Small bites: Burger and Brew Nights at Isis

BURGER WITH A SIDE OF MUSIC: In its first year competing at the WNC Battle of the Burger, Kitchen 743 at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall took home the win with its Isis burger. The eatery celebrates the victory this month with weekly Burger and Beer Nights. Photo by Josephine Woody

In August, Kitchen 743 at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall competed for the first time in the annual WNC Battle of the Burger. By day’s end, the Isis burger — with its Hickory Nut Gap beef, heirloom tomatoes, baby romaine, shallot aioli, aged sharp cheddar and Nueske’s bacon on a homemade roll — was crowned the winner. “We didn’t go into it thinking about winning,” says co-owner Josephine Woody. “We wanted to get it out there that we have a burger on the menu, which goes hand in hand with a good show.”

In addition to highlighting the menu option, Woody says Isis signed up for the contest to promote the restaurant’s evolution. Last year, the venue’s eatery made a series of changes to its menu, kitchen and name. The owners brought in chef Chris Jones from Charlotte, who created a “more accessible menu,” says Woody. Along with the burger, Kitchen 743 now offers a fried chicken sandwich, open-faced fried grouper sandwich and a number of shared plates.

October marks the restaurant and music hall’s fourth anniversary. To celebrate this milestone along with its Battle of the Burger win, Kitchen 743 is featuring a weekly Friday night special dubbed Burger and Brew Night. For $12, diners will get the award-winning burger and a beer. Woody notes that Kitchen 743 has 30 craft beers to chose from, including local brews from Green Man, French Broad Brewery, Pisgah Brewing, Wicked Weed Brewing and Burial Beer Co.

With its recent victory at Battle of the Burger, the restaurant has also been invited to compete at the nationally televised World Food Championship in Kissimmee, Fla., for the title of World’s Best Burger. A scheduling conflict may prevent Kitchen 743 from participating in the November challenge, but Woody says there’s an open invitation to next year’s competition as well.

Woody reflects on the restaurant’s recent win, recalling slinging burgers in the the August heat while an occasional breeze came off the French Broad River. “I came up with a cheesy line [that day],” she says. “I told people, ‘The burger usually comes with a side of music.’”

Throughout October, Burger and Brew Night will take place every Friday beginning at 5 p.m. at Kitchen 743 at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall, 743 Haywood Road. For additional information, visit isisasheville.com/menus.

MOD Pizza opens in North Asheville

The Seattle-based MOD Pizza chain is now open in the former Exxon station on the corner of Merrimon Avenue and Ottari Road. The restaurant specializes in made-to-order pizzas. “We feel that this concept will resonate with members of the community,” says Matt Jamison, the company’s marketing manager. The shop also offers specialty pizzas, including the Dominic (white sauce, asiago, fresh-chopped basil, red onion, sliced tomatoes and mild sausage), the Mad Dog (mozzarella, pepperoni, mild sausage, ground beef and MOD red sauce), the Caspian (mozzarella, Gorgonzola, barbecue chicken, barbecue sauce and sliced red onions) and the pizza salad, which gives customers the option to create their own salads atop a warm asiago pizza crust. Jamison says guests can expect “a friendly and welcoming environment with a minimal wait time and delicious food.”

MOD Pizza is at 873 Merrimon Ave. Store hours are 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, visit modpizza.com.

Buxton Hall BBQ: Book of Smoke

Award-winning Asheville chef Elliott Moss shares his knowledge on the art of Carolina pit smoking in his new book, Buxton Hall BBQ: Book of Smoke. Readers will find instructions on how to build large and small backyard pits, plus recipes for a variety of main dishes, including pulled pork, wings and ribs. Side dishes are also in the mix, as are desserts. Along with the recipes and instructions, there are more than 100 photos by Cindy Samargia Laun.

Find Buxton Hall BBQ: Book of Smoke at Malaprop’s and other bookstores.

Pop-up dinner for Jargon restaurant

Sean Piper, who plans to open Jargon restaurant in 2017 at 715 Haywood Road, will host a pop-up dinner on Monday, Oct. 24, at Smoky Park Supper Club. The event will offer a preview of what an Eventbrite announcement calls the eatery’s “continental social cuisine” with a 10-course feast paired with wines selected by Metro Wines. Featured menu items will include avocado-arugula bisque with yogurt panna cotta and crab salad and cinnamon-smoked quail stuffed with chanterelle mushroom mousse. Tickets are $100 each and seating is limited.

The Jargon pop-up happens 6-9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, in the Boat House at Smoky Park Supper Club, 350 Riverside Drive. Look for tickets on Eventbrite.com.

Wine and cheese workshop

The Cheese Store of Asheville, in partnership with 5 Walnut Wine & Cheese Bar, will host a wine and cheese workshop on Sunday, Oct. 23. Cheese history, science and pairings will all be topics of discussion. According to The Cheese Store’s announcement, attendees will learn all the “hows and whys of tasting,” in addition to details on why wine lovers and cheeseheads do all the “sniffing [and] swirling” before each sip, nibble and bite.

The workshop runs 1-2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, at 5 Walnut. Tickets are $20. To buy tickets, visit avl.mx/31k. For more information, visit csasheville.com.

Plough to Pantry joins The Laurel of Asheville

Plough to Pantry, which The Laurel of Asheville has been producing as an independent quarterly, will now be included as a section inside The Laurel’s monthly publication. The new section will continue its focus on farm-to-table stories.

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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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