What’s new in food: The Indigenous Walls Project expands with Indigenous Markets

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Jared Wheatley's Indigenous Walls Project is set to expand with the Saturday, Jan. 21 launch of Indigenous Markets. Photo by Jonah Lossiah/One Feather photo

In early 2022, when Jared Wheatley began painting his first mural as part of the Indigenous Walls Project at 46 Aston St., he set out to start reclaiming visibility, space and social dialogue about Indigenous history and culture within Western North Carolina.

“What we’ve seen is that there are people from both outside and inside our community who have become highly engaged and curious about our language and our culture,” says Wheatley. “This has stimulated an opportunity for elders within our community to get engaged in and around Asheville in a way that they haven’t been welcome to before.”

With the new year, Wheatley is looking to expand the project’s mission through Indigenous Markets. “These will be the first Indigenous Markets held in Asheville — that anyone’s aware of — since the 1980s,” he says. “Even today, I don’t know anyone who was involved in it or who knows about the original markets.”

The inaugural event launches at 46 Aston St. on Saturday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The monthly gathering will continue on the third Saturday of each month in 2023. Its goal, says Wheatley, is to establish a consistent sense of Indigenous community where local Native Americans can engage with one another, deepen cultural ties and sell their crafts.

“Right now we have an Indigenous population, but we don’t necessarily have an Indigenous community, an intertribal community, in the center of Asheville. We’re going to use this marketplace as a focal point for Native folks to build that community,” Wheatley explains.

Ten intertribal vendors, representing five nations, are already committed to the first market, with the hopes of attracting more Native representation with each event. Beadwork, canvas arts, paintings, silversmithing, baked goods, basket weaving and contemporary, mixed-media Indigenous art can be expected at these markets.

“We’re trying to fertilize and hydrate areas of our soil, our ancestral ways of being, that in Asheville just haven’t had much attention paid to them,” says Wheatley. “We haven’t been allowed to lead our movements in our city until now.”

To learn more about the Indigenous Walls Project, Indigenous Markets and the movement at large, visit avl.mx/c9p.

Mystical mixer

New year, new you? Let the cards or your own palm decide during the Tarot Card + Palm Reading event at Bold Rock Hard Cider on Friday, Jan. 6, 4-10 p.m.

The free event will feature local tarot card and palm readers inside Bold Rock’s downtown Asheville taproom.

While guests have their futures revealed, they can also imbibe in the latest Bold Rock ciders and spirits, such as the spiced peach or cinnamon apple whiskey. The taproom’s food menu of appetizers, salads, handhelds, entrees and desserts will also be available.

Bold Rock is at 39 N. Lexington Ave. Visit avl.mx/c9k for additional information.

Brews and brunch

7 Clans Brewing and the Trucking Delicious food truck will team up for the first Sunday brunch event of 2023 on Jan. 8, noon-4 p.m.

Designed as a new recurring event providing specialty drinks paired with diner-inspired culinary offerings, these Sunday brunches highlight classic dishes and beverages with a twist. 7 Clans Brewing, which is Indigenous owned and locally crafted, will be whipping up a number of special brunch drinks featuring its brews.

Highlights include: a beer-mosa which combines 7 Clan’s Hop-Rooted IPA (or its Sali Persimmon Sour) with orange juice; a blonde-chelada made with the brewery’s Blonde Ale, bloody Mary mix and a spice-rimmed pint glass; and 7 Clan’s Milk Stout mixed with cold brew coffee. Classic Champagne mimosas will also be available.

Meanwhile, Trucking Delicious will deliver a number of clever takes on hearty favorites, such as a loaded waffle sandwich, breakfast tacos, silver dollar pancakes and a Korean breakfast sandwich with kimchi and pickled vegetables.

7 Clans Brewing is at 66 Sweeten Creek Road. Visit avl.mx/c9l for more information.

Inclusive networking

The WNC LGBT+ Networking Group will hold a special networking event at Hi-Wire Brewing’s River Arts District Beer Garden on Wednesday, Jan. 11, from 6-8 p.m. This event will kick off a biweekly event series benefiting the local LGBT+ professional community.

“I realized that the community needed a safe place for people who don’t fit into the traditional lens of professionals to be able to meet like-minded people and discuss our troubles while making life long connections,” says the event’s organizer, Alexis Whiteside.

Operating under the mantra of “gays supporting gays,” the WNC LGBT+ Networking Group plans to partner with LGBT+ businesses to host future events.

