What’s new in food: Crust Never Sleeps bakery opens on Sardis Road

BAKED GOOD: Jonathan Price and Dawn Alexander celebrate the launch of their new brick-and-mortar business, Crust Never Sleeps, on Sardis Road. Photo courtesy of Crust Never Sleeps

Asheville City Market’s Saturday shoppers first met baker Jonathan Price when he snagged a spot in October 2016. Because the market had multiple bread options, he was only permitted to sell his now signature sourdough, everything-flavored pretzels and bagels. When a bread baker dropped out the following spring, Price was permitted to expand his offerings to include loaves of three different types of his crusty breads.

Since that time, Price’s business has continued to grow. In November 2021, his partner, Dawn Alexander, began adding her baked goods — cookies, croissants, coffee cake and what she calls “mom tarts” — to his table. (The market subsequently approved Alexander to run her own table, dubbed The Crumby Baker). More recently, on Dec. 9, the couple celebrated the launch of Crust Never Sleeps bakery at 24 Sardis Road.

“I started baking bread as a hobby and am totally self-trained,” Price reveals.

Alexander, on the other hand, is a fifth-generation baker. “My family has butter in their veins,” she says with a laugh.

Before the store’s launch, both Price and Alexander baked all their goods inside their certified home kitchen. The cozy arrangement is what drove Alexander to start looking for a brick-and-mortar.

“For me, it was always kind of the goal,” she explains. “Seeing Jonathan work as hard as he was in that little space, I thought it would be really beneficial to have an actual bakery with more room.”

While scrolling through Craigslist for a piece of equipment, she happened upon a listing for a bakery. The couple immediately made an appointment to visit the site and were taken by its size and setup — if not the pink color scheme.

As they settle into their newly refurbished space, Alexander will  expand her pastry offerings to add eclairs, cream puffs and cheesecakes. Price, meanwhile, intends to return babka and bialys to his growing repertoire of breads. The business also brews and bags Pennycup Coffee.

For the time being, Price will also be at the City Market on Saturday mornings. He assures that one thing won’t change. “I have customers who have been coming for the pretzels since my first day. They’ll always be on the menu.”

Crust Never Sleeps Bakery is at 24 Sardis Road. Suite D. Hours are Wednesday-Friday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, visit avl.mx/c87.

Home team

Four days after John Tressler and Mike Reppert — owners of Blackbird restaurant, Zella’s Deli and Imperial Bar — opened their coffee shop/pub Shiloh & Gaines, the main room filled with people cheering on the U.S. men’s soccer team in their match against Iran.

“I got a couple of direct messages on our new Instagram asking if we were open and would we have the game on,” Tressler says. “People just started showing up, walking or driving over.”

Once there, they had their choice of a full coffee program or an adult beverage from the bar. “This is meant to be the kind of neighborhood place Mike and I grew up going to, like the delis that inspired Zella’s,” Tressler explains. “We’re open early morning to late night every day. We want it to feel like home.”

That home feeling includes a pool table, dart boards, jukebox, stage, board games and plenty of reading material. Tressler, Reppert and fellow Shiloh & Gaines partner Brenden Wyand plan to also have live music on weekends, karaoke, dart tournaments and free pool nights. Meanwhile, a working vintage cigarette machine (with no smokes) commands its own corner.

Though bar snacks and pre-packaged sandwiches from Zella’s will be available inside, food trucks will provide the pub grub, notably Ed Gaines (yes, the street is named for his family) and his Bun It hot dog truck.

Speaking of dogs, the Shiloh & Gaines welcome mat is rolled out for canines. “We had a woman carry her basset hound in to watch the World Cup,” Tressler says with a laugh. “We love this neighborhood, and they’re loving us back.”

Shiloh & Gaines is at 700 Hendersonville Road. Visit avl.mx/c83 for more information.

Good as it gets

Charlie Hodge — owner of Sovereign Remedies, Asheville Beauty Academy and Getaway River Bar — knows the hospitality business. (Or Hodgepitality as he’s dubbed his parent company.) More recently, Hodge has added another venture to his growing portfolio. The Good Asheville Food truck (aka Good AF truck) has parked the rig and fired up the kitchen, operating Friday through Sunday, 1-7 p.m., at The Getaway.

The pan-Asian menu by executive chef David Van Tassel with contributions from chefs Sunil Patel and Jatuporn Namvised includes dishes like drunken broccoli, Good AF ramen, fried dumplings and charred carrot and butternut miso PEI mussels.

Brian Ortiz, Hodgepitality media manager, says future locations and ongoing schedule for the Good AF truck will be flexible and updated on social media sites.

