Small bites: Webo’s BBQ moves to River Ridge

NEW DIGS: With their recent move to River Ridge shopping center, Webo's BBQ owners Wendell and Bonnie Kurtz gained an indoor dining area and more than doubled their kitchen area.
NEW DIGS: With their recent move to River Ridge shopping center, Webo's BBQ owners Wendell and Bonnie Kurtz gained an indoor dining area and more than doubled their kitchen area. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Webo’s BBQ moves to River Ridge

After four years of operating quietly out of a 460-square-foot kitchen in a Shell Station on Swannanoa River Road, Webo’s BBQ has stepped up its game. Last week, the family-owned business brought its selection of slow-cooked, hickory-smoked barbecue to a much larger location in the River Ridge shopping center, adding another sit-down restaurant option to the East Asheville scene.

Owner Wendell Kurtz, who operates the business with his wife of 40 years, Bonnie, (hence the name Webo’s) says the new space, which is next to Hamrick’s in the shopping center on Fairview Road, totals 3,300 square feet, with 1,000 square feet of that dedicated to the kitchen. The expansion, says Kurtz, will allow Webo’s to better serve its steadily growing clientele.

“I got into it because I like people liking what I do,” says Kurtz, who is a Kansas City Barbecue Society-certified judge and competed for nearly a decade in KCBS barbecue competitions. “I don’t think there’s been a day in the four years we’ve been open that we haven’t had somebody say, ‘It’s the best barbecue we’ve had,’ or ‘It’s my favorite barbecue place,’ or that type of thing.”

Webo’s gas station locale had no indoor dining space — only a few outdoor picnic tables. However, the new storefront offers room for a total of 97 customers both indoors and on its covered patio. For the time being, however, the Kurtzes are keeping it simple with 30 seats inside and six picnic tables on the patio.

The menu remains the same, offering pork, brisket, turkey and ribs with a selection of six sauces: Eastern North Carolina-style vinegar, sweet, spicy, sweet-and-spicy, South Carolina-style mustard and a white Alabama-style sauce, which Kurtz says is made for poultry but goes well with brisket also. Chicken and ribs are available on Fridays only.

Webo’s BBQ is in River Ridge shopping center, 800 Fairview Road. Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday. To view the menu, visit webosbbq.com.

Asheville Wine & Food Festival

The Asheville Wine & Food Festival brings its three-day carnival of food and drink downtown for its seventh year with the Elixir, Sweet and Grand Tasting events Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 20-22. The three-day celebration kicks off with cocktails with the Elixir mixology competition Thursday, Aug. 20, when 2014 champion Courtney Foster of The Junction will defend her title against seven local challengers. The Sweet dessert, wine and cocktail tasting follows on the evening of Friday, Aug. 21, and the event culminates with the Grand Tasting, which pretty much takes over the entire U.S. Cellular Center on the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 22. Highlights of the Grand Tasting are the festival’s annual regional wine competition judged by the French Broad Vignerons, plus the annual Chef’s Challenge culinary competition, which this year will feature local chefs Steven Goff, Hollie West of Marshall’s Sweet Monkey Café, Joe Mitchell of Chestnut and Corner Kitchen and Ryan Kline of Buffalo Nickel. In addition, there will be culinary and mixology demonstrations, blind wine and beer tastings, cookbook signings, not to mention hundreds of booths featuring artisan food producers, restaurants, wineries, distilleries and breweries from Asheville and across the U.S.

Elixir is 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, at the Morris Hellenic Cultural Center, 227 Cumberland Ave. Sweet is 8-10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, at the Grove Arcade, 1 Page Ave. The Grand Tasting starts at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22 at the U.S. Cellular Center, 87 Haywood St. VIP entry starts at 1 p.m. For the full schedule of events, ticket prices and to order tickets online, visit ashevillewineandfood.com.

Mela brings Indian food to UNCA

UNC Asheville kicked off its fall semester with a new food offering on campus as Mela Indian Restaurant debuted its new Mela Eats location in UNCA’s Highsmith University Union on Aug. 14. The new restaurant offers Mela’s traditional curries, chutneys, breads and salads to students as part of the campus meal plan, and meals will be available to staff and visitors as well. Vegan, vegetarian and chicken options are available daily. The new venture marks the second downtown restaurant to open a location on the UNCA campus — Rosetta’s Kitchen opened Rosetta’s Kitchenette in the university’s Sherrill Center more than two years ago.

Mela Eats is open to the public, students and university staff 11 a.m.-10 p.m. weekdays and 4-10 p.m. weekends at UNC Asheville, 1 University Heights.

Hatch Chile Fest

The Fresh Market will celebrate the annual harvest of New Mexico’s famous Hatch chile peppers with a Hatch Chile Fest on Saturday, Aug. 22. The flavorful peppers, which are only available fresh from late July to early September each year, will be highlighted during the event with a Hatch chile roasting and free culinary demonstrations. Shoppers can also preorder roasted Hatch chiles through Sept. 5 for pickup at local locations of The Fresh Market.

Hatch Chile Fest happens 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at The Fresh Market locations in Asheville (1378 Hendersonville Road and 944 Merrimon Ave.) and in Hendersonville (223 Greenville Highway). To preorder roasted Hatch chiles, visit thefreshmarket.com/in-store-pickup/hatch-chiles.

Tomato preservation workshop

Cooperative Extension family consumer sciences agent Renay Knapp will offer hands-on workshops on how to preserve tomatoes on Thursday, Aug. 27. The classes are for all ages and skill levels. Cost is $15, and participants get a jar of tomatoes to take home.

Sessions are at 2 and 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, at the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Office, 455 Research Drive, Mills River. To register, call 697-4891.

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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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