What’s new in food: Foothills Grange opens in Black Mountain

HOME, HOME ON THE GRANGE: The McKissick family will celebrate the launch of Foothills Grange on Sunday, Dec. 4. The gathering will also double as Foothills Meats 20th-anniversary party. Pictured, starting left, are Cash, Arlo, Casey, Amanda, Waylon and Tucker. Photo by Danny Secor

Location, location, location!

It was this time-tested real estate axiom that led Foothills Meats founder Casey McKissick to launch Foothills Grange at 120 Broadway Ave. in Black Mountain.

“It’s really the location we’ve been waiting for — the largest undeveloped spot left in the central business district,” he says. “It’s smack downtown. You can’t miss it.”

On Sunday, Dec. 4, from 2-8 p.m., McKissick, alongside his wife, Amanda, and their four sons, will host the official grand opening of Foothills Grange. The celebration will double as Foothills Meats 20-year anniversary party. The gathering will include gifts for the first 50 guests, a kids cookie-decorating station, a tree-lighting ceremony at sunset and festive holiday music from the Upbeats Ukulele Band of Black Mountain. Santa will also be roaming around.

The name of the new venue, says McKissick, is an homage to the Granger movement — a nationwide effort that launched in the aftermath of the Civil War and aimed to improve conditions for farmers and promote advanced agricultural methods. McKissick, who began farming in Swannanoa and Old Fort 20 years ago as Crooked Creek Farm, says the movement’s ideals resonated with him.

He describes the Grange menu as “everything I liked to eat growing up.” Hot dogs are a 50/50 ratio of beef and pork with no “funny stuff”; the signature tallow fries use rendered beef fat from Foothills Butcher Shop. There is also a kids menu as well as a Granny Special for those 70 and older (no proof of longevity required).

Foothills Grange can seat 50 inside and features 16 taps as well as slushies for kids and adults. Sheltered and heated outdoor seating can accommodate an additional 250 patrons. The major draw for kids, notes McKissick, is the big dig — a dirt pile equipped with a fleet of Tonka trucks.

Along with the new venue, Foothills Butcher Shop, 107 Black Mountain Ave. (helmed by lead butcher Meg Montgomery and her assistant Meg Treadway), is open weekdays.

Currently, however, the adjacent Butcher Bar restaurant is closed as McKissick focuses on the Grange. “We wanted to take the Butcher Bar staff with us to get the new spot opened properly, having moved the burgers, Reubens, hot dogs, tallow fries and other favorites to the Grange. Eventually, we’ll reopen Butcher Bar with a less casual menu.”

Foothills Grange is at 120 Broadway Ave., Black Mountain. Closed Wednesdays, daily hours are 11:30 a.m-9 p.m. (with additional bar service until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays). For more information, visit avl.mx/c6o.

Peru to you

Starting Thursday, Dec. 1, visitors to S&W Market food hall on Patton Avenue can add Peruvian cuisine to their global culinary experience with the opening of Mikasa Criolla by Ana Austin and chef Santiago Vargas. The business partners own Mikasa AVL catering company; under that umbrella, they staged pop-up events and dinners fusing Peruvian food with Japanese (Mikasa Nikkei) and Italian (Mikasa Nostra). The pair’s latest launch, Mikasa Criolla, blends Peruvian specialties with Spanish influence.

Austin and Vargas sought a brick-and-mortar home but were challenged by rising costs and scant viable locations. While doing a walk-through of Circa 29, the event space in the basement of the S&W building, the manager shared the news that the Peace Love Tacos space inside the food hall was soon becoming available.

“We jumped on it,” Austin says.

“It was really the right place at the right time,” Vargas adds.

And the right cuisine as well, they believe. “When it comes to Latin American food here, there is a lot of Mexican and Central American, but no Peruvian,” Austin points out. “Asheville locals and visitors are very open to exploring new things, and we thought this concept was the best way to introduce ourselves in this location. We bring something new and different to the mix already there.”

The menu is succinct but, says Vargas, packed with flavor. He speaks proudly of the ají de gallina, a chicken stew with garlic, onions, peppers, Peruvian olives and creamy Parmesan cheese sauce, which can also be ordered as an empanada. Meanwhile, the corn and cheese empanada is vegetarian. Vargas calls the beef empanada one of his favorites.

“I ate it with my mother,” he says. “Chopped meat, hard-boiled eggs, botija black olives and all the seasonings we use in Peru.”

The S&W Market is at 56 Patton Ave. For store hours, visit avl.mx/9hl. For more on Mikasa Criolla, go to avl.mx/c6p.

