Small bites: Asheville Coffee Expo returns to the RAD

STEEPED IN COFFEE: Residents will have the chance to sample 20 different roasters at the fourth annual Asheville Coffee Expo, taking place Saturday, Sept. 28, at plēb urban winery. Photo courtesy of Abby Dickinson
Photo courtesy of Abby Dickinson

“Asheville has a burgeoning specialty coffee scene,” says Abby Dickinson, founder of the Asheville Coffee Expo. Nevertheless, she adds, the growing industry often feels overshadowed by the city’s breweries and restaurants. Yet as local roasters and cafes continue popping up, Dickinson believes the collective chorus of steamers, grinders and percolators will soon rise in volume.

Dickinson’s festival, the Asheville Coffee Expo, now entering its fourth year, has been working to make sure this comes to fruition through its celebration of the local industry. The $14 ticketed event ($17 at the door), moves down the road this year from its former home on Ralph and Depot streets in the River Arts District to plēb urban winery.

The morning festival, which runs 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, will feature competitions and an education tent as well as samples from 20 roasters, including Dynamite Roasting Co., PennyCup Coffee Co. and South Slope Coffee. The event will also offer a free street fair, featuring local food and beverage businesses, including the Underground Café with DoughP Doughnuts, Beeswax & Butter, The Rhu and Asheville Tea Co.

Sustainability, notes Dickinson, is the theme for this year’s festival, and the topic and its relation to the coffee industry will be covered in the expo’s education tent. Further, Dickinson points out, Asheville Coffee Expo has teamed with The Bright Angle, a local designer-maker collaborative pottery studio, to sell handmade tasting cups for $12 during the event in an effort to cut back on waste.

As Asheville’s overall reputation as a culinary destination continues to gain national attention, Dickinson notes, it only seems natural to think the region’s coffee culture will, too. “This is sort of a logical next step,” she says of the industry. “As Asheville develops a city of tastemakers, it just makes sense that coffee would come up alongside that.”

The Asheville Coffee Expo runs 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at plēb urban winery, 289 Lyman St. For tickets, visit

Puerto Rican culture celebration

BeLoved Asheville, a volunteer-run nonprofit that seeks to empower community, will host a potluck dinner celebrating Puerto Rican culture on Friday, Sept. 27. The evening will include cooking and history lessons, as well as art displays, storytelling, music and dance. Attendees are asked to bring an object, a dish or a story to share that highlights their pride in being Puerto Rican.

The potluck celebration runs 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at BeLoved Asheville’s Liberation Station, 10 N. Market St. For more information, visit

Dinner at Green Toe Ground Farm

Pickled vegetables, skewers of lamb and sweet pasta-encased cheesecake will be on the menu at Green Toe Ground Farm’s upcoming farm dinner. The meal will be prepared by South Carolina chef Dan Williams, with desserts made by pastry chef Ashley Capps of Buxton Hall Barbecue. Tickets are $75. Correction, Sept. 29: Proceeds benefit a N.C. farmer of color from Soul Fire Farm’s Reparations Map for Black-Indigenous Farmers project.

Dinner starts at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at Green Toe Ground Farm, 411 Pope Road, Burnsville. For tickets, visit

Autumn Harvest Candlelight Tea

Asheville Tea Co. and Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen will team up to host the Autumn Harvest Candlelight Tea on Sunday, Sept. 29. The event will include a tea tasting flight of seasonal blends as well as scones and shortbread cookies with jam, honey butter and clotted cream; finger sandwiches and petit-fours-style desserts. Cost is $27.95 per person; reservations are required.

The tea event runs 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen, 1854 Brevard Road. To make reservations, visit

Sunflower Diner grand opening

On Sunday, Sept. 29, Sunflower Diner will host a grand opening brunch inside West Village Market & Deli. The diner replaces Farmacy Juice and Tonic Bar, which closed earlier this month. According to a press release, Sunflower Diner will offer classic breakfast and lunch options, such as Belgian waffles, homemade biscuits and veggie burgers, with a focus on local food sources that are organic and non-GMO.

Sunflower Diner’s grand opening runs 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at 771 Haywood Road. For more information, visit

Chef Showdown finals

On Monday, Sept. 30, chefs and mixologist from across the state will compete in Durham in the fourth annual N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association Chef Showdown final event. Asheville will be represented by chef Richard Gras of Omni Grove Park Inn, pastry chef Ryan Stipp of Omni Grove Park Inn and Johnny Burritt of Apothecary Beverage Co. Local mixologist and last year’s 2018 NCRLA Mixologist of the Year, Joe Nicol, will be a judge.

The competition runs 6-8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, at Angus Barn’s Bay 7 in Durham. For details, visit

Filipino pop-up series

Gan Shan West’s Sunday Filipino pop-up dinners continue through October. The series, Love Songs, is led by Silver Cousler, Gan Shan West’s chef de cuisine, and Cherry locovozzi. The menu changes weekly, but each dinner offers roughly 10 dish options and an all-natural wine list designed by locovozzi. Plates cost $10-$40. Reservations are not required.

Love Songs runs 6-10 p.m. Sundays through October at Gan Shan West, 285 Haywood Road. For more information, visit

The S&W Market

A new food hall, The S&W Market, will launch next spring inside downtown’s historic S&W Building. Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani Restaurant Group will act as the market’s culinary consultant. According to a recent press release, the two-story space will include four Asheville-based food stalls, and Highland Brewing Co. will have bars on the building’s main floor and mezzanine. More updates will follow as the opening nears.

The S&W Market is slated to open in the spring at 56 Patton Ave.


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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6 thoughts on “Small bites: Asheville Coffee Expo returns to the RAD

  1. Jay

    LOL!!!12$!!? It was free the past 2 years….typical Asheville. I’ll protest by NOT going

  2. Jay

    $14 ticketed event ($17 at the door) PLUS 14$ for a cup to cut down on waste….. EYE ROLL and a SIGH

    • SpareChange

      “I’ll protest by NOT going.”

      I’m sure you’ll be greatly missed. However, unfortunately what does increasingly seem to be “typical Asheville,” is people whining and moaning about things without even possessing the facts. If you had taken just a moment to actually look at the website for the event, you would have discovered that just like past years, the street fair is free. The ticketed events are for a sampling of coffees from 20 regional roasters, a series of five seminars, an espresso bar, and some coffee brewing and tasting competitions. Given the number of people and businesses involved, the modest $14 cost for some of those events probably doesn’t do more than defray some of the expense. Jheesh!

      • Jay

        yep I DID “actually look at the website for the event”; AND attended all previous years… which again was FREE
        -sampling of coffees from 20 regional roasters
        was FREE
        -an espresso bar, and some coffee brewing and tasting competitions.
        was FREE
        -a series of five seminars?
        sit thru that and when would u have time to sample coffees from 20 regional roasters?

        EYE ROLL and a SIGH

        • SpareChange

          I get it now. You are going to boycott an event because the businesses and the organizations involved in the event have decided to charge modestly for something which costs them money, but which you want provided for free. Wow, that should bring them to their knees.

  3. Jay

    so; we went since “The event will also offer a free street fair”…..and guess what; couldn’t buy coffee unless you had a wristband! so we left and went to SUMMIT for a coffee…. we tried;

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