Small Bites: Pack’s Tavern celebrates five years

CHEERS TO FIVE YEARS: From left, Pack's Tavern owners Tom Israel, managing partner Steve Wright, executive chef Edwin French and owner Ross Franklin toast the downtown restaurant's fifth anniversary with pints of Pack's Tavern ESB. The beer was brewed specially for the occasion by Pisgah Brewing Co. Photo courtesy of Pack's Tavern

Pack’s Tavern celebrates five years

Wood is the traditional gift to commemorate a five-year anniversary. So it’s fitting that Pack’s Tavern will celebrate its fifth year in business with the launch of an expanded menu that highlights the capabilities of its brand-new wood-fired oven.

The restaurant, located in the historic Hayes & Hopson building next to Pack Square Park, will roll out the new menu items during an all-day anniversary party on Thursday, June 18. To the current list of appetizers, burgers and specialty entrees, chef Edwin French plans to add a selection of wood-fired pizzas and grinders, including gluten-free and veggie options.

French, who has previously worked with a wood-fired oven at The Bistro on Biltmore Estate, says he is happy to be at it again. “What man doesn’t like to play with fire?” he quips. “And there’s an ambience piece to it — you can smell the wood as it’s cooking, and the diners can see the oven and watch the cooks working. And everybody loves pizza; it just adds something new and fresh to what we’re already doing.”

Pizza offerings will include margherita, wild mushroom and pesto-chicken varieties as well as daily specials and a build-your-own option. French has developed his own thin-and-crispy crust recipe using extra-fine, double-zero flour, and he has created a gluten-free crust as well. Grinder choices will include a tuna melt, a hot Italian and a veggie.  He mentions plans to eventually source the sandwich bread from a local baker or begin making it in-house.

To help celebrate the event, Pisgah Brewing Co. has created a special beer — Pack’s Tavern ESB brewed with toasted malt and English ale yeast — which will be on special throughout the anniversary party. There will also be pizza and drink specials, free birthday cake (while supplies last) and prize drawings. Local musicians Jeff Anders and Jason Whitaker will provide music in the evening. Ten percent of the day’s sales will benefit Food Connection, an Asheville charity that connects surplus food from restaurants to organizations that feed the homeless, aged and low-income populations.

Pack’s Tavern is at 20 S. Spruce St. The anniversary celebration starts at 11 a.m. and continues all day and evening until closing. For details, visit packstavern.com.

Father’s Day brunch buffet

There doesn’t seem to be quite the push among restaurants to offer Father’s Day specials as there is for Mother’s Day, but Season’s at Highland Lake in Flat Rock doesn’t leave out the dads. The restaurant at the Highland Lake Inn & Resort will offer a Father’s Day brunch buffet Sunday, June 21, which will feature house-made soups, a salad bar, seasonal side items, fruit and desserts along with breakfast and lunch entrees. Breakfast selections will include dishes such as potato and chorizo hash with poached eggs and salsa, and peach and cream-stuffed crème brulée French toast with maple syrup. Hand-carved garlic and thyme-encrusted New York strip with horseradish cream and au jus will be among lunch entree choices, along with bourbon-mustard-glazed cedar plank salmon with roasted corn, lime relish and chimichurri. Live music will be provided by Bruce Lang.

Season’s at Highland Lake is at 86 Lily Pad Lane, Flat Rock. The Father’s Day brunch buffet will be available 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, June 21. Cost is $28.95 for adults, $14.50 for children ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and younger. There is a 10 percent senior discount. Call 696-9094 for reservations. 
For more details, visit HLInn.com/seasons/.

Open house at Hickory Nut Gap Farm

Construction is underway on a new kitchen and butchery at Hickory Nut Gap Farm. The expansion, scheduled for completion in September, will enable the Fairview farm to butcher its own animals each week to offer custom-cut meat; cater events; produce baked goods, new sausage blends and meat stocks; and serve deli sandwiches and smoked barbecue. To celebrate its new endeavors, the farm will host an open house on Saturday, June 20, so members of the community can view the new projects. Also, the owners, Jamie and Amy Ager, have launched an online crowdfunding campaign through Barnraiser in hopes of raising $25,000 by the end of June. Backers will receive a variety of rewards from the farm.

The open house is 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, June 20, at Hickory Nut Gap Farm, 57 Sugar Hollow Road, Fairview. Tours are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Burgers and hot dogs will be served 11 a.m.-1 p.m.. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to support the expansion project. To donate online, visit Hickory Nut Gap Farm’s crowdfunding page at Barnraiser.us.

Mamacita’s announces Charlotte Street location

Biltmore Avenue taco spot Mamacita’s announced plans on June 6 to open a second location at 132 Charlotte St. The new restaurant will be in the distinctive stone building that was occupied for many years by Two Guys Hoagies, which recently closed. A late-summer launch is planned. More details to come.

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About Gina Smith
Gina Smith is the Mountain Xpress Food section editor and writer. She can be reached at gsmith@mountainx.com.

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