Small bites: OWL Bakery brings Old World treats to the mountains

THE OWL TEAM: "All of the folks that are on the team now found me and OWL and reached out," says owner Susannah Gebhart. "They’re all people that have a lot of life experience outside of baking, and most are bringing that inspiration and different interests into the bakery while getting trained here." Pictured, from left, are Brett Wyatt, Gebhart, Lindsay Black, Rose Caplan and Chrystina Powers. Photo by Thomas Calder

“We don’t have an expansive menu,” says Susannah Gebhart, owner of the artisan bakeshop Old World Levain (OWL) Bakery. “But the menu we do have allows us to play a lot with seasonal flavors.”

This culinary cavorting results in items such as a peach-almond pastry cream with anise hyssop, an herbed chevre, fig and crystallized thyme tartelettini and a kale salad with cucumbers, sweet and spicy nasturtiums, blackberries, almonds and lemon vinaigrette.

Handmade breads and quiches are also in the mix, as is a full espresso bar with beans supplied by Mountain Air Roasting and Black Tap Coffee. Upton Tea Imports provides the shop’s 14 varieties of tea, while its herbals come from Mountain Rose Herbs.

The bakery opened in May, but it wasn’t until July 14 that it announced its grand opening. “We wanted to keep it low-key until we figured out our systems,” Gebhart explains.

OWL’s European-inspired pastries stem from Gebhart’s years abroad. “At that time my [undergraduate] research and personal interests were centered around food cultures, farming communities and foods of the West African diaspora,” she says. “While I was not pursuing … the acquisition of a craft or, specifically, baking, I was immersed in a melange of culinary traditions … which had an enormous impact on my sensibilities around food.”

Since arriving in Western North Carolina in 2006, Gebhart learned the ins and outs of the bakery business by working at both Annie’s Bakery in Sylva and the Montford Walk-In. Now, with a storefront of her own, she has an opportunity to combine the knowledge she’s gained with her own interests and philosophies. “The idea is that we’re using superfresh, gorgeous ingredients grown locally and well, and letting those shine in what we make,” she says.

Variety is another key component to OWL Bakery. Gebhart notes that she doesn’t want to overwhelm the case. “Rotating special pastries on certain days allows us to explore different cultures through our pastries,” she explains.

On Tuesdays, the shop offers pasteis de nata (a Portuguese egg tart). On Wednesday afternoons, Tea Time is served after 1 p.m., which includes European-style tea with a plate of either brown bread and chutney or scones and clotted cream. Cookies, shortbreads and madeleines are among other specialty items, which aren’t offered on assigned days but are part of a weekly rotation.

“We want to create a space where people can come and either have a sense of discovery or a respite from the bustle of life,” Gebhart says. “A space where people can slow down and really engage with what’s in front of them.”

Old World Levain Bakery is at 295 Haywood Road. Store hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. To learn more about the menu, as well as the bakery’s upcoming events and catering options, visit owlbakery.com

Fahrenheit Pizza & Brewhouse

Fahrenheit Pizza & Brewhouse is scheduled to open this week in South Asheville. The new pizzeria can seat up to 48 guests and will offer New York-style pies. “It’s not exactly thin crust, but it’s crispy … not the flimsy, fold over type,” says owner Sam Kloman. In addition to pizza, the restaurant will offer smoked chicken wings (Buffalo, barbecue and garlic-Parmesan flavors), salads, fried pickles and mozzarella sticks. Beer drinkers can choose from 12 self-pour taps. These will include local beers, as well as a few national brands. “In September, we’ll have our own brewing equipment and will be dedicating two of those taps to our own beers,” Kloman adds.

Fahrenheit Pizza & Brewhouse is at 17 Lee St. S. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Dishes run $11-20. For more information, visit avl.mx/2sd.

Cheerwine and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts launch Cheerwine Kreme soft drink

Cheerwine and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts have teamed up to offer a new soft drink called Cheerwine Kreme. According to a media release, Cheerwine Kreme tastes like “Cheerwine with the perfect hint of Krispy Kreme’s Original Glaze.” It will be available in major grocery chains throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Georgia. On Saturday, July 23, Krispy Kreme will offer free samples of the beverage at its North Carolina stores (in addition to its South Carolina stores and Savannah, Ga., locations).

To learn more, visit cheerwine.com and KrispyKreme.com

Granting Wishes with Three Dishes

Red Stag Grill at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village has brought back Granting Wishes with Three Dishes, a popular culinary celebration that raises money for Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina. “[As] always, we are very happy to be working with this important charity once again,” says John Luckett, general manager of Grand Bohemian Hotel, in a media release. A baby-iceberg wedge salad, pan-roasted duck, summer Sunburst Farms trout and chocolate waffle sundae are among items featured on the special three-course menu. The cost is $38, and from each meal purchased, $3 will be donated to the charity. The benefit will conclude with a four-course Hi-Wire Brewing beer dinner at the Red Stag Grill on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Tickets are $58 each, with $5 from each ticket benefitting Make-A-Wish.

Red Stag Grill is at 11 Boston Way in Biltmore Village. Granting Wishes with Three Dishes runs through Wednesday, Aug. 31. Meals can be purchased every day for all reservations booked between 5-6:30 p.m.  The Hi-Wire Brewing beer dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31. To learn more, visit nc.wish.org or call 398-5600 for reservations.

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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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