Small bites: The Lantern brings coastal flavors to Hendersonville

IN THE INN: Executive Chef Casey Maness, right, landed in Western North Carolina in 2010 with experience from numerous restaurant positions and four years cooking in the Coast Guard. Her forthcoming eatery, The Lantern — located inside Hendersonville's The Charleston Inn — is “meant to take you on a journey through Old Charleston, with Creole, Cajun and low country flavors.” Maness is pictured with Charleston Inn Manager Tim Ross. Photo by Leah Flores Photography

The Charleston Inn “has been welcoming visitors to Hendersonville for more than a hundred years,” according to the establishment’s website. Now, a Southern-inspired restaurant launching from within the bed-and-breakfast will attract dining guests as well — particularly those with a taste for coastal cuisine and history. The Lantern’s grand opening is Friday, Dec. 11.

“All of my life, I’ve been going to the Carolina coast — Charleston, Savannah and the beaches,” says the eatery’s executive chef Casey Maness, who was recruited by the inn’s owners, Shelle Rogers and David Payne. “I fell in love with the concept of The Charleston Inn having the restaurant serve food that’s also from that area.”

Maness says the menu will honor Creole and Cajun influences and include lots of fresh seafood sourced through Inland Seafood. The Lantern’s blue crab, for example, will have scampered off the coast of Charleston, while its shrimp and live crawfish will be brought in from Louisiana. Additional offerings include classic shrimp and grits, the meatloaf burger (made with Apple Brandy Beef), crab cakes, lobster mac and cheese, as well as some Market Street staples — she-crab soup and Charleston cheese dip.

Over the course of several months, Maness collaborated with the owners to create the menu, with Maness hosting periodic feasts to get feedback from guests. “A few of the dishes will actually be served in French skillets,” Maness says, listing mussels, lobster tails, crab cakes and more. She calls the concept a “neat feature” that adds to patrons’ experiences, noting the “beautiful bronze” color that develops in the pans as they season.

Meanwhile, wooden floors and classic décor highlight the inn’s history, which began around 1880 shortly after a railroad line was built between Hendersonville and South Carolina. The fine-dining aspect, Maness says, pays homage to the influential migrants from Charleston who catalyzed Hendersonville’s early development.

“I think we’re really going to create an experience for people,” she says, “and take them back to that time period.”

The Lantern, 755 N. Main St., Hendersonville, opens Friday, Dec. 11, with dinner service 5-10 p.m. Thereafter, dinner hours will be 5-9:30 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Sunday, and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Brunch service is also available 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit thecharleston.net for more information.

MetroWines’ aviation scholarship benefit

MetroWines will pour red and white Flyover wines from Oregon’s Floris Vineyard, as well as aviation-themed beers from Big Boss Brewing in Raleigh during an in-store fundraiser. Proceeds benefit two academic funds for A-B Tech’s aviation students — the Corman Family and Brigadier General Carl L. Trippi scholarships. The latter was recently established to honor MetroWines co-owner Gina Trippi’s father, who served in World War II during his 38-year career involving airplanes.

The fundraiser is at MetroWines, 169 Charlotte St., 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10. A donation of $10 is requested at the door. Visit metrowinesasheville.com for more information.

Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Deck the Hall Dance Party

Chef Elliott Moss exhibits several signs of being nocturnal. Not only does he slow-cook Buxton Hall’s whole hogs overnight, but he’s also begun hosting late-night dance parties at his South Slope eatery. Buxton Hall’s next seasonal celebration will see three bars serving holiday-themed drinks and treats while DJ Greg Cartwright “spins all of Santa’s favorites.”

Deck the Hall Dance Party is at Buxton Hall Barbecue, 32 Banks Ave., 10:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Cover charge is $3. Visit buxtonhall.com for details.

Salt & Smoke’s expansion in Burial Beer Co.

Salt & Smoke, which began as a pop-up food busking stand at Burial Beer Co. in Asheville’s South Slope, will begin operating from an on-premise kitchen following completion of the brewery’s current renovations. By early 2016, an expanded, rotating menu will be served six days per week. In the meantime, Salt & Smoke’s dishes will only be available during Sunday brunch. Planned renovations include enclosing Burial’s back patio to create a heated indoor space for winter months.

Salt & Smoke and Burial Beer Co. are at 40 Collier Ave. Sunday brunch is served noon-3 p.m. Visit facebook.com/saltandsmokeasheville/ for more information.

The Italian Cookie Lady’s truffle parties

While many bakers safeguard their kitchen secrets, the Italian Cookie Lady, also known as Aggie Westerhoff, is launching lessons to “teach the young — and the young at heart — how to make truffle cake pops.” Westerhoff says her truffle party concept coalesced after she was recruited to host a St. Patrick’s Day celebration for Beverly Hanks & Associates of Hendersonville. “Based upon that success, I’ve added parties for children to create their own holiday treats for parents and grandparents.”

Westerhoff’s next lesson is at her home 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Cost is $15 per person and includes instruction and snacks. Visit italiancookielady.com for more information or call 553-5295 to reserve a spot.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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