What’s new in food: Sovereign Remedies Exchange lands in Leicester

SOVEREIGN REMEDIES EXPANDS: The Exchange, a new laid-back and family-friendly concept from Charlie Hodge, has opened in Leicester. Photo courtesy Brian Konutko

Sovereign Remedies Exchange, a more laid-back and family-friendly offshoot of the Sovereign Remedies downtown location, made its debut in Leicester on March 1. It is the latest in a growing list of restaurants and bars launched by Charlie Hodge, founder of Hodgepitality.

“The motivation behind opening Sovereign Remedies Exchange was to create a unique and welcoming environment that would cater to the needs and desires of the local community in a way our other [Hodgepitality] locations don’t,” says Brian Ortiz, the company’s media manager.

Whereas Sovereign Remedies downtown features evening-focused experiences highlighted by craft cocktails and decadent dinner dishes, the Exchange will focus on daytime offerings with an all-day menu featuring a variety of sweet and savory pastries, desserts, coffee, tea, beer and wine. The Good Asheville Food truck will also be setting up shop at Sovereign Remedies Exchange later in the spring to dish out burgers, fries and tacos on Tuesdays.

Relaxation and creativity are at the heart of the Exchange. Its location, notes Ortiz, is “in a beautiful countryside setting that provides a tranquil escape from the bustle of daily life.”

An idyllic backyard space complements the cozy indoor seating area with yard games, fire pits, plentiful seating and an outdoor bar featuring 16 specialty beer taps.

“By opening Sovereign Remedies Exchange, the team hopes to create a place that fills a unique niche in the community and offers something special and memorable for everyone who visits,” Ortiz says. “We hope that visitors will take away a sense of warmth, community and relaxation from their experience.”

Sovereign Remedies Exchange is at 2645 New Leicester Highway. Visit avl.mx/ch5 for hours, menus and additional information.

St. Paddy’s Day parties

Feeling lucky this St. Patrick’s Day? Don your best green attire and get ready to guzzle Guinness at a number of locations holding special celebrations to mark the occasion.

The Whale, 507 Haywood Road No. 10, will kick off a weekend of St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Friday, March 17, with an ice luge, green smoothie beer specials and enough Guinness to quench even the most insatiable of thirsts.

Prefer to keep things moving? Crawl with US hosts its sixth annual Lucky’s St. Patrick’s Day Crawl on Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18. On both days, beginning at 4 p.m. crawlers decked out in shamrocks will hit Banks Ave. Bar, Catawba Brewing Co., Daddy Mac’s Down Home Dive, Dalton Distillery and One World Brewing, with a special after-party taking place at Scandals Nightclub.

Bar crawl tickets are $15-$20 per person, depending on group size. For more information, visit avl.mx/ch6.

Aleblazers Beer Fest

Highland Brewing Co. will kick off its inaugural Aleblazers Beer Fest on Saturday, March 18, 1-4 p.m.

During the event, over 25 North Carolina breweries will introduce experimental, small-batch brews and imbibe tried-and-true favorites from across the state. The festival’s mission is to build craft camaraderie. Additionally, the event will double as a fundraiser for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, with a portion of all proceeds from ticket sales directly supporting the organization.

General admission is $55 per person and includes a taster glass and 12 beer tokens, each redeemable for one 4-ounce pour from a participating brewery. An $80 VIP ticket includes all general admission perks as well as three additional tokens, access to the VIP mezzanine, catering from Root Down, three exclusive specialty beers from Highland’s innovation brewing team and a Highland merchandise bundle.

Highland Brewing Co. is at 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Suite 200.Visit avl.mx/xmasjbn for a full list of participating breweries and tickets.

West Asheville to welcome Botiwalla

The Chai Pani Restaurant Group has announced the opening of Botiwalla, a fast-casual, counter-service eatery, in West Asheville. Its opening, in BimBeriBon’s former space, is tentatively set for June. This will be Botiwalla’s third location following its launch in Atlanta in 2016 and expansion to Charlotte in 2020.

The restaurant’s concept was inspired by CPRG executive chef and founder Meherwan Irani’s fondness for the late-night food scene in India. The menu will feature a number of late-night snacks, grilled meats and classic Chai Pani chaats, as well as boozy slushies, afternoon high tea and classic Indian grocery staple retail items provided by Spicewalla.

For updates, visit avl.mx/ch4.

Barn Door Ciderworks returns

Craving a crisp hard cider now that the weather’s warming up? After a winter hiatus, Barn Door Ciderworks is back with a pair of new cider releases. Wild Ridge, a blend of local apples foraged from the neighboring mountains and Cripp’s Pink Kansas, a blend of pink lady and Stayman apples, have joined Barn Door’s rotating list of cider, small bites, beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages.

“Since opening in 2020, we’ve learned that many folks think cider is sweet and bubbly,” explains co-owner Dan Fowler in a news release. “That’s not the case with our cider. We ferment to dryness in oak barrels, lightly carbonate the cider and serve it at cellar temperature. We do our best to keep it simple and let the apples speak for themselves.”

“We only use local apples from nearby orchards, friends’ backyards or foraged wild apples from the mountains,” adds co-owner Katie Moore in the same press release. “We press apples, ferment and age our cider on-site. Our goal is to provide a comfortable place for friends and family to gather to enjoy a cider, a meal and the company of one another.”

Barn Door Ciderworks is at 23 Lytle Road, Fletcher. Visit avl.mx/9ni for additional information and news on upcoming events.

Poppy’s big payday

Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn has announced the closing of its $3 million Series A funding round. Since 2018, the company, known for its wide variety of all-natural, flavored gourmet popcorn, has experienced 150% year-over-year demand growth.

With this funding, spearheaded by founder Ginger Frank and the newly announced co-CEO Susan Aplin, Poppy will more than double the company’s existing manufacturing space and invest more than $2 million in new equipment and technology. These investments will result in greatly increased production capacity, new jobs added to the WNC economy and increased distribution throughout North Carolina.

For more information on Poppy’s Handcrafted Popcorn, visit avl.mx/ch3.

Collaborative cider dinner

Orchard-to-bottle ciders from Botanist and Barrel meet Appalachian fare from Rhubarb for a special collaborative cider dinner in Rhubarb’s Event Space on Wednesday, March 15 at 6 p.m.

A four-course meal featuring two small plate appetizers, one main entree and a dessert from Rhubarb will be paired with Botanist and Barrel ciders so that every bite and sip both complement and elevate one another.

“Botanist and Barrel’s ciders are very food-friendly, so the pairings are used to provide unique contrasts with the food,” explains Chelsea Herre, Rhubarb’s director of operations. “Botanist and Barrel shares a lot of the same values as Rhubarb,” Herre continues. “They are family-owned, locally-grown and focused on making ciders that are at their uncomplicated best.”

Diners can expect paella-stuffed grilled langoustines paired with a Basque-style cider, chicken liver tartlets with apple-muscadine cider, applewood smoked suckling pig with a “spontaneously fermented” cider and benne seed angel food cake with sparkling strawberry cider.

“Other than a delicious meal in good company, we hope to highlight some of the people responsible for the amazing produce and foods produced here in Appalachia. ‘Farm-to-table’ has become a buzzword in cuisine, but at Rhubarb and Botanist and Barrel, it’s an ethos that runs deep,” Herre says.

Rhubarb is at 7 SW Pack Square. Visit avl.mx/chl for tickets ($75 per person) and information.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on March 14, 2023. 


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