What’s new in food: Old Fort welcomes a new winery

NEW RELEASE: Winemaker Michael McGeary and his wife, Abi, are pictured in the tasting room of their Old Fort winery, Euda Wine. Their newest release is baby boy Parrish, a late 2023 vintage. Photo courtesy of Euda Wine

As it turns out, you can teach an Old Fort new tricks. In late January, two years after relocating from Washington, D.C., and one month after welcoming their first child, winemaker Michael McGeary and his wife, Abi McGeary, opened the tasting room at Euda Wine, the small McDowell County town’s first winery.

Euda’s seven 2022 wines — identified by year, type and graphic labels evoking the sensation of the wine — were made from grapes grown in small vineyards throughout North Carolina. “We are not yet growing our own grapes, though eventually we hope to,” Michael McGeary says. “Western North Carolina is very much an unexplored region [for vineyards], but there is interesting soil and altitude, which grapes like. We have plenty of rain, though it can be too much. Grapes don’t like wet feet.”

Michael started making wine in a rented space while he and Abi outfitted the building they found on Commerce Street. Initially, the tasting/taproom, which seats 40, operated only on Saturdays and Sundays. But spring’s arrival has brought a flurry of activity: An official grand opening was held March 30 with the winery’s first 2023 vintage — a sauvignon blanc — released that day.

Euda is now open 2-8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and noon-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The McGearys recently opened an outdoor patio, adding about 40 more seats. Charcuterie boards from Old Fort-based Abbiocco Pizzeria (owned by former Rhubarb chef de cuisine Glenn Osterberg) are a wine-friendly snack, and food trucks do a rotating schedule on-site. On Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, Euda will mark the occasion — Abi’s first since giving birth to son Parrish in December — by pulling the cork on its 2023 rose.

Michael, who is from Durham, acknowledges that wine isn’t necessarily the first thing folks think of when it comes to North Carolina products. But he hopes Euda Wine can open some minds.  “It’s exciting to feel like you’re part of something new and growing something in your home state,” he says.

Euda Wine is at 164 Commerce St., Old Fort. For more information, visit avl.mx/dmi.

Life changes

As his downtown French comfort food restaurant, Bouchon, is about to mark its 20th year on Oct. 5, 2025, long-time Asheville restaurateur Michel Baudouin is looking forward to streamlining his life. In an April 23 media release, Baudoin announced plans to sell the restaurant. He intends to continue operating Bouchon’s East Asheville sister restaurant, RendezVous.

“When thinking about the future of Bouchon, one thing I’m really sure of is that I wish to slow down,” he writes in the release. “I’m not ready to completely retire from the industry I’ve loved for 51 years, but my priorities have altered. Not to mention that my Medicare-affiliated body has been issuing many, many hints that it’s time for a change.”

Baudouin says Bouchon employees will be welcomed at RendezVous if they wish to stay with the company.

Bouchon is well known for its all-you-can-eat mussels nights and pommes frites, which are repeat winners for Best Fries in the annual Mountain Xpress Best of WNC polls. Baudouin is a co-founder of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association.

For more on Bouchon, visit avl.mx/5s1. For acquisition information, contact Carla Barnard at carla@carla-co.com.

Moon landing

Chef Ron Jimenez introduced himself to Asheville diners from the window of his Tahini Jar food truck, which he launched with help from his wife, Courtney, in July 2023. Since then, the blue-and-orange-painted vehicle has continued to serve its healthy, plant-based Middle Eastern cuisine around town at breweries, tailgate markets, events and residential complexes.

But while the concept and menu were well received within Asheville, Jimenez says, other communities and counties were not as receptive to that fare. Undeterred, he decided to try out a concept he believed would be impossible to resist — doughnuts. Doughnuts have a universal appeal, but New Moon Donuts is also a personal passion project — I have always loved doughnuts,” he cheerfully shares.

Jimenez found a retired short bus in South Carolina, refurbished the interior as a miniature doughnut shop and painted it a glossy, bright turquoise. New Moon Donuts made its official debut at the Small Business Center on A-B Tech’s Enka campus on April 12, selling out shortly after noon.

New Moon will always try to have six flavors available. For now, all are the old-fashioned cake style, with a twist: They’re all vegan. “I am not pushing too hard on the vegan thing, because I don’t want to push anyone away from trying it,” he says. “They’re really good, and no one would guess they’re vegan.”

The most popular flavors so far have been maple glazed and lemon poppyseed glazed; all are cooked fresh in the truck every morning of service. Until Friday, May 10, New Moon will be serving its doughnuts — plus beverages from Greenville, S.C.-based Methodical Coffee — at A-B Tech 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday and Monday.

Jimenez will add more locations as he gets staffing sorted out and can scout a semipermanent location to park. Courtney Jimenez is a little busy at the moment — she gave birth to the couple’s fourth child April 20.