Getaway River Bar is at 790 Riverside Drive. For more information, visit avl.mx/c85.

AIR it out

Just in time for stuffing stockings, Asheville Independent Restaurant Association has opened sales of its 2023 AIR Passport. The pocket-sized booklet is crammed with freebies, discounts and BOGOs from dozens of Asheville’s most popular and beloved eateries. Passports can be used all year, and proceeds from sales benefit AIR’s ongoing efforts to promote and support locally owned independent restaurants.

Passports are $65 each and can be purchased at The Asheville Shop, 36 Montford Ave., or AIR’s website at avl.mx/c82.

Sip ‘n’ swap

On Thursday, Dec. 15, Asheville Parks and Recreation is hosting a Holiday Cookie Exchange with free hot cocoa at the Grove Street Community Center from 2-4 p.m. Bring your homemade treats to show off and share.

Grove Street Community Center is at 36 Grove St. For more information, visit avl.mx/c7x.

Box sweet

Chestnut restaurant’s annual Cookies for a Cause is underway throughout December. A $12 gift box features six treats from pastry chef Mallory Foster‘s cookie collection — chocolate chip, molasses, gingerbread snowflake, red velvet, chai coffee sugar and double chocolate peppermint. Orders are only available at Chestnut; a portion of all sales go to Our VOICE, a local nonprofit that serves survivors of sexual violence and human trafficking. 

Chestnut is at 48 Biltmore Ave.

Bubble up

Just in time to stock the New Year’s Eve bar, Bottle Riot is hosting its Holiday Champagne Extravaganza on Monday, Dec. 19, at 6 p.m. Six Champagnes will be paired with bubble-friendly bites from caviar to fried chicken. Guests will be offered special retail pricing on bottles to buy.

Bottle Riot is at 37 Payne’s Way #9. Tickets are $125 per person. For more information, visit avl.mx/c86.

Dressed to thrill

Asheville Drag Brunch has a pair of year-end events to close out 2022.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, ADB will present Divine Intervention — The Game Show at New Belgium Brewing Co. The 18 and older “Family Feud”-style guessing game will include audience participation, tacky prizes and drag performances. Doors open at 7 p.m. New Belgium brews will be available for purchase during the 90-minute show. Standing tickets are $10 each and $15 for a seat with profits going to Blue Ridge Pride.

The queens are back at it Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. at Biscuit Head South. Producer/performer Divine Holeburn says Night Brunch will present the largest cast of the year, including queens Alexis Black and Diamond Sanchez. Ticket prices range from $25-$40 each, and all include a full breakfast plate, one adult beverage and a soda. A cash bar will be open to buy another round. Profits from these Asheville Drag fundraisers will benefit Sunrise Community for Recovery & Wellness.

New Belgium Brewing Co. is at 21 Craven St. For more information, visit avl.mx/c7u. Biscuit Head South is at 1994 Hendersonville Road. To purchase tickets avl.mx/xmasjbk.

Twice as nice

Take a break from the holiday shopping frenzy and slip into the Asheville Beauty Academy on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2-4 p.m. for a sushi-making class and sake tasting. Chef Nandar Kaung, owner of two Mr. Sushi restaurants, will demonstrate two styles of sushi-making, both paired with a sake flight. Attendees will prepare their own sushi roll and enjoy it with a glass of wine. Bamboo mats and recipes to take home are included in the class cost of $55 per person.

Asheville Beauty Academy is at 28 Broadway. To reserve a place in the class, visit avl.mx/c7v.

Going once, twice…

Donated! Thanks to a successful live and virtual auction conducted by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley, nonprofit organization Bounty & Soul has over $4,000 in its coffer to help fight food insecurity in Black Mountain and procure more healthy produce for the nonprofit’s clients as the need increases during the winter.

Farm to able

Registration is open for Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s 2023 Business of Farming Conference, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11, at the A-B Tech Conference Center in Asheville. The annual conference brings together professional farmers from across the Southeast to network and share resources to grow their farms business. Marketing, business planning and financial management are among the topics covered before and after the popular lunchtime Grower-Buyer Meeting with chefs, grocers and distributors.  Individual registration is $75 by Jan. 15; $115 for two farm partners. A limited number of scholarships are available.

For more information, visit avl.mx/c7w.


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About Kay West
Kay West began her writing career in NYC, then was a freelance journalist in Nashville for more than 30 years, including contributing writer for the Nashville Scene, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, author of five books and mother of two happily launched grown-up kids. In 2019 she moved to Asheville and continued writing (minus Red Carpet coverage) with a focus on food, farming and hospitality. She is a die-hard NY Yankees fan.

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