“I want people to know that they have a community here,” Whiteside continues. “Being young and fresh out of college is difficult enough, but having the added difficulties that come from perception because of your identity makes things harder. I hope that people come to our events and realize that there are people who understand and care for them regardless of their identities.”

Hi-Wire Brewing’s River Arts District Beer Garden is at 284 Lyman St. Visit the WNC LGBT+ Networking Group’s Facebook page at avl.mx/c9n to learn more.

Thirsty Monk rolls out rebrand

Asheville’s first hard seltzer bar, the Holy Water Hard Seltzer Brewpub by Thirsty Monk, is now open at 92 Patton Ave. The new brewpub occupies the ground level of the three-story Thirsty Monk pub downtown below Top of the Monk and above Delirium Bar.

More than 10 cocktail-inspired seltzers, derived from a base brewed with Thirsty Monk’s proprietary house Belgian-style yeast, are on tap at the new brewpub. The Holy Water Hard Seltzer line recently took home four medals from the 2022 U.S. Open Hard Seltzer Championship for its Pomegranate, Hibiscus & Ginger (silver medal), Margarita (silver medal) and Pina Colada (gold medal) flavors. The Smoked Grapefruit Paloma earned gold for the Judges’ Award.

“There is no other drink quite like our Holy Water Hard Seltzers,” says Thirsty Monk CEO Barry Bialik in a press release. “We literally have created our own style class — a Belgian-style hard seltzer.”

Visit avl.mx/c8r for additional information.

End of an era

Nick’s Grill, a local drive-in staple since 1990, closed on Dec. 23.

“With sincere gratitude, we are announcing that we will be closing our operations,” the business wrote in an announcement published on its website and social media platforms.

Known for its burgers, gyros and Philly cheesesteaks, Nick’s Grill was founded by Nick Tsiros, a first-generation Greek immigrant. The restaurant was subsequently passed on to his sons, George and Tommy.

In 1992, Nick’s Grill catered a meal for President George H.W. Bush, who dined inside the home of longtime Asheville resident Roy Harris. According to a Sept. 6, 1992, article in the Asheville Citizen-Times, the Bushes and Harrises enjoyed a Greek chicken, potato salad and lemon rum cake.

“We can’t express enough how thankful we are for your support. It’s been a true pleasure to serve our community over the past 32 years,” Nick’s Grill stated in its goodbye announcement.

No announcement has yet been made concerning new ownership or the next tenants of the  drive-in building.

Costly mistakes

Good Name 22:1 LLC, the owner of the Chick-fil-A at Highland Square in Hendersonville, has been fined $6,450 in civil money penalties for child labor violations. This fine comes down from the U.S. Department of Labor following an investigation revealing child labor regulations were violated when workers younger than 18 were allowed to operate a trash compactor.

The investigation also illuminated a violation of minimum wage provisions stemming from several employees being asked to direct traffic in exchange for meal vouchers rather than wages. As a result, the owner must also pay $235 to cover back wages owed to seven employees.

“Protecting our youngest workers continues to be a top priority for the Wage and Hour Division,” says Wage and Hour Division District Director Richard Blaylock in a news release. “Child labor laws ensure that when young people work, the work does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities. In addition, employers are responsible to pay workers for all of the hours worked and the payment must be made in cash or legal tender.”

Tacos and bikes

Taco Boy, the recently opened West Asheville restaurant serving Mexican-inspired dishes, raised a total of $4,368 during a VIP event benefiting the nonprofit Asheville on Bikes. The organization, which advocates for better biking and walking infrastructure in the city, is Taco Boy’s first community partner in the Asheville area.

“We’re so appreciative of Taco Boy’s support for Asheville on Bikes,” says Mike Sule, founder and executive director of the organization, in a news release. “It’s great to welcome a business to the city that appreciates walk- and bike-ability and arrives ready to support nonprofits doing important work in our community.”

With Taco Boy’s donation, Asheville on Bikes crossed the 75% mark of its $125,000 end-of-year fundraising goal. To further support and welcome cyclists, Taco Boy will soon install bike racks at the Haywood Road location. Taco Boy also plans to support additional Asheville initiatives in the future, including those focused on hunger, homelessness, education, equality, mental health and more.

Taco Boy is at 521 Haywood Road. Visit avl.mx/c9j for more information about Asheville on Bikes.


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