Small bites: Rezaz hosts a grand reopening

THE NEXT CHAPTER: Rezaz owners Brian and Laura Smith are pictured in front of one of the new additions to their restaurant. The wine wall was built by Asheville furniture designer Nathan Hoeh. Photo by Thomas Calder

“We feel that restaurants need to be reborn, or they risk being inconsequential,” says Brian Smith, chef and co-owner of Rezaz.

In 2015, he and his wife, Laura, bought the Biltmore Village business after working in its kitchen for several years. From the beginning, Brian notes, it’s been important for the couple to respect the restaurant’s past while looking toward the future.

After closing for renovations on Feb. 18, the restaurant, which was established by Reza Satayesh in 2002, reopened with a fresh look on March 6. Walls have come down to expand the dining room, bar and private dining space.

The menu has also been updated. “We’re calling it pan-Mediterranean cuisine,” Brian explains. Regional dishes from Israel, Morocco, France, Italy, Greece and Spain are featured, with highlights such as Andalusian octopus and scallop ceviche, Israeli chicken soup and roasted rack of lamb.

Rezaz also now offers a daily 3-5 p.m. Mangia Pasta Hour. “It’s for people who want to come in for a glass of wine or a snack between lunch and dinner,” says Brian. Bowls are $12 with a $2 country garlic bread side. Options include bucatini and tomato basil sugo, orecchiette and Sicilian puttanesca, gemelli and veal Bolognese, and fettuccini and spinach Parmesan fonduta.

Another addition is a late-evening menu, served 8:30-10 p.m., which features quick snacks, salads and pastas.

To celebrate its grand reopening, Rezaz will host an all-day benefit on Thursday, March 8. That day, 15 percent of total sales will be donated to Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.

The same evening, the restaurant will also host two separate events: A five-course Hi-Wire beer pairing dinner is scheduled 6-8 p.m (tickets are $51.68), and a five-course chef’s tasting that highlights the new pan-Mediterranean menu takes place 6-9 p.m. (tickets are $81.24). Both events also benefit the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

In many ways, the ongoing evolution of Rezaz reflects its owners’ personal and professional growth. “This is where we met. This is where we fell in love. This is who we are,” says Laura. “We obviously want to pay homage to what Rezaz is as an institution and what it was and what it’s going to be. But to make something succeed and be what it needs to be, changes have to happen.”

Rezaz is at 28 Hendersonville Road. For hours and tickets to the upcoming events, visit

Noble Cider’s third annual chili cook-off

Noble Cider will host its third annual chili cook-off, benefiting Girls on the Run of WNC. Founded in 2002, Girls on the Run is a nonprofit that aims to inspire girls in grades three to eight to be joyful, healthy and confident through activity-based programs. This year’s cookoff will include the following categories: traditional, vegetarian and most creative. All proceeds will benefit the nonprofit’s 1,000 Girls Campaign, which seeks to raise funds to cover program’s costs for 1,000 participants.

Noble Cider’s Chili Cookoff runs 3-5 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at Noble Cider, 356 New Leicester Highway. Tickets are $10 to sample entries and $15 to compete. For tickets and more information, visit

Sunday pop-ups at Gan Shan West

On Sunday, March 11, Gan Shan West will host its latest Japanese Izakaya 2018 Sunday Pop-up. The ongoing series takes place every other Sunday and features casual Japanese small plates with Khan Kogure of Charinko Catering. The menu will vary at each pop-up. (See “Quick Dish: Q&A with Khan Kogure of Charinko,” Nov. 5, 2017, Xpress)

Gan Shan West is at 285 Haywood Road. The pop-up series happens 4-9 p.m. on alternating Sundays. For the latest menu, visit

The Inn on Biltmore Estate earns accolades

For a 17th consecutive year, Forbes Travel Guide has recognized The Inn on Biltmore Estate as a four-star hotel. Forbes Travel Guide’s anonymous professional inspectors also awarded the Dining Room at the Inn on Biltmore Estate as a four-star restaurant. In a press release, the inn’s general manager, Charles Thompson, states: “We are especially proud to have received four-star status at the Dining Room for the first time this year. … This designation comes down to maintaining an incredible level of consistency in the finest of details — everything from perfection in lighting to unparalleled quality in cuisine to warmth of the plate.”

For more, visit

Edna’s of Asheville has closed

After six years in business, Edna’s of Asheville has closed. In an email exchange with Xpress, owners Mike Zukoski and Tom Cash write: “Our fondest memories are of our devoted staff and customers over the years. One of the most special memories was at our grand opening when Edna, our pug, dressed in royal attire, sashayed down the pink runway to the sound of ‘I’m Sexy and I Know It’ to officially open Edna’s. She was better than RuPaul that night!” The couple have no future plans in the food and beverage industry but intend to remain active in Asheville’s spiritual, arts and LGBTQ communities.

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.

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