Small bites: Cafe Yuzu celebrates its grand opening in the RAD

THE ARTIST AND THE BAKER: Cynthia Pierce and Akira Satake bring their two passions — ceramics and baked goods — to Riverview Station with the launch of Gallery Mugen.
THE ARTIST AND THE BAKER: Cynthia Pierce and Akira Satake bring their two passions — ceramics and baked goods — to Riverview Station with the launch of Gallery Mugen. Photo by Thomas Calder

In Japanese, the word “mugen” means “infinite.” It’s a fitting name for Gallery Mugen, which is moving into an infinitely bigger space inside Riverview Station on Lyman Street. Formerly located in the Cotton Mill Studios, the gallery is owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Akira Satake and Cynthia Pierce. The new space is almost twice as big, notes Pierce, who’ll continue to operate Café Yuzu (formerly Yuzu Patisserie) inside the gallery; meanwhile, Satake, a ceramic artist, “will finally have workspace and adequate studio space,” she says.

The Sunday, July 2, grand opening, which coincides with Satake’s birthday, will feature traditional Japanese dishes prepared by the artist, including soba salad (a combination of soba noodles, edamame, carrots and spinach), as well as chirashizushi (aka “scattered sushi”). Pierce will supply an assortment of French pastries. Beer, wine and birthday cake will also be available. “It’s going to be a party,” says Pierce. “We’re not selling anything: We’re going to be providing food and drinks for everyone who comes.”

Café Yuzu will occupy the center of the new 1,700-square-foot space. As in the former location, the menu will feature Pierce’s signature pastries, cakes, cookies and pies. But there’ll also be offerings from Vortex Doughnuts, French Broad Chocolates, the OWL Bakery and Dobra Tea. All four businesses, says Pierce, share Café Yuzu’s dedication to seasonal ingredients from local markets. Prices will range from $2-$8 for sweet and savory pastries; coffee and tea will run $3 per cup ($2 for those bringing their own mug).

The café’s arrival marks the latest addition to a burgeoning food scene at the south end of the River Arts District. Along with Café Yuzu, Pierce highlights the recent additions of 12 Bones Smokehouse and The Wedge at Foundation, both within walking distance of Gallery Mugen.

“Above and beyond that, there’s some amazing artists in Riverview Station,” she says. “One of the hopes is that they’ll be getting more exposure, too.”

Gallery Mugen is at 191 Lyman St. The grand opening will run from 5-8 p.m. Sunday, July 2. Gallery hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Café Yuzu is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, visit gallerymugen.com.

Make America Small Again

Patio games, North Carolina beers and barbecue will all be in the mix at Knife & Fork’s Fourth of July block party, Make American Small Again. Besides celebrating the country’s independence, the gathering will salute small-town autonomy and freedom. The event will be hosted and curated by chef Nate Allen, a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Southeast Award last year. Along with the whole-pig barbecue, guests will be offered a mix of locally grown fruits, vegetables and grains. The Hot Seats, a string band from Virginia, will perform; there’ll also be fireworks and a sparkling toast. The VIP package includes cocktails and a batch of cheese biscuits to take home.

Make America Small Again will run from 1-10 p.m. Tuesday, July 4, at 61 Locust St., Spruce Pine. The event is pet-friendly. General admission is $75, VIP package $125, children ages 6-12 $15, free for kids 5 and younger. To learn more or to purchase tickets, visit avl.mx/3ve.

Tiki Thursdays return to Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian

“Tiki Thursdays were an inspiration I brought with me from my years living in Los Angeles, where one of the earliest and best-known tiki bars, Don the Beachcomber, was created,” says Eric Scheffer, executive chef and owner of Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian. On that day, the North Asheville restaurant will offer an assortment of island-themed cocktails featuring local rum from H&H Distillery, including the mai tai, perfect storm, fog cutter, Bahia and typhoon. In addition, notes Scheffer, bar manager Josh Marsh will serve up a “special cocktail” each week. Tiki Thursdays will continue through Labor Day, though perhaps that last one ought to be called Tiki Monday.

Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian is at 641 Merrimon Ave. The weekly Tiki Thursdays run from 5-9:30 p.m. and will wrap up on Monday, Sept. 4. All drinks are $9; tiki mugs are available for $4. For more information, visit vinniesitalian.com.

Early summer menu at Bone & Broth

Fried bologna sliders, North Carolina oysters and fried chicken with a house-made biscuit, white gravy and chowchow are among the new items available on the Bone & Broth’s early summer menu. The restaurant plans to expand the selection in the coming weeks. The full summer menu will feature such options as tea-brined duck breast, a braised pork shoulder and house-made ravioli stuffed with wild-foraged nettles and ricotta. “Chef Cate Smedley and I are extremely proud of the menu she’s put together, and we’re very much looking forward to sharing her unique North Carolina-centric culinary perspective with Asheville,” says Nathan Welling, Bone & Broth’s manager.

Bone & Broth is at 94 Charlotte St. Hours are 4-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 4-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, go to boneandbrothasheville.com.

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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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