A-B Tech’s Small Business Center is at 1465 Sand Hill Road, Candler. Check New Moon’s Instagram feed at avl.mx/dm9 for updates on locations and hours. For Tahini Jar’s schedule, visit avl.mx/bwu

Yo, Zella

Mikey’s Meatball and Johnny’s Italian have moved to Swannanoa and can be found on the menu of the newly relocated Zella’s Deli, now housed in the former location of Loott House (which moved in November to Beacon Village with Terra Nova Beer Co.)

The Northeast-inspired sandwich shop was opened by partners Mike Reppert, John Tressler and Ivy Lamos on College Street in downtown Asheville in April 2022. The new site has kept the eponymous subs and popular deli sandwiches like pastrami, corned beef, Reuben, chopped cheese, roast beef on a kaiser roll and lox on a bagel, and expanded the lunch repast with under-$10 items like egg salad, tuna salad, liverwurst on white bread and a beef hot dog.

More big news is the addition of dinner service seven days a week from 5-8 p.m. On the menu are soups, salads, appetizers, entrées and pastas such as pork saltimbocca, chicken Parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs, and fettuccini alfredo. Weekend dinners are special: Italian Fish Fry Friday, Prime Rib Saturday, Family Lasagna Sunday and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Zella’s is now at 2372 U.S. 70, Swannanoa. For the full menu visit avl.mx/dm8.

Crêpe diem

Shoppers at the Asheville City Market can seize the day with a fresh-made breakfast crepe from Full of Crêpe, Ethan Van Der Bleet’s unique concept. He first learned the skill of crêpe preparation in his hometown, Chicago. “Making crêpes at farmers markets around the city was my high school job,” he says. “They’re really popular there, and I got a lot of experience.”

Warren Wilson College brought Van Der Bleet to Western North Carolina in 2017, and he fell in love with the area. He applied to be a vendor at the City Market last fall and built a following for his crêpes, which he makes savory or sweet.  He took an extended break for some international travel while the winter market was in session but is back, just in time for strawberry season.

“I am committed to using produce from the other vendors at the market, so I’ll be getting strawberries from Lee’s One Fortune Farm and honey from Charlie [Oak of WilderKin Beekeeping],” he says. “For the savory ones, I shop for the seasonal greens, eggs, bacon and cheese.”

He says the entire process — from pouring the batter onto the superhot, flat, round cast-iron pan he uses, to folding the finished crêpe into a rectangle for savory and quarter-circle for sweet — takes about seven minutes.  (He also has gluten-free batter for those who request it.)

“Doing this at the market is great because I can make new crêpes every week depending on what comes into season,” he explains. “It’s very front-facing, and people enjoy watching me do it. Plus they get a kick out of the name.”

Asheville City Market happens 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays at 52 N. Market St. For menu updates from Full of Crêpe, visit the business on Instagram at avl.mx/dma.

Cookie crumbles

Aside from the familiar ring to it, Lyndon Johnson has made a name for himself in Asheville apart from the 36th president of the United States. He launched his pop-up Honey Badger Bakes four years ago and built a strong following for his baked goods. In particular, people seek out his repertoire of crusty bagels at the Asheville City Market on Saturdays and East Asheville Market on Fridays.

But there’s only one place people will find Johnson’s one-of-a-kind cornmeal cookie — at chef Ashleigh Shanti’s Good Hot Fish restaurant. The sweet, savory, crispy, chewy, bigger-than-a-hockey-puck cookie is made from the same cornmeal blend milled by Farm & Sparrow for the restaurant’s fish, plus Lindley Mills flour, Dry Ridge Farm eggs, Muddy Pond sorghum and blackstrap molasses.

Johnson — who also cooks for Shanti — has made other desserts for the restaurant, but the cornbread cookie is the ultimate calling card.

Good Hot Fish is open 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. at 10 Buxton Ave. Follow Honey Badger Bakes on Instagram at avl.mx/dmb.

Giving large

Like a good neighbor, The Whale Craft Beer Collective is there for many Asheville-area nonprofits. One of those — the Asheville Poverty Initiative — will benefit from the West Asheville location’s largesse all of May when customers can choose to round up their tabs with proceeds going to API.

The most visible program of the nonprofit, which is dedicated to building community and promoting economic justice, is 12 Baskets Café in West Asheville. The no-cost eatery distributes over 10,000 pounds of food each month, all rescued from area food providers.

The Whale will host a kickoff party for the program 5-8 p.m. Friday, May 3. Guests will be able to enjoy tunes spun by a local DJ, participate in a community art project, sample tasty treats from Back Porch Baking Co., do team trivia starting at 7 p.m. and practice rounding up those tabs.

The Whale is at 507 Haywood Road. For more information, visit avl.mx/dm7.


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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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