Exploring the vast expanse of the River Arts District — whether visiting the hundreds of artist studios and galleries in repurposed factories or exploring the Wilma Dykeman Greenway — can work up a powerful appetite and thirst. Restaurateurs, breweries, bakers and wineries have responded by planting their stake in the area — from White Duck Taco on the northern edge of the district to Rosabees on the southern end, from Grind Coffee Shop at Pink Dog Creative to The Bull and Beggar at The Wedge Studios building.
In late September, Newstock joined that growing list, opening inside Riverview Station, the sprawling brick building home to 60-plus artists and, now, one food artisan. Though new to the space, owners Ashley Capps and Travis Schultz are not new to the business.
In early 2020, the two chefs left their restaurant jobs with intentions of opening their own place in Weaverville. COVID, however, panned that plan. Pivoting, the pair launched Newstock in April 2020 as a meal delivery and subscription service. Subleasing a commercial kitchen, the duo cooked and packaged a different multicourse meal each week, with fresh breads baked in the same space by their friend Gus Trout.
As their client base grew, so did their time spent on deliveries. Pivoting once again, the couple shifted to pickup at All Souls Pizza in the River Arts District. “We had run Newstock about as far as we could in that operational mode,” says Schultz. “Things were shifting as people were going out again, so we needed to figure out the next step for us.”
Fortunately for the pair, Helaine Greene, who co-owns Riverview Station, approached them about an available space in the building.
“The food studio is strictly retail,” Schultz explains, noting that he and Capps will continue cooking for Newstock in the commercial kitchen space.
Newstock — tucked into a corner suite next to newly opened Tyger Tyger Gallery — is evocative of a little market found in the French countryside, clean and light, with polished concrete floors, a pale green vintage wood counter, white-painted cinder block and brick walls lightly stenciled with fruits and vegetables.
Shelves mounted on the walls display other local food-makers’ products, and coolers are packed with heat-and-eat entrees, sides, cold salads and sandwiches. Fresh breads by Trout, desserts by Kelsianne Bebout of Flour Coffin and macarons by Beeswax and Butter are also available for purchase. Meanwhile, fresh organic coffee is brewed behind the counter. And those seeking something cold and sweet can try a cup of kakigōri, Japanese shaved ice.
“Yes, this space is ours and a place for all the food Travis and I make, but we want to share it with people we respect and love,” says Capps. “We want to make room for other small businesses that make products we value.”
Looking back nearly three years to their dashed plans to open a restaurant, Schultz and Capps are settling into this new home and eager to see what’s ahead. “You try to control the timing of everything and then you find out the timing controls you,” Capps says. “This is the perfect place for us to be right now and we’re happy to be in such a community of creatives.”
Newstock is at 191 Lyman St. Studio 115. For more information, visit avl.mx/c19.
Tastes of India
Whether you’re in the mood for an elevated, table-service immersion in North Indian cuisine, or a quick-serve dive into Indian street food, restaurateur Al Singh has you covered at 5 Biltmore Ave. For the former, pivot left and choose Suite B, where Singh opened Mëhfil this spring. For the latter, swivel right and head into Suite A, home of newly opened Dilbar.
“Street food is very big and complex in India,” Singh explains. “The menu we have created for Dilbar is from all over — Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi.”
For example, dosa — the plate-covering crepes made of fermented rice folded over savory or sweet fillings — is from south Indian; pani puri, the bite-sized fried hollow puri with a spoonful of potato and chickpea mash, spices and pani (flavored water) is believed to have originated in Uttar Pradesh in north India.
Meanwhile, the frankie is a street food from Mumbai and has nothing to do with hot dogs. “It is a flatbread spread with egg, cabbage, onion, choice of protein, cheese and secret sauce, then rolled up,” Singh explains.
Most intriguing is Indian-Chinese food, which includes dishes such as vegetarian hakka noodles and Szechuan chicken and fried rice. “When the Chinese came to India and opened restaurants, no one ate at them because they were too bland,” says Singh. “The restaurants adapted by using Indian spices on traditional Chinese dishes, so it’s a totally different flavor profile. Indian-Chinese street food is very big in India.”
