Chuck Giezentanner has Asheville entrepreneurship in his blood. His grandfather, a butcher, ran Giezentanner Market on Merrimon Avenue with his brothers from the 1940s through the 1970s. With years of expertise as a bartender, Giezentanner has opened his own place — The Daily Grind, a coffee shop in The District in Biltmore Village.
The sunny, spacious shop is painted with tans and browns, the walls accented with paintings, including some by Giezentanner, who is also an artist. A sofa and bookshelf are set before a mural of the shop’s mascot, Bean the groundhog. Graphic designer Claire Allen, art director for the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, designed Bean in homage to Giezentanner’s business partner, Dee Dee Allan, who is a retired school counselor with Claxton Elementary School.
“Dee Dee calls me one day, and she’s screaming and yelling about the groundhogs in her yard because they eat her sunflowers … and she hates them,” says Giezentanner. But after years of playing in her yard and raising litters there, “all of a sudden, they’re her ‘babies.’ And I thought to myself, I’m going to make the groundhog the logo of the business.”
Allan, also an Asheville native with a long local lineage, met and befriended Giezentanner in West Asheville, where they both grew up and still reside. During the pandemic, Giezentanner stopped working as a bartender and started getting up in the morning, causing him to reevaluate his schedule. “I knew I still wanted to be involved in the restaurant industry because that’s my passion, and I’m very good at it,” he says. “But I just didn’t want to go back to those hours. And I’ve always loved coffee.” He’d worked as a barista in the 1990s at Hathaway’s Coffee and Café, which was in Biltmore Village where The Corner Kitchen now operates.
He and Allan discussed the idea of opening a coffee shop in their neighborhood but decided that area was already caffeine-saturated. The District location was ideal, as there is only a Starbucks nearby. Giezentanner says he serves local customers on their way to work, as well as tourists visiting Biltmore Estate.
The partners signed the lease in April 2022, but because of a post-pandemic stainless steel shortage and other delays, their Italian industrial coffee machine sat in its shipping crate in Giezentanner’s living room for a full year. Now the shop is in full operation and open Sunday through Wednesday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. The owners hope to soon expand hours and hold events such as live music on the large patio, which boasts a sunrise view of the Black Mountain range to the east.
Giezentanner exclusively serves coffee from Black Mountain’s Dynamite Roasting Co., and he meets local pastry chef Beth Kellerhals at 6:30 every morning to pick up pastries such as iced banana bread with chocolate chips, and scones made with strawberries and black peppercorn. Coffee drinks include The Charles — an iced dark roast with almond milk, cinnamon and vanilla, named after Chuck — and The Margaret, which is Dee Dee’s first name. It consists of her favorite tea, caffeine-free Bengal spice and vanilla — and is served iced.
The partners’ next step is to hire baristas, as Giezentanner is currently running the café daily. “As much as I perceive myself as Superman, I am not Superman. But if they ever want me to take up the role, I will,” he says.
The Daily Grind is at 100 District Drive, Unit 216. For more information, visit avl.mx/czj.
Laissez les bons temps rouler
Nonprofit Asheville Mardi Gras’ popular Cajun Cookoff is returning after a three-year hiatus on Sunday, Sept. 17, noon-5 p.m., at The Mule at Devil’s Foot Beverage.
The event will feature live music from Jackomo Cajun Country Band. Participating chefs will donate and serve samples of their Cajun, Creole and Gulf Coast cookery, representing local eateries such as Biscuit Head, Nine Mile, Haywood Common, Grush’s Cajun Dino Grill and Sylva’s The Paper Mill Lounge. Devil’s Foot will serve specialty alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.
Costumes are encouraged at the event. The tasting will take place from 1-3 p.m., and winners will be announced during a dance party from 3-5 p.m.
Tickets are $30 for the general public or $20 for AMG members. Nonmembers can purchase a membership and ticket combination for $40.
