Small bites: Toast Café plans Asheville expansion

TOAST OF THE TOWN: Toast Café CEO Robert Maynard has been looking at expanding his chain of breakfast eateries into the Asheville market for more than a year. He plans to have up to three Asheville locations. Photo courtesy of Toast Café


Toast Café plans Asheville expansion

Charlotte-based restaurant chain Toast Café is planning to open as many as three locations in Asheville in the coming months.

CEO Robert Maynard says he is looking at potential spaces downtown on Biltmore Avenue as well as in West Asheville. According to Maynard, the company, which focuses on breakfast (but also serves lunch and dinner) made from scratch with fresh ingredients, would prefer to open with local franchisees but is prepared to open corporate stores if necessary. “We want to keep the jobs local; we think it’s really good for the town, for the brand and for the people,” says Maynard.

Maynard says he would love to begin sourcing some of the restaurant’s ingredients from Asheville-area producers, especially since using locally grown food is not as accessible in the Charlotte market. “We have a great opportunity [in Asheville] where a lot of the other restaurants are already doing locally sourced food, so it makes it easier for us to tap into that distribution.”

The chain now has three locations in the Charlotte area and one in Tega Cay, S.C. Maynard says the timeline for opening the Asheville locations is 12-18 months.

Toast Café first opened in Huntersville, N.C., in 2005 as a small breakfast spot in a house-turned-restaurant. The restaurant became a franchise in 2013. Breakfast and lunch are served 7 a.m.-3 p.m. daily, with dinner available 5-9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. The breakfast menu includes egg dishes and omelets, pancakes and French toast and breakfast sandwiches. Breakfast prices are in the $4-10 range. Cocktails, beer and wine are available with lunch and dinner.

For details and to view the full menu, visit For details on becoming a franchisee, send an email to


Edible and medicinal plant guide

In April, herbalist, author and backpacking enthusiast Heather Housekeeper published A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, a practical guide for backpackers for identifying, harvesting and preparing the edible flora of the trail. Housekeeper, who lived for many years in Asheville and received training at the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, did hands-on research for the book while thru-hiking the trail in 2011. She is again doing a through-hike and will hold book signings in and discussions along the way, with events planned in mid-July and early August in Asheville at Malaprops and Filo. More details to come. Look for updates on Housekeeper’s blog:


Montford Farmers Market moves to the RAD

After more than three years behind the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, the Montford Farmers Market is about to get a River Arts District address. Due to Lenoir Rhyne University’s need for more parking, the market is moving one mile down the road to All Souls Pizza starting Wednesday, July 2. With the move, the market’s name will change to the River Arts District Farmers Market. A grand opening celebration will be held 2-10 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, along with All Souls’ first anniversary. Festivities will include live music, food specials, market tastings and more.

All Souls Pizza is at 175 Clingman Ave. Market hours are 2-6 p.m.


Garden Party and Farm Tour

Vine Ripe Home Grown Nutrition will host a Garden Party and Farm Tour at First Blossom Farm on Thursday, June 26. The event is free and will feature live music; door prizes; recipes and refreshments prepared by Denise Barratt, dietitian and nutritionist from Vine Ripe Nutrition. Fresh produce from the farm will be for sale, and guests can participate in guided tours of the farm.

The party is 5-7 p.m. Thursday, June 26. First Blossom Farm is at 230 Sluder Branch Road, Leicester. Details: 423-5216 or





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

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