Indian sweets and beverages — the mango milkshake is a two-in-one — are also available.
Dilbar is at 5 Biltmore Ave. Suite A. For more information, visit avl.mx/c15.
Rhubarb launches Tuesday Table
At Rhubarb, Tuesday is the new Sunday. In 2013, shortly after John Fleer opened the restaurant, he instituted Sunday Supper, a prix-fixe menu for a family-style, communal meal. “We saw it as a way to spotlight our local purveyors while creating connection and forging relationships,” he explains. “COVID 100% wiped that out.”
Deterred but not defeated, the alliterative prone Fleer has launched Tuesday Table, adjusting the night of the week as well as the set up to accommodate lingering health concerns about sharing food with strangers. “We are not yet doing the communal table,” he says. “We’re testing the waters to see how comfortable people are. But conceptually, Tuesday Table will be similar to Sunday Supper.”
The Tuesday Table menu, which will change weekly, will present four starters to share; the table then must decide between two entrée options, one of which will be vegetarian. Desserts will be individually plated because, Fleer admits, “We have yet to crack the code on family-style dessert.”
As Rhubarb approaches its ninth anniversary on Friday, Oct. 14, Tuesday Table will revive dishes from its original 2013 menu, such as lobster corn dogs with comeback sauce, brick oven oysters and Rhubarb glazed pork with cracked corn grits.
Fleer hopes Tuesday Table will be a welcoming place for Ashevillians. “A big hope is by being on a Tuesday night, we can entice locals downtown and make connections within our community. That was a big part of Sunday Supper we hope can be reborn.”
Rhubarb is at 7 SW Pack Square. Visit avl.mx/prx0 for more information.
Like many nonprofits, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity had to pause annual fundraisers during the peak of the pandemic. This year, with production from Shay Brown Events Management and a new location at Rabbit Rabbit, the organization has flipped the script on its longtime Blueprint Breakfast event and re-imagined it as Blueprint Breakfast for Dinner.
The whole shebang is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 13, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The evening will include cocktails and passed appetizers, a program about Habitat’s work supporting stable housing in Asheville, live music from the Firecracker Jazz Band and nine chef stations for grazing on breakfast-inspired dishes. Smoky Park Supper Club chef/owner Michelle Bailey, Tastee Diner chef/owner Steven Goff, Holeman & Finch chef/owner Linton Hopkins and Ladies Who Brunch Beth Kellerhals, Michele Gentille and Terri Terrell are among the participating tastemakers.
“Bringing people together is central to Habitat’s mission which is why we are excited to partner with the culinary community around one of our region’s most pressing issues — housing,” says Andy Barnett, executive director of Asheville Habitat. “Blueprint Breakfast for Dinner will help fund the construction of an affordable home so a local family can build strength, stability and self-reliance.”
Rabbit Rabbit is at 75 Coxe Ave. Tickets, which include food, two complimentary drinks and door prizes are $120 per person and can be purchased at avl.mx/c17.
Happy 10-year anniversary to restaurateurs Joe Scully and Kevin Westmoreland, who on Sept. 23, 2012, opened their second restaurant, Chestnut, in the then-developing South Slope area of downtown Asheville. (Their first restaurant, Corner Kitchen, launched in 2004 and continues to operate in Biltmore Village.) At the time, 48 Biltmore Ave. was considered a “cursed” location, but Scully says he looked in his crystal ball and saw opportunity.
“We knew Aloft hotel was coming to Biltmore, Orange Peel was there, the building next door had been redeveloped into condos with gallery space on the street level. We felt like if we were going to open [a restaurant] downtown, that was the time.”
Chestnut’s dinner menu changes out monthly, but Scully says two dishes are sacrosanct. “The lobster bisque has been there since the start; and when we tried to take off the petite filet, people brought out the torches and pitchforks. We know better.”
Chestnut is at 48 Biltmore Ave. For more information, vistion avl.mx/c1a.