The Mule at Devil’s Foot Beverage is at 131 Sweeten Creek Road. For more information, visit avl.mx/czi.
Moss adds Moore to barbecue
After abruptly leaving his chef and partnership posts at West Asheville’s newly opened Little Louie’s and Regina’s Westside, Elliott Moss has given his fans reason to rejoice. On Sept. 3, Moss debuted his newest venture, Moss and Moore Barbecue, at a pop-up event at The Hound.
Moss is starting a catering business in addition to regular pop-ups, which he plans to hold at The Hound throughout the winter into next spring. He says he may open a brick-and-mortar store in the future, but for now, he has some traveling to do. This fall, Moss and Moore Barbecue will be participating in annual fundraisers and festivals in Atlanta, Dallas and Charleston, S.C.
Moss is also in the final stages of a yearlong welding project with his friend Drew Shook, a local welder and owner of the Velvet Anvil. “We’ve been working on this little backyard camp tailgate grill, a 60-pound mobile one you can use wherever.” Their goal is to sell the handmade, water-resistant, stainless steel grills this fall, with preordering available in the coming weeks.
“It’s something that I’ve been working on quietly,” says Moss.”My dad is a welder, my grandfather was a welder, so it’s in my blood. It’s really full circle because before I could legally get a job at 15, my dad would work me in the summers instead of sending me to camp or day care.”
After his engagements this fall, Moss says he’s looking forward to returning to Asheville to rev up his catering business. “If people want me to cook barbecue, I’ll feed them. If enough people need a whole hog or a bunch of brisket, I would love to talk to them about it.”
For more information, visit avl.mx/czg.
The apple of my i-ce cream
It’s apple season in Western North Carolina, and The Hop Handcrafted Ice Cream is partnering with Flat Rock’s Holt Orchards on two ice cream flavors to be released this fall.
On Friday, Sept. 15, all locations of The Hop will release Apples & Honey, which coincides with the beginning of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashana. It’s a holiday tradition to dip apples in honey to manifest a “sweet new year,” says The Hop co-owner Greg Garrison. The ice cream flavor will feature locally grown apples, as well as honey from Haw Creek Honey Co.
On Friday, Oct. 13, all locations will release both dairy and vegan versions of Apple Butter ice cream, made from the orchard’s Sweetie and Granny Smith apple varieties and seasonal spices.
The Hop Handcrafted Ice Cream has several area locations. For more information, visit avl.mx/auf.
Brevard Collective to feature international food
Brevard will be the home of one of Western North Carolina’s first international food halls.
Currently under construction with the goal of opening in summer of 2024, Brevard Collective will be a family-friendly community gathering place and will feature several food vendors, a bar, a coffee café and indoor and outdoor seating. There will also be a stage for live music and a children’s area made of artificial grass.
“As new Brevard residents and longtime admirers of this well-established community, we really want to give back by promoting growth and strengthening the preservation of this beautiful city,” says Tony D’Alessandro, general manager. “Our main mission as Brevard Collective is to create more jobs, support progress and preserve the environment by implementing sustainable and eco-friendly practices. We also want to provide a diverse selection of food options that accommodate a wide range of dietary preferences.”
Food Waste Solutions WNC will host its quarterly educational networking event Wednesday, Sept. 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m., in collaboration with WNC Food Justice Planning Initiative.
The free public program will begin with a presentation by Buncombe County and the City of Asheville about the Food Scraps Drop-Off at the Stephens-Lee Community Center. A networking social will follow at White Labs Brewing Co., including a game of networking bingo as well as food waste updates and breakout sessions.
Parking is available at Stephens-Lee Community Center and at White Labs Brewing Co. Additional parking is at City of Asheville Public Works, 161 S. Charlotte St.
Stephens-Lee Community Center is at 30 George Washington Carver Ave., and White Labs Brewing Co. is at 172 S. Charlotte St. For more information, visit avl.mx/970.