Small bites: Soup or Bowl at Blue Ghost Brewing Co.

GO FOR THE GOLD: Blue Ghost Brewing Co. co-founders Zach Horn, left, and Erik Weber pose before the three ladle trophies to be awarded at this year's Soup or Bowl competition. Photo courtesy of Horn

The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles aren’t the only ones competing for a first-place finish this weekend. On Saturday, Feb. 3, Blue Ghost Brewing Co. will host its second Soup or Bowl competition. The soup-off starts at noon, and by 2 p.m. the day’s winner will be awarded the golden ladle trophy. Silver and bronze ladles will also be handed out to second- and third-place finishers.

Tickets for the event are $10 per person and include 2-ounce samples of each entry. The family-friendly event will feature indoor Pig Pin games for kids for $2. Also known as “fowling,” the sport combines football and bowling. All children who enter will receive prizes. All proceeds from admission and games will benefit the Calvary Episcopal Church Food Pantry, which, according to the church’s website, distributed “over 248,180 pounds of food” to the community in 2015.

Last year’s inaugural event featured 11 entries and raised $250 for the nonprofit Only Hope WNC, which serves homeless youths in Henderson County. “I was surprised by the variety of flavors,” Blue Ghost co-owner Zach Horn says of last year’s spread, which included entries such as Thai chicken and rice, she-crab soup, potato leek soup and Fletcher resident Troy Richard’s winning corn and crawfish bisque. Horn predicts a similarly eclectic mix at this year’s gathering.

He also anticipates a larger turnout this time around. Participants are asked to prepare soups in a 2-gallon slow cooker. Bowls and silverware will be provided by the brewery, but competitors should bring their own serving spoon.

“It’s fun because a lot of the entries are regular customers that live close by,” says Horn. “So you get to see them in a different kind of setting — having a good time sharing food and learning about and benefiting a good cause.”

Horn notes that Richard will return to defend his title with a crab and brie soup. And while he won’t offer any predictions on this year’s winning recipe, his forecast for Super Bowl Sunday is a Patriot’s win, 34-24.

Soup or Bowl runs noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at Blue Ghost Brewing Co., 125 Underwood Road. Tickets are $10 at the door. Registration to compete in the soup-off is open until 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2. To enter, email For details, visit

Super Bowl Sunday at The Bywater

The Bywater will host a Super Bowl party, projecting the game inside its enclosed porch. Drink specials will include PBR and a shot of Old Crow for $5, as well as $4 Bloody Marys. A free buffet will include chili, barbecue, cheese dip and chips.

Super Bowl Sunday at The Bywater begins at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, at 796 Riverside Drive. The Bywater is a private club. Annual membership fee is $5 and can be purchased at the bar. For more information, visit

Hickory Tavern of Asheville hosts Super Bowl event

Another Super Bowl option is the Hickory Tavern of Asheville. Reservations are $19.99 per person and include an all-you-can-eat buffet with pulled-pork sliders, hot dogs, build-your-own nachos, chicken tenders and an assortment of desserts. Drink specials will include buckets of domestic beer (five per bucket) for $12.50, as well as a create-your-own Bloody Mary bar.

Hickory Tavern’s Super Bowl gathering begins at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, at 30 Town Square Blvd. To reserve seats, call 828-684-0975. For more information, visit

Football festivities at The Bier Garden

The Bier Garden will host a slew of Super Bowl Sunday activities along with food and drink specials. Featured wing flavors will include regional favorites from New England and Philadelphia. All Oskar Blues Brewery products will be discounted, and there will be team-colored cocktails. Free face painting for children and adults and free balloon art activities for kids will be available. Giveaways will be held at the end of each quarter of the game.

The Bier Garden’s Super Bowl party runs 6-11 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, at 46 Haywood St. For more information, visit

PennyCup Coffee hosts public coffee tastings

PennyCup Coffee has launched a free weekly coffee tasting at noon Fridays at its River Arts District roastery. Each event will “highlight and showcase rare and special coffees,” and attendees “will learn all aspects of the sourcing, roasting and brewing process,” says a press release.

Tastings begin at noon Fridays at PennyCup Coffee, 362 Depot St. Tastings are free and will run 60-90 minutes. For more information, visit

Chotta Chai Pani pop-up

Chai Pani will close its downtown location for renovations during February, with plans to reopen Thursday, March 1. The upgrades, says Molly Milroy, Chai Pani Restaurant Group media and communications director, will “create a brighter atmosphere, incorporate some fresh takes on Indian-inspired décor” and enhance access to downstairs sister cocktail lounge MG Road. To keep the staff employed during the refurbishing, the Chai Pani team will offer a pop-up restaurant, Chotta Chai Pani, Friday, Feb. 2-Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the Riverside Drive warehouse space next door to the company’s Spicewalla spice company. Chotta Chai Pani will feature quick-serve Chai Pani menu favorites along with hits from MG Road and the restaurant group’s Atlanta-area eatery, Botiwalla. MG Road is also closed for renovations through Sunday, Feb. 4.

Chotta Chai Pani pop-up runs noon-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2-Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 829 Riverside Drive, Suite 112. For more information, visit

A brick-and-mortar for Blind Pig Supper Club

Blind Pig Supper Club chef Mike Moore, in partnership with former King James Public House chef Steve Goff, has announced plans to open AUX Bar, a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 68 and 68½ North Lexington Ave., former sites of Crepe Bourrée and Vincent’s Ear. Blind Pig will continue its long-running pop-up series in Asheville and the Raleigh-Durham area and has plans to expand the series to Wilmington, N.C. Additionally, Blind Pig Supper Club will now provide full catering and special events production for social galas, weddings, receptions and corporate and private events in and around Asheville. According to a press release, AUX Bar’s menu will offer “fresh and affordable, globally inspired street food.” The restaurant’s tentative opening date is Feb. 22, 2018.

For more information, visit



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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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