Small bites: Pet Wants launches in Asheville

TOP DOGS: Christian Ray recently launched Pet Wants Asheville. The mobile franchise offers fresh pet food, home delivered. Also featured are Ray's dogs, Bean, left, and Biscuit. Photo by April Shamel

Yes, Asheville loves its beer, local art and farm-to-table restaurants. But city residents also love their pets. So it only makes sense that dog and cat owners might be interested in healthy food options for their four-legged companions.

That was certainly the case for local resident Christian Ray, who was seeking natural food options for his two dogs, Bean and Biscuit, both of whom compete in flyball, a canine relay race. His research led him to Pet Wants, a national franchise based out of Cincinnati. Soon after finding the brand, Ray took his enthusiasm for the product a step further, launching his own mobile franchise, Pet Wants Asheville, serving all of Buncombe County.

“We have kibbles that really can change a dog or cat’s health,” claims Ray, who offers personal delivery throughout the county.

All products, notes the owner, are made with fresh, quality and nutritious ingredients, including salmon, chicken, lamb and brown rice. The company, he adds, does not use corn, wheat, soy, sugar or animal byproducts in its recipes.

By year’s end, Ray hopes to open a retail space and has plans to launch the Blue Ridge Flyball Club for dogs. He’s actively searching for warehouse space to host regular practices (interested building owners can contact him directly at

In the meantime, he continues to hand-deliver dog and cat food orders, as well as treats and supplements to local animal owners throughout Buncombe County.

To learn more about Pet Wants Asheville and to place orders, visit

Black Bear Brunch

On Saturday, Jan. 18, Black Bear BBQ will host a brunch pop-up featuring dishes including sausage balls, corned beef and egg, St. Louis ribs with red-eye gravy, and smoked trout toast. Prices range from $5-$25.

Brunch runs 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Black Bear BBQ, 800 Fairview Road, Suite C8. To learn more, visit

Ginseng tasting and auction

The N.C. Ginseng Association is kicking off 2020 with a ginseng tasting and auction on Saturday, Jan. 18. Samples of locally made ginseng honey and ginseng truffles will be available, and items will be for sale at the event. Ginseng farmers will be available to answer questions from the public. Admission is $20 and includes a one-year membership to the NCGA.

The tasting and auction run 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Warren Wilson College-Upper Ransom Hall, 701 Warren Wilson Road, Swannanoa. To learn more, visit

Spaghetti dinner fundraiser

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Henderson County will host a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 18, featuring Italian salad, garlic bread and angel hair pasta with iced tea or water. Tickets are $10. Proceeds will support the organization’s ongoing mission to transform children’s lives through one-on-one mentoring relationships.

The dinner runs 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Three Chopt Sandwich Shoppe, 103 Third Ave. E., Hendersonville. For details and tickets, visit

Tea Discovery Workshop

Whether you’re a tea connoisseur or neophyte, all are welcome at Dobra Tea Asheville’s Sunday, Jan. 19, Tea Discovery Workshop. Samples will be served from around the world followed by discussions on tea production, regions of origin, brewing methods and tasting notes. Tickets are $20.

The workshop runs 9-11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at Dobra Tea Asheville, 78 N. Lexington Ave. To learn more, visit

Bone & Broth Italian wine dinner

Metro Wines will team up on Monday, Jan. 20, with Bone & Broth for La Cena, an Italian wine dinner hosted by Volio Fine Wine Imports. Highlights from the four-course menu include grilled squid salad, mushroom gnocchi and biscotti with crème. The wine pairings will include Fattoria Poggerino Chianti Classico 2015, Ventisei Rosato Tocana 2018 and Cascina san Lorenzo Moscato d’Asti 2018. In a press release, Gina Trippi, co-owner of Metro Wines says, “We are all delighted to finally bring Italian cuisine to Charlotte Street.” Tickets are $80, including tax and gratuity.

Dinner starts at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, at Bone & Broth, 94 Charlotte St. To purchase tickets, visit

Closed: Iannucci’s Pizzeria & Restaurant

After 43 years in business, Iannucci’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant closed on Dec. 31. “As my children get older, I want to see them grow and experience life with them,” said owner Nick Iannucci in a video posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page. Iannucci purchased the restaurant from his father, founder John Iannucci, in 2015. Regulars of the pizzeria shared memories and well-wishes on the eatery’s Facebook page. “My family will surely miss Iannucci’s,” wrote patron Kelly Kiser McDill. “Thanks for providing a family environment, delicious food and great support for the community.”

Remembering Frank Palmeri

Frank Palmeri, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native who founded the Frank’s Roman Pizza restaurants in Asheville in the late 1970s, died Dec. 29. Funeral services were held Jan. 4 at St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church. In his obituary, the Palmeri family thanked the Asheville community for its years of support. “Frank loved serving everyone who came in for first dates, family movie nights, anniversaries and every meal in between,” his obituary reads. “In lieu of flowers, kindly support local small-business owners and their hard work, long hours, big dreams and gutsy decision to take risks to get ahead.”


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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.

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