Small bites: Double D’s Coffee and Desserts launches ‘readable patio project’

FOLLOW THE RED BRICK ROAD: Karen and Jeff Lazzaro display a pair of bricks that will be added to Double D's readable patio in late September. Photo by Thomas Calder

If you’ve walked Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville at any point in the last 18 years, there’s a good chance you’ve noticed the 1963 Bristol Lodekka double-decker bus on the corner of Aston Street. Between its imposing size and red exterior, it’s kind of hard to miss. Its latest owners, Jeff and Karen Lazzaro, have operated Double D’s Coffee and Desserts out of it since 2009.

Each year, Jeff applies a new coat of paint to maintain the bus’s cherry tone. But this year, in addition to its annual paint job, the couple are looking to redo its brick patio, and they want city residents and businesses to be involved.

The Lazzaros are looking to create a readable patio — bricks inscribed with movie quotes, inspirational sayings, personalized messages and business names. The names, says Jeff Lazzaro, will feature local restaurants and breweries and will comprise the patio’s main walkway leading up to the doorway to the bus. The couple have dubbed it the Walk of Fame. “Everybody’s always asking us where to go, what to do,” Jeff says. “We thought it’d be a good way to showcase the restaurants. … When people ask, we can say, ‘Everybody we recommend is out on our patio.’”

The bricks will be available in two sizes and will cost $75-$160 depending on size and artwork. Thirty percent of the proceeds from brick sales will be divided among three local charities: Meals on Wheels, MANNA FoodBank and RiverLink.

The double-decker’s journey began, not surprisingly, in London, where it was used as a county bus running the Trafalgar Square route. According to Karen, it arrived in the United States by way of  Chicago. In the early 1970s, it made its way to Atlanta, where it was reinvented as a party station known as The Karaoke Bus. In 1999, Greg Bounds bought the bus and drove it to the mountains, parking it at its current location at 41 Biltmore Ave. 

Since its arrival in Asheville, the vehicle has changed hands a few times. Karen notes that Bounds built the supporting wall around the patio, and in 2006, then-owner Nicole Mitzel did major renovations to the bus’s interior, including kitchen updates, adding the vintage chandelier and other décor contributing to the bus’s eclectic vibe. When the Lazzaros bought the bus, they gave it a paint job, restored the back patio and added to the surrounding landscaping.

The Lazzaros, who plan to begin work on the new patio the last week of September, say there are roughly 1,700 bricks available for the project. Their hope is the readable patio will offer local businesses and residents a chance to become part of the giant red bus’s ongoing journey.

Double D’s Coffee and Desserts is at 41 Biltmore Ave. For details and to buy a brick, visit avl.mx/3yn.

Doc Chey’s announces closing

After 15 years, Doc Chey’s Noodle House at 37 Biltmore Ave. has announced it will close for good on Sunday, Sept. 3. Beginning Monday, Aug. 7, the restaurant will no longer serve lunch, with hours changing to 4-10 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Sunday and 4-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday until the closing.

“It’s a hard business to be in. We’ve had a successful run of 15 years — we want to go out that way,” says co-owner Ellie Feinroth. She notes that the growth in Asheville’s food scene has made it difficult at times to find and retain staff.

Nevertheless, she expressed her gratitude for those who contributed to the popularity of Doc Chey’s over the years. “Without our staff and our customers, we could never have made it this long,” she says.  Feinroth, who also owns the building, has no current plans for the space’s future.

FEAST in the Sunny Point Garden

Sunny Point Café will team up with Oskar Blues Brewery and Riverbend Malt House for a table-to-farm dinner in the restaurant’s on-site garden on Monday, Aug. 7. The gathering will benefit FEAST, a nonprofit organization that works with local schools to educate students about cooking and gardening skills. The menu will feature dishes made with locally raised pork, farm-fresh sides, Sunny Point’s signature desserts and a selection of beers from Oskar Blues. FEAST co-founder Cathy Cleary considers the three partnering organizations “wonderful supporters of our cause to provide kids with edible education and ensure that they have healthy food available to them.”

FEAST in the Sunny Point Garden runs 5:30-8 p.m., Monday, Aug. 7, at Sunny Point Café, 626 Haywood Road. Seating is limited. Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased at avl.mx/3yo.

Farm to Fender Cafe opens

Farm to Fender will officially celebrate its transition from food truck to brick-and-mortar eatery with the grand opening of its new Sweeten Creek Road space on Wednesday, Aug. 9. The gathering will include complimentary bar snacks, watermelon bellinis and craft beer half-pours, as well as door prizes and live bluegrass music, according to the event’s Facebook page.

Farm to Fender Cafe is at 3080 Sweeten Creek Road. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. For details on the grand opening, visit avl.mx/3yp.

Knife meets pen at the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts

Now entering its 13th year, chef Susi Gott Seguret‘s Seasonal School of Culinary Arts will host its next weeklong session at its home base of Warren Wilson College. This year’s theme is the pairing of knife and pen, with chefs and writers leading classes throughout the week. In addition to Seguret, instructors will include Katie Button of Curate and Nightbell, Green Opportunities Kitchen Ready program co-founder Mark Rosenstein, William Dissen of The Market Place, Joe Scully of Corner Kitchen and Chestnut, Graham House of Sovereign Remedies, Jason Roy of Biscuit Head, Log Cabin Cooking author Barbara Swell, Eat Your Yard! author Nan Chase and master distiller Troy Ball of Asheville Distilling Co.

The session takes place from Sunday, Aug. 6, to Saturday, Aug. 12. Participants can sign up for the entire week or choose day-to-day registration. For details, visit schoolofculinaryarts.org.

 

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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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