Small bites: Poppy popcorn shop comes to Merrimon Avenue

POP ART: Although Ginger Frank's new popcorn store, Poppy, doesn't open until Thursday, Oct. 9, things have already been popping at her Merrimon Avenue shop. Among other projects, she donated 800 bags of her handmade goodies for walkers at last weekend's JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes at UNCA. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Ginger Frank is about to open a business that her kids can really get behind. The East Asheville mother of two is launching Poppy, Asheville’s first popcorn shop, in Merrimon Square this week.

Poppy will offer 15 regular flavors to start, both savory and sweet. Her Chicago mix is a rich blend of caramel and cheddar corn, inspired by a favorite flavor at Garrett Popcorn Shop in Chicago. A triple-chocolate caramel variety is like a snackable candy. (Warning: It’s addictive!) The rosemary-olive oil corn sounds simple but is a standout among the savories, with just the perfect balance of herb flavor and umami. “This has been everybody’s favorite so far,” says Frank.

Poppy will also feature inventive flavor combinations like lemon-lavender and Thai spice, with ever-changing flavors of the week and seasonal goodies like pumpkin pie, apple-cinnamon, peppermint bark and eggnog.

Frank uses only non-GMO popcorn, which she pops in coconut oil. As for other ingredients, she says 85 percent of them are all-natural at this point, and she’s striving to get to get to 100 percent, with plans to source herbs and other items from local farms.

Popcorn will be sold in various sizes of bags and tins. Prices for bags will be in the $5-$9 range, depending on flavor and size. Tins start at about $20 and go all the way up to $90 for a 5-gallon bucket, and they can be individualized for personal or corporate gift-giving. Refills on tins are half-price.

Frank had a little pushcart custom-built so she can begin selling her popcorn at local tailgate markets and events. She is especially interested in helping raise funds for area schools.

Poppy will be open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday starting with a grand opening celebration on Thursday, Oct. 9. Frank will give away free bags of her handmade popcorn all day during the event.

Poppy, 640 Merrimon Ave., Suite 201 (upstairs next to Urban Burrito);


Chocolate for a cause

This month, the Chocolate Fetish is again observing Domestic Violence Awareness Month with its limited-edition chocolate high-heel shoes. One hundred percent of proceeds from sales of the shoes benefit Helpmate, a local organization that provides support to survivors of domestic violence. The hand-decorated, life-size shoes are available in milk or dark chocolate at both the downtown store and online. The cost is $32.95.

The Chocolate Fetish, 36 Haywood St.;

New Weaverville bookstore and café

Norbury Books and Café in Weaverville will celebrate its grand opening with an open house event 2-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11. The bookstore features used books of all genres, including many Spanish-language, children’s and mystery titles. The café offers a variety of loose-leaf teas, French-press coffee to order, house-made sandwiches and soups, and desserts that are baked in-house daily. The open house will feature live music, refreshments, wine tastings and children’s arts and crafts.

Norbury Books and Café, 62-C N. Main St., Weaverville. 484-1542


New brunch format at Chestnut

Chestnut co-owner Joe Scully has decided to make some changes to his restaurant’s Saturday brunch, a service that rolled out last April. According to a press release, in response to customer demand, Chestnut now features a selection of lunch items — such as fried calamari and kale salad, a Reuben sandwich and pesto shrimp salad — on the brunch menu, which is offered 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. Breakfast lovers need not worry — plenty of classic morning items are still available, including the popular chestnut-glazed doughnuts.

Look for the new menu at


Asheville Oktoberfest

Asheville Oktoberfest returns this weekend to Coxe Avenue with its annual dose of beer samples, games and oompah music. Games will include favorites like the stein race and keg-rolling as well as some new offerings, and music will come from The Stratton Mountain Boys oompah band. Tickets are $40 and are likely to sell out. The event is for ages 21 and older, but designated drivers are welcome and can buy a discounted ticket for $15. This year’s breweries include many from town as well as a few not often seen in Asheville such as Appalachian Mountain Brewery and Boojum Brewing Co.

Asheville Oktoberfest, Coxe Avenue, 1-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11;



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