal was struck after years of typos and miscommunication for both parties, who bonded over a shared love of brewed beverages and Americana music.
“Who doesn’t love the dulcet tones of a good dobro? Hopefully no one, because we’ve got a lot riding on this,” says teahouse owner Andrew Snavely.
Dobro Tea will keep Dobra’s award-winning menu intact, but along with Cardine’s hand-selected playlists piping through the café speakers, several other notable changes are being made.
Instead of the old system of ringing a bell to summon a server, customers will play a lick on a distinctly tuned resonator guitar. Once the order is ready, the server will bring it to the booth or table on a repurposed dobro with a uniformly flat surface.
“I’ve had a cup holder on my guitar for years, but that’s taking it to the next level,” Cardine says. “We’re only just beginning to explore the unlimited potential of this remarkable instrument.”
Cardine and frequent collaborator Anya Hinkle will perform at the Jan. 7 grand opening, and Dough House Vegan Donuts will be on hand to offer a limited supply of the “Dough Bro,” a fried confection made with Pabst Blue Ribbon and white privilege.
From Kentucky, with diabetes
A-B Tech Culinary Arts and Hospitality student Chimberly “Chim” Cher-ee’s life changed last week while she was in the campus kitchen working on her class’s fried chicken assignment.
“I was just messing around with 11 different herbs and spices when bam! That smell I’ve been in love with my whole life was suddenly upon me,” she says, dropping her voice to a whisper. “It was Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe.”
Within minutes of hitting the fast-food jackpot, Cher-ee was visited by a team of men in shiny white suits and black string ties and whisked off to KFC headquarters in Louisville, Ky., where a settlement was reached.
“Have you ever seen The Wizard of Oz? It’s just like that at HQ,” she says. “They’ve got this big hologram of an old Southern gentleman, and smoke comes out of his nose while he bellows, ‘I am the Colonel!’”
Despite her newfound fame, Cher-ee remains focused on earning her degree and going on to work at one of Asheville’s top restaurants, ideally one with an interest in the fried bird arts. In the interim, a “no-crowing” clause has been issued by the poultry empire, though she’s not letting the legally binding agreement coop up her skills.
“KFC said I could use half of the ingredients going forward — professionally,” Cher-ee says. “But what I do in my home kitchen is my own motherclucking business.”