Small bites: Open Oven launches in Black Mountain

BRICK AND MORTAR: Steven and Stephanie Paulson will soon celebrate the launch of their latest eatery, Open Oven. Known locally for their food truck, Melt Your Heart, the couple's latest spot is a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Black Mountain. Photo by Thomas Calder

Melt Your Heart owners Steven and Stephanie Paulson haven’t given up on the road. Their company’s two food trucks continue to roam the Asheville streets. But with their latest project, Open Oven, the couple have rolled out their first brick-and-mortar enterprise.

The Paulsons describe their new Black Mountain spot, which at press time was slated to open on Thursday, Oct. 24, as an upscale brunch restaurant with a wide range of menu options, including chicken and waffles, savory shrimp crepes and a vegan-friendly cauliflower scrambler. Prices are in the $6-$14 range.

Fans of the food truck will also find a select number of Melt Your Heart grilled cheese options. The Firebird (a turkey melt paired with bacon, cheddar, tomato and chipotle mayo) and The Heart Attack (a smoked gouda pimento cheese sandwich with bacon) are among the carryovers.

In addition to these choices, Open Oven will offer fresh baked breads and pastries, as a nod to the site’s former tenant, Black Mountain Bakery.

After eight years behind the wheel, Steven says he and Stephanie have “been slowly working our way up to this point.” Black Mountain, he notes, is not merely the site of their new business but also their new home. The couple, along with their two young daughters, live near the restaurant.

As new residents to the area, the Paulsons hope Open Oven will serve as a hub for the community. “We really want the restaurant to be a popular meeting spot in town,” says Steven.

“We want it to be the town’s little breakfast spot,” Jennifer adds.

Open Oven is at 102 Church St., Black Mountain. Hours will be 7 a.m.-2 p.m. daily.

Beer & Bites

Wicked Weed will host Beer & Bites in its downstairs bar the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 24, featuring small plates and two Old World-style beers. Menu highlights include chips and beer cheese, bison burgers, fried chicken sandwiches and soft pretzels. Proceeds benefit Pisgah Legal Services, a local nonprofit that provides free civil legal aid to disadvantaged children, seniors, at-risk families and victims of domestic violence. Tickets are $15.

The event runs noon-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at Wicked Weed Brewing Pub, 91 Biltmore Ave. To purchase tickets, visit

Murder mystery dinner

In Burnsville, Nu Wray Inn and Parkway Playhouse will team up for the murder mystery dinner theater event “Perish the Thought” on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 and 26. The evening includes a three-course meal prepared by Twisted Laurel. Chicken Marsala, mashed potatoes and grilled mixed vegetables are among the menu’s highlights. Tickets are $50 per person, plus tax. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase.

Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. (with cash bar service beginning at 5:30 p.m.), Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 and 26, at Nu Wray Inn, 102 Town Square, Burnsville. For tickets, call 828-682-2329. For more on the event, visit

Halloween Bash at Pack’s Tavern

Pack’s Tavern will host its 10th annual Halloween Bash on Saturday, Oct. 26. The event will feature live music by the Carolina Lowdown Band featuring Jesse Barry, as well as prizes for best costumes. There is a $5 cover charge.

The bash begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at Pack’s Tavern, 20 S. Spruce St. For more information, visit

Welcome to Oz

On Sunday, Oct. 27, The Blind Pig Supper club will host its latest dinner in honor of the 80-year anniversary of the debut of the film The Wizard of Oz. The evening will include a seven-course meal and a Halloween costume contest. The Asheville location will be revealed to guests as the date nears. The menu remains undisclosed. Seating is limited. Tickets are $65.

The dinner runs 5-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. To purchase tickets, visit

The Dark Side of Wine

The Asheville School of Wine at Metro Wines will host its latest rendition of The Dark Side of Wine. The class, led by Andy Hale, focuses on additives and manipulation in winemaking. Samples will be served. The course will also include the latest information on labeling laws for wine bottles. Tickets are $25.

The class runs 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte St. To purchase tickets, visit

Day of the Dead dinner

Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen will host a four-course, family-style dinner celebrating the Day of the Dead. Menu highlights include roast duck and beet tostada with marigold, turkey pepian with pork cracklins and Mexican hot chocolate cake with caramel flan and cinnamon churro fillings. Tickets are $45, or $65 with wine pairings. Reservations are required.

The dinner begins 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Ivory Road, 1854 Brevard Road, Arden. For details, visit For reservations, call 828-676-3870.

IAM holiday food drive

The Interfaith Assistance Ministry is now accepting turkeys, hams, potatoes, peas, pie crusts, pie filling, cake mixes and other holiday side items for its 2019 holiday food drive. Last year, the group provided holiday meals to nearly 1,500 Henderson County residents in need. Donations will be accepted through Friday, Dec. 20.

Donations are accepted Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at 310 Freeman St. To learn more, visit

New tea and coffee shops

Möge Tea recently opened at 5 Biltmore Ave, taking over the site previously occupied by Jimmy John’s. The global bubble tea brand began in China and now has 300 locations worldwide. Flavors vary from fresh fruit tea to bubble milk tea. Another new arrival, Olarié Coffeehouse, launched on Oct. 4 at 45 S. French Broad Ave. Stumptown Coffee is the business’s primary roaster. The coffeehouse is also currently working with Wood Burl Coffee and Cooperative Coffee.

For more on Möge Tea, visit For more on Olarié Coffeehouse, visit


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.