What’s new in food: Sugar & Snow Gelato opens on Riverside Drive

THE SCOOP: Amy Pickett, owner of Sugar & Snow Gelato, scoops up a cone for one of the first customers in her new shop. Photo by Amy Haynes Photography

Eight years after Amy Pickett first introduced her Sugar & Snow pushcart to Asheville tailgate market guests, the Johnson & Wales University graduate and lifelong gelato enthusiast celebrates the opening of Sugar & Snow Gelato inside Second Gear’s new location at 99 Riverside Drive.

“When Second Gear moved from West Asheville to this building, they had an idea of having an ice cream shop or coffee shop inside the store,” Pickett says. “A friend of mine is friends with them, and the connection was made.”

With Pickett, Second Gear got it all — gelato, coffee shop and a café with baked goods and sandwiches, including vegan options.

For those unfamiliar with the Italian frozen treat, Pickett explains that the main difference between gelato and ice cream is that the former has more milk than cream, which means less fat, and when churned, less air whipped into it.

“The result is a creamy, dense texture where the flavors come through more,” she says. “In strawberry gelato, for example, you will really taste the strawberry because the gelato is not quite as cold, and there is less fat coating your tastebuds.”

Strawberry is one of the 50-plus recipes in Sugar & Snow’s repertoire; nondairy gelato is also available, as is sorbet, which contains no dairy. Though flavors will rotate, guests can always find mint chip and chocolate gelato, as well as raspberry sorbet. The current seasonal scoop available is pumpkin cheesecake. Guests can purchase gelato and sorbet by the cone or cup.

“A few years ago, we started doing wholesale by the pint and gallon to local restaurants and specialty stores, but the overreaching vision was getting awesome gelato in the hands of more people,” says Pickett. “We’ll still take the cart to events and weddings, but I’m really excited to have a home.”

Sugar & Snow Gelato is open Thursday-Monday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. To learn more, visit avl.mx/ai9.

Mac attack

When the name of a restaurant is Daddy Mac’s Down Home Dive, customers might expect to find that cheesy Southern staple on the menu. And they will when Daddy Mac’s opens later this month. In fact, they’ll find three versions to choose from: the classic cheddar mac, the burnt ends mac and the Frito pie mac.

But owner Dave McFarland wants to clarify that his new restaurant, located in the former Wild Wings spot on the edge of downtown, is named for his paternal grandfather, Charles McFarland, whom Dave called Daddy Mac. A wall-painting of a vintage green Cadillac convertible inside the eatery also honors Charles.

“That was Daddy Mac’s Cadillac; he drove it every Sunday,” recalls McFarland. “That back seat was a great place for a little kid to sleep.”

There was little time for sleep this year as McFarland prepared to open the Asheville location and an additional location in Knoxville, Tenn. While the business’s name is a tribute to his grandfather, the menu as a whole honors all four of McFarland’s grandparents, who taught the Western North Carolina native to cook. McFarland says he spent months fine-tuning family recipes and developing new dishes with the assistance of consulting chef Scott Linquist.

Pickles and pickle brine show up repeatedly on the menu, from sandwich toppings to the restaurant’s Bloody Mary mix.

“My maternal grandparents made all kinds of pickles every year, and I loved the sweet ones best,” says McFarland. “But I also like a little heat, so our house pickles are sweet and spicy.

“Growing up here in Asheville,” he continues, “I’m glad to have the opportunity to do something special in my hometown that pays tributes to my roots.”

Daddy Mac’s Down Home Dive is at 161 Biltmore Ave. For hours and menu, visit avl.mx/aia.

Bee happy

Kristin and Matt Sawaya had no experience in the hospitality industry when they opened The Scarlet Bee restaurant on Merrimon Avenue three years ago. They did have recipes from Matt’s Lebanese grandmother, and he says the cozy café had just started to become profitable when COVID hit. They kept going with takeout but had to pivot once more when their lease wasn’t renewed.

After selling their Asheville home to finance their latest venture, the couple moved to Burnsville and purchased a food truck. With longtime employee Jessica Vanhorn on board as a partner, The Scarlet Bee recently relaunched, dividing its mobile services between Asheville’s New Origin Brewing, Burnsville’s Homeplace Brewing and Spruce Pine’s Mayland Community College, with plans to add more locations.

“We can’t afford to buy a building, so the food truck is great for now, and we actually saw quite a few of our restaurant customers at New Origin, so that was encouraging,” Matt says.

Old regulars may have come back for the signature chickpea sliders, which Matt reports are really popular in Asheville but a dud at Homeplace Brewing. “No one ordered them in Burnsville,” he says with a laugh. “But the steak kebabs went over great.” So did the universally popular chicken shawarma. The menu has been downsized for the truck, but Matt says he plans to add specials in the future.

Visit avl.mx/aic for The Scarlett Bee food truck’s menu and schedule. 

Bee best

Audrey Meadows says that as she was trying to name the food truck she was having built out for her first business venture, she kept hearing variations of a mantra from friends navigating pandemic-related challenges: “Be more. Do more. Dare more.”

“People were really trying to figure out their personal direction,” she says.

B More Eatery will fire up the grill and open its order window in the first week of October, outside Dalton Distillery on Biltmore Avenue. Along with the mantra, “B More also references our location on Biltmore,” Meadows says.

Menu highlights include the breakfast corndog (maple sausage in Kodiak pancake batter) and the breakfast sandwich constructed of two Kodiak Cakes, folded egg and cheese with bacon, ham or sausage.

“I’ve had lots of different jobs in hospitality, but I’ve always loved to cook best,” continues Meadows. “Making good food is my favorite form of expression.”

B More Eatery is at 251 Biltmore Ave. For the complete menu, visit avl.mx/aid.

The big dig

Through the growing season, Yancey County’s community garden Dig In and sister garden Seeds of Hope at First Baptist Church grow and harvest food that supplements food purchased from local farmers via a partnership with Tractor food hub. Packed by Dig In staff and volunteers, the fresh food is distributed weekly through Harvest Share events to more than 200 families.

To celebrate another successful season of sharing food and caring for one another, the annual Dig In! Empty Bowls fundraising event will take place Friday, Oct. 8, 4-7 p.m. at the Burnsville Town Square.

Due to health concerns related to COVID-19, tables will not be set for a community supper. But attendees can participate in a care art project and select their handmade bowl created by regional potters. There will also be a community bake sale with homemade breads and desserts.

For more information about the event, visit avl.mx/aie.

Pile up

Pours from over 50 breweries, food from Forestry Camp chefs, live music and presentations on topics related to beer, music and other creativity industries are on the agenda for Burnpile Harvest Fest 2021, presented by Burial Beer Co. at Burial Forestry Camp on Saturday, Oct. 9, noon-6 p.m.

Proof of vaccination (or an alternate as noted on the event site COVID-19 protocol page) will be required; pets are not permitted. Three tiers of tickets are offered: VIP ($125), general admission ($65) and concert-goer ($40).

Burial Forestry Camp is at 10 Shady Oak Drive. For a list of breweries and performers and to purchase tickets, visit avl.mx/aif.




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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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