Small Bites: Peaberry Press brings coffee, smoothies to River Ridge

PRESSING MATTERS: Jarrad and Brittony Miller recently opened Peaberry Press Coffee & Smoothie Bar in East Asheville. The shop is named for a type of coffee cherry that contains one round bean rather than the usual two flattened beans. Photo by Dylan Ireland

Coffee shops are few and far between in East Asheville, so Peaberry Press, which opened recently in the River Ridge Business Center, should be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The small but inviting shop is tucked into a group of businesses on the far northeast end of the shopping complex that refer to themselves collectively as River Ridge Health and Wellness.

With neighbors including Ladies Workout Asheville, Bikram Hot Yoga and River Ridge Wellness Spa, owners Jarrad and Brittony Miller say they focus on offering not only the eponymous peaberry coffee, espresso, frappés and lattes, but also plenty of health-conscious smoothies and protein shakes.

“We all kind of have a goal in mind for total mind-body health,” says Brittony, who previously worked as director of operations for Ladies Workout Asheville before launching Peaberry Press. “We reference each other and recommend each other, and I kind of geared my menu toward the things that they need.”

Coffee by no means falls by the wayside, though. The Millers source their beans from Biltmore Coffee Traders and always feature at least one type of peaberry — a Tanzanian variety is currently featured, but it will soon rotate to a Brazilian bean. Jarrad, who worked as a barista at a small coffee shop in Radford, Va., during his college days, brought with him some recipes from his former job, including one for the cold brew they use in their frappés.

Prices run between $1.75 for a 12-ounce coffee and $4.50 for a 16-ounce frappé. Protein shakes are $4.25, and smoothies will set you back $4.95. Baked goods are available from a few local bakeries, including Fairview’s Ruth & Ranshaw as well as gluten-free offerings from Dolci de Maria. (Brittony says she is experimenting with different items, so the selection could vary from day to day.)

Seating is somewhat limited — a bar along the shop’s front window accommodates some patrons, and there are a few individual chairs available. However, the environment is welcoming and bright. Jarrad actually built some of the furnishings himself. Also, the shop is kid-friendly — the couple frequently bring their daughters, ages 3 and 1, with them to work.

Brittony mentions many plans for the future, including the addition of an outdoor seating area this summer, as well as the possibility of adding an oatmeal bar and bagels to the menu. She says they also envision staying open later in the evenings during the warm months to stage weekly bluegrass jams in the planned patio space.

Peaberry Press is in the River Ridge Business Center, 802 Fairview Road. It is open 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 3-7 p.m Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m.-noon Saturday. It is closed Sunday. 772-0438 or peaberrypress.com

Hopey & Co. plans expansion at downtown store

The discount grocer Hopey & Co. has announced it will significantly expand the space, offerings and services at its downtown market at 45 S. French Broad Ave. The remodeled store will double in size to around 40,000 square feet and will feature espresso, juice and pizza bars; a café and a butcher shop as well as full-service catering and a bakery. The store also has plans to add a bar with extended late-night hours that will serve beer, wine, liquor and food. Construction is underway, and a grand opening is anticipated in spring 2015. Hopey & Co. also has another Asheville location on Sweeten Creek Road and one in Black Mountain.

Dough closes for remodeling

As Dough prepares to embark on its third year in business, the Merrimon Avenue multipurpose food stop plans to close its market and bakery for January. In a press release, Dough’s chef and owner, Brian Ross, says the month of downtime will be used to “refocus on our most important offerings and make some physical changes to the store.” Dough’s schedule of cooking classes, however, will continue throughout the remodeling, and Ross even plans to add some new classes, teachers and types of cuisine. The market and bakery are scheduled to reopen on Monday, Feb. 2.

575-9444 or doughasheville.com

Asheville Mardi Gras Cajun Cook-off

The Asheville Mardi Gras group is gearing up for its annual string of Fat Tuesday-themed events, including the Cajun Cook-off. Slated to take place this year on Sunday, Jan. 25, at the Mill Room, the competition is open to both professional and amateur chefs. The winning Cajun dish will be chosen by attendees at the event — contestants need to supply at least 100 tasting-sized portions of their entry. Participation is limited to 20 competitors.

ashevillemardigras.org.

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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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