Quick dish: Q+A with Nikki Wright of Mrs. B’s Homestyle Eatery

IN HER MOTHER'S FOOTSTEPS: Mrs. B's Homestyle Eatery owner Nikki Wright named her baking business after her mother, who inspired her love for cooking. Photo by Liisa Andreassen

“Homemade with a touch of love” is how Nikki Wright, owner of the Canton-based Mrs. B’s Homestyle Eatery, describes her dreamy baked goods and take-and-bake vegetable lasagna. When she’s not working in the commercial kitchen she rents, she can most often be found at one of two farmers markets — the East Asheville Tailgate Market or the Haywood Farmers Market.

Mountain Xpress: Where are you originally from, and how did you end up in Asheville?
Nikki Wright: I grew up in Elon, North Carolina, in Alamance County. In 2009, my husband and I visited Asheville and fell in love with it. We moved here in 2009 and lived here until 2012. We then moved to Colorado for a few years. I was working for the parks department and did a few other state jobs but decided I was done with that. In 2015, I started a small catering business in Colorado, but we ended up moving back to Asheville. Asheville is so beautiful, eclectic and progressive. I just had to be in these mountains.

Who is Mrs. B?
My mom, Brenda. She grew up on a farm and had 15 brothers and sisters. Growing up, there were some days when I would come home from school, and I’d see brown eggs on the kitchen table and just knew she was making a dessert.

What are some of your must-have ingredients?
To this day, I only use brown eggs in my recipes. I get them all from farmers markets or Duckett’s Produce, a produce stand in Clyde. I sell my pecan pies there, too. I think they [brown eggs] make for a richer product. They also have to be free-range. If I could afford to use duck eggs on a regular basis, I would. They’re “oh-my-God.”

Other than naming the business after your mom, has she had other influences on the business?
Yes. The coconut pie is her recipe. I’m also hoping to start making a fruit-bread cake this fall — that’s also her recipe. She just inspires me. A lot of times, if I have questions about baking, I’ll call her, and she’ll give me advice — “Do this. Don’t do that.”

How’s business?
I started doing the farmers markets in May, and honestly, I’ve probably done more business here in one month than I did the whole time I was in Colorado. I’m more comfortable here. I didn’t want to step outside of my comfort zone until I was in Asheville. There’s just a vibe here that I wanted to be a part of. I love the farmers markets. I’m meeting so many people. I’ve developed such an appreciation for food and farmers. I love to trade things, too.

Has the local business community been supportive?
Oh, yes. I tend to be kind of shy. It was always easier for me to just sell my products to friends and by word-of-mouth. I’ve grown so much here. I’ve had some great resources such as the Western Women’s Business Center — they’ve been amazing. They have opened up doors for me, helped me get funding for different things, provided workshops and connected me with other vendors.

What’s been your greatest challenge?
Me. I have been my greatest obstacle. Sometimes you just have to face yourself and ask, “Why haven’t I gotten to the next level?” I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish and started checking things off. I was like, “Oh, this is what happens when you step outside your comfort zone.” Now I’m more confident. Not everyone is going to love what I do. I accept that.

What products do you sell?
On a regular basis, I sell pecan pies, coconut pies, mini-red velvet cheesecakes (they’re my husband’s favorite), homemade salted caramel sauce and a take-and-bake vegetable lasagna. All these items are for sale on my website, too. I also try to do seasonal things. I am thinking about doing a bread with candy roasters [winter squash] and maybe something with apples. I just did a peach cobbler over the summer.

Do you do any catering?
Yes. I’ve done some special-event catering for the Western Women’s Business Center, and I also do a monthly breakfast for them.

What’s your educational background?
I have an associate’s in technology. I also have a B.A. in hospitality management. These things have helped me to have a better understanding of the technical side of business. I’m also a veteran — I was in the Army for six years. I worked in administration. My husband was in the airborne, and they called us “Chairborne.” I have to give the credit of learning how to cook to my mom.

What makes your food so good?
Love, energy and passion. I also use very good ingredients.

What’s next?
Before I step out into other, bigger business ventures, I want to make sure I have everything together — my packaging, pricing. I’m just about there. I would love to have a food truck one day. I’ve been talking with the Small Business Administration in Haywood County, so I’m hoping something happens in the next six months or so. I love the flexibility of being in different places. Maybe one day — brick-and-mortar.

SHARE

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

3 thoughts on “Quick dish: Q+A with Nikki Wright of Mrs. B’s Homestyle Eatery

  1. Janice Ratliff

    I just read about Ms. B’s Homestyle Eatery! I am so proud of Niki, she is my cousin and I knew she loved to bake. What wonderful news, I am so proud that she is following her dream and doing what feels good to her. She is an amazing person and I hope to visit that Food Truck one day soon when I visit Asheville.

    Love you Niki.

    Janice Ratliff

    • Liisa

      We wish her the best of luck too! She was a pleasure to talk to. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Wendy Simpson

    Best of luck! Next time I’m in Asheville I’m looking you up! I grew up with your husband and his siblings and also enjoy baking and cooking!

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.