What’s new in food: Rowan perks up Broadway with new coffee shop

DOUBLE SHOT: Holden Curran, left, and Bow Smith have perked up 66 Broadway with their new Rowan Coffee shop. Photo by Jess Cord

When it comes to coffee, Bow Smith prefers regular drip, and he drinks it black. “I am a boring coffee drinker,” he confesses. “But I enjoy making all the experimental fun stuff.”

That’s a good thing, because Smith is also the co-owner — with his College of Charleston Class of 2018 buddy, Holden Curran — of Rowan Coffee, a new downtown coffee shop and café that opened Sept. 4 directly across Broadway from the Center for Craft.

During college, Smith and Curran learned the business working at Black Top Coffee (now Second State), taking weekend trips to Asheville to enjoy the area’s music and outdoor scenes. After graduating, the pair moved to Asheville, and while on COVID-19 furlough from jobs at local coffee shops, they built two mobile coffee carts and began developing their brand with a full espresso menu and some seasonal specials.

In October 2020, Smith and Curran signed the lease on the shotgun space at 66 Broadway and began buildout to their vision of vintage-modern, Old Europe style in dark wood and coffee tones. The store seats about 30 at tables and a bar where guests can watch the baristas at work. With the additional space for storage and prep, they have expanded the menu of signature coffee drinks they popularized with their mobile model.

On the opening menu at Rowan is the Bloody Basil, which Smith describes as “like a cold espresso tonic with some blood-orange juice, fresh basil, basil syrup.” There’s also the New Partner, another cold espresso drink with carrot juice and jasmine-ginger syrup. A full tea menu includes chai and matcha.

Also available are breads and pastries from local bakers, including Waves of Grain and pastry chef Kelsianne Bebout (also of All Souls Pizza). Bebout offers seasonal vegan pastries such as sumac-coriander apple crostatas, pumpkin cardamom doughnuts and banana bread with local pecans, all made with Farm & Sparrow flours and produce from local farmers.

Rowan Coffee is open 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. daily at 66 Broadway.  avl.mx/acx

Taps and tapas

Debra Martín invites you to stamp your passport for Spain just 15 miles east of Asheville. The successful businesswoman has opened La Tapería, a wine and tapas bar that brings her love for the culture and cuisine of Andalusia to Black Mountain.

“This is a passion project for Debra,” says sommelier and General Manager Melissa Ward, former co-owner of Rustic Grape. “She lived and taught in Spain for many years, married into a Spanish family and adapted a lot of recipes from her former mother-in-law.”

Martín purchased and began renovating the building on State Street two years ago, whetting anticipation among Black Mountain residents for a scheduled opening the second weekend of September. Behind the bar are eight wine taps and four for local beer. The wine list is about 70% Spanish; cocktails will also be available as well as a house sangria with alcoholic and nonalcoholic versions.

The food will be Spanish cold and hot tapas, including the classic Spanish tortilla, charcuterie with Spanish meats and cheeses, croquetas, Spanish meatballs (Martín’s own recipe) and desserts. Sunday brunch will have additional menu items.

The space, says Ward, is cozy with 40 seats at the bar and tables. “You will get to know your neighbors,” she says with a laugh. “Debra wants you to feel you are leaving Black Mountain and walking into Spain when you come through our door.”

La Tapería will be open Thursday-Saturday 2-10 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at 203 W. State St., Black Mountain. avl.mx/ad2

Beer here

Beer from here and there — including breweries in Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts, Georgia and New York — will be poured at the third Above the Clouds Festival hosted by Bhramari Brewing Co. at its Lexington Avenue location on Saturday, Sept. 18.

“We are focused on the best offerings from breweries at the top of their game,” says Bhramari’s Allison Simpkins. “Some out-of-town participants will be present on-site and others’ products will be poured at shared stations by our staff.”

The Bhramari kitchen and Rice Wagon food truck will have food for sale, DJ Phantom Pantone will spin the day’s soundtrack and Ink Pusher will do live T-shirt screen printing.

General admission tickets include entry 1-6 p.m., glassware and unlimited samples; VIP tickets admit guests an hour earlier and include a bottle of special release Bhramari barrel-aged stout.

The festival will take place at 101 S. Lexington Ave.  For tickets and a complete list of participating breweries, visit avl.mx/ad5.

Brick and Morsel

On Sept. 10, barely a year after popping her pop-up and online cookie business out of the oven, Morsel Cookie Co. founder and owner Caroline Dockery opened a storefront in Woodfin. “The store offers a more direct way for the customer to get exactly what they would like rather than ordering a larger quantity online and having to wait for delivery,” Dockery explains. The shop will also offer cookie cakes by the slice, PennyCup Coffee Co. coffee and storefront-only exclusive flavors.

Seating in the tiny space will be limited (and depend on COVID updates); online ordering will continue for now, and Morsel will maintain its tent at the East Asheville Tailgate Market through the end of the season.

Morsel Cookie Co. Cookie Shop at 175 Weaverville Highway, Unit D, is open Friday-Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. avl.mx/89s

Flavors of fall

Disregarding the premature arrival of certain famous seasonal beverages, Ginger’s Revenge and Asheville Tea Co. are right on time with their highly anticipated autumn perennials.

Ginger’s Revenge, 829 Riverside Drive, celebrates the return of limited-edition Fall Harvest ginger beer made with organic pumpkin, cinnamon basil from Rayburn Farms in Barnardsville and anise hyssop from Stellar Farm & Wine in Mars Hill. Fall Harvest debuted Sept. 10 in the Riverside Drive tasting room and is available in select breweries, bars and restaurants across the state.

The release of the beer also kicks off the second iteration of Socktoberfest with BeLoved Asheville. Donations of socks, tents, backpacks, Sterno cans, hand warmers, sleeping bags, ski gloves, thermals and flashlights are accepted at the tasting room through the end of October. “The goal of Socktoberfest is to contribute supplies for our unhoused community bracing for a cold Appalachian winter,” says Ginger’s Revenge co-founder Cristina Hall Ackley. “We’re also accepting monetary donations to help BeLoved Asheville continue their work to build deeply affordable housing.”

For more information, visit avl.mx/ad6.

If a warm beverage is more your cup of tea, Asheville Tea Co. has you covered with the return of fall fave flavor Spiced Apple Butter. Created four years ago as a special at the Valle Country Fair fall festival in Valle Crucis, the blend is an ode to the childhood memories of Asheville Tea Co. founder Jessie Dean and sister Melissa Dean. “Growing up, we went to a festival every year that centered around traditional ways of making apple butter,” recalls Melissa. The tea, with its flavor notes of warm cider, apple pie and brown butter, sold out its first year, so the company has made it a recurring seasonal blend.

Asheville Tea Co. products are sold at local retail locations and online at avl.mx/ad8.

Green acres

Don’t let the early birds get all the passes to the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s annual ASAP Farm Tour. The tour’s stops at 21 farms in Buncombe, Haywood and Henderson counties are all within an hour’s drive of Asheville.

The tour, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 18-19, is an outdoor event and will follow current state guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Visitors who are not vaccinated should wear a mask and maintain social distancing while on the tour.

Advance passes, which cost $35 per car for both days, are on sale through midnight Sept. 17. After that, passes will be sold at participating farms for $45, depending on availability. For more information and to buy passes, visit avl.mx/9s3.


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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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