Peru to you, too 

Bryann Sandoval, chef at Milton’s in Black Mountain, is a native of Lima, Peru. On Monday, Dec. 5, he’ll be putting his Peruvian spin on Citizen Vinyl’s Turntable Supper. The five-course meal (with soundtrack chosen by Sandoval) takes place 6–8 p.m.  The immersion begins with tiradito – a dish of raw fish in a spicy sauce reflecting the influence of Japanese immigrants to Peru. The meal continues with papa rellena and lomo saltado. The evening ends on a sweet note with alfajores, a traditional confection.

Citizen Vinyl is at 14 O. Henry Ave. Tickets for the Turntable Supper are $100 each (with added beverage paritings for an additional $60). For more information, visit havl.mx/c6q.

Growing gains

It’s Christmas cookie season, and Caroline Dockery is ready for it. On Nov. 18, in a masterful stroke of timing, the founder of Morsel Cookie Co. opened a 1,200-square-foot shop on Rankin Avenue. The young baker and entrepreneur debuted her filled fat cookies at the RAD Famers Market in the summer of 2020. A year later, accelerated growth driven by Instagram close-ups of gooey goodness resulted in her own kitchen and small storefront in Woodfin.

“We will continue to bake in the Woodfin kitchen and bring everything to Rankin fresh every morning,” says Dockery. Everything includes her established cookie menu, expanding flavors of cookie cake and brownies, several of which are available gluten-free. The store’s featured cookie of the month will continue, but for the holidays, she’ll also have a new weekly flavor, beginning with a nonfilled molasses spice cookie.

“I ate them for dinner every night the week before the shop opened,” she says.

The new shop’s décor is simple and minimal. “We do love our plants, and once we’re open for a bit, we may have some local artists exhibit,” Dockery says.

Seating is available inside, with beverages from the cold case to accompany cookie bites. But the answer to “Got milk?” is sadly no. “Conventional milk shelf life is too short,” Dockery says. “Some aspiring businessperson needs to come up with oat milk in single serving cartons. They’d be huge in Asheville!”

Morsel Cookie Co. is at 45 Rankin Ave. Hours are noon-6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and noon-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit avl.mx/c6y.

Shell, yeah!

Nat King Cole crooned about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but Jettie Rae’s Oyster House says nuts to that. On Sunday, Dec. 4, the Asheville restaurant partners with Fonta Flora Brewery for an oyster roast from noon-4 p.m. at Whippoorwill Farm in Nebo. The Jettie Rae’s team will be tending the fire and the oysters, while also serving pimento cheese, shrimp dip, cod fritters and other low country snacks. Fonta Flora craft beers can be purchased. The event is adult, kid and dog friendly.

Whippoorwill Farm is at 6751 N.C. 126, Nebo. Tickets for the roast are $55 per person and can be purchased at avl.mx/c6r.

Go small

American diners are familiar with tapas — a Spanish dining practice of small plates. Pintxos are smaller plates — think of toothpicks as serving tools, says Félix Meana, co-owner of La Bodega by Cúrate.

On Tuesday, Dec. 6, 6-9 p.m., La Bodega chef Matt Brown and wine manager Jessica Salyer are hosting Pintxo Party. The event will feature plentiful pintxos and Spanish house wines.

La Bodega by Cúrate is at 32 S. Lexington Ave. Tickets cost $75 per person. For more information, visit avl.mx/c6t.

Roll with it

Bhramari Brewing Co. and Takeout Central have partnered on a concept that introduces shere khan kati rolls to Asheville. The popular street food, which originated in Kolkata, India, features partha flatbread and a variety of toppings. Bhramari co-owner and chef Josh Dillard describes partha as a more perfect food vessel than tortilla. Highlights from Bhramari’s kati roll offerings include: Cajun chicken with blue cheese sauce; pulled pork with candied bacon and giardiniera; and Impossible Foods “lamb.” Chaat fries topped with whipped ricotta are also available.

Shere khan kati rolls are delivery-only via Takeout Central. For more information, visit avl.mx/c6u.

Breakfast for lunch

Because there are never enough options for that special weekend meal, Forestry Camp has revived brunch service. The menu offers a vegan cake doughnut with apple pie glaze, breakfast burger with bacon jam, huevos rancheros with chorizo and royal red shrimp on creamed polenta. Forestry brunch service takes place Saturday and Sunday,  noon-3 p.m; Burial Beer, nonalcoholic beer and a full bar are also available.

Forestry Camp is at 10 Shady Oak Drive. For more information, visit avl.mx/c6v.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Kay West
Kay West was a freelance journalist in Nashville for more than 30 years, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene, StyleBlueprint Nashville, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, author of five books and mother of two happily launched grown-up kids. To kick off 2019 she put Tennessee in her rear view mirror, drove into the mountains of WNC, settled in West Asheville and appreciates that writing offers the opportunity to explore and learn her new home. She looks forward to hiking trails, biking greenways, canoeing rivers, sampling local beer and cheering the Asheville Tourists.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.