What’s new in food: Wings and more along the Ecusta Trail

WINGING IT: Jared Dotson, owner of Hustle Wing Co., created most of the art and decor at his Horse Shoe restaurant. He sells his housemade sauces by the bottle. Photo courtesy of Dotson

Jared Dotson says he was inspired by his daughter, Juju, to open a restaurant with a focus on chicken wings this winter. Located in a small shopping center adjacent to the anticipated Ecusta Trail in Horse Shoe, Hustle Wing Co. is already expanding only a few months after opening.

“I’d ask her what she wanted for dinner,” Dotson says of his daughter, “and when she wanted wings, we never found exactly what we were looking for. And so she kept pushing me and pushing me, and finally I was like, ‘Daddy’s gonna open up a wing place.’ But I knew … I couldn’t just open up a wing place.”

Dotson created a menu featuring over 25 wing flavors, making every sauce and rub in-house and gluten-free. He also offers a vegetarian wing option and a pork “wing,” salads, sides such as fried okra and locally made fried pickles from DJ’s Pickles, sandwiches and burgers. He named all of the sauces after influences in his life and says Juju had fun naming some too. They include Wicked Ex — “caution, very toxic” — and Thai-inspired Pattaya, made with curry, ginger, peanuts and basil. Dry rubs include candied bacon and the Coastal Carolina, which consists of salt and vinegar.

Hustle Wing Co. is now expanding into the space next door, adding more seating and about 10 arcade games — both retro and modern. This spring, the space will also encompass Sweet Hustle, offering ice cream and cotton candy. The outdoor patio will have access to the Ecusta Trail, which will connect downtown Hendersonville to downtown Brevard.

Dotson, who started working in the food and beverage industry when he was in his teens, began his culinary career training under a chef who hailed from cooking at the Grove Park Inn in the 1960s. “This guy took me under his wing and trained me for four years. He would walk up to me and stick his finger in my sauces, and [if he wasn’t satisfied], he poured it on the floor.”

Dotson remained in fine dining until becoming a kitchen manager at 12 Bones in 2008, when he fell in love with barbecue. In 2012, he moved on to run the kitchen at Luella’s Bar-B-Que for four years and then founded Juju’s Craft Cookery, named after his daughter, in Mills River.

“I learned how to move … everybody had to hustle. And my love for hip-hop, classic rock and gangsters all rolls in the hustle too — hence the name.”

Dotson is passionate about making everything from scratch or partnering with local purveyers and makers, as well as being as environmentally friendly as possible — down to the compostable to-go bags and utensils. Sauces are available to purchase via his Side Hustle Sauce Co., as are shirts, hats and jerseys.

Hustle Wing Co. is at 3754 Brevard Road, Horse Shoe. For more information, visit avl.mx/df0.

A culinary collaboration

Jay Medford, chef and owner of Storm Rhum Bar, will partner with Tori Frasher at Sage and Spice Market and Catering to create a five-course Asian and Southern-inspired meal. Chef’s Table with Jay, an entirely gluten-free dinner with limited seating, will be served Friday, March 22, 7-9 p.m.

Frasher, who opened her market in West Asheville last fall, says she and Medford kept running into each other around town and talked about collaborating. After attending a dinner hosted by Frasher, Medford created a menu and they set a date.

“It’s a way of me being able to be me again with food,” says Medford. “Without restrictions or anything.”

“He’s had a lot of fun with his projects lately, but it’s an exciting opportunity for him to be back in the kitchen doing what he loves,” says Frasher. “He’s very excited to do a menu combining his passion for Asian cuisine with delicious Southern food, pulling from local purveyors.”

The menu includes an ube coconut bisque, watercress and butter lettuce salad, seared sea scallops, mango ponzu New York strip steak and black sesame poi mochi.

Sage and Spice Market and Catering is at 1056 Patton Ave. For more information, visit avl.mx/df2.

Local manager selected for international event

Kala Brooks, manager of Thirsty Monk in Asheville, has been chosen as one of eight women worldwide to participate in the International Women’s Day Brewing Event in Belgium.

The event will bring the eight women together for a collaborative brewing experience, to celebrate the creativity and expertise of women in brewing as well as highlight the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the craft beer industry.

On Friday, March 8, Thirsty Monk Downtown will feature the beer brewed during this event, donating a portion of the proceeds from sales to a local charity that supports women. The event will also include light snacks, Asheville Chocolate truffles and beer pairings.

“[It is an] incredible opportunity to be chosen for such an impactful global project,” says Brooks in a press release. “I’m excited to have some amazing professional company and learn from one of the finest brewing programs in the world. Plus, I get to make an awesome beer!”

Thirsty Monk Downtown is at 92 Patton Ave. For more information, visit avl.mx/dfb.

Rise Above Bakehouse closes

Fairview’s Rise Above Bakehouse — a bake shop offering homemade breads, pastries and sandwiches — has closed after almost five years of operation.

The announcement was made via a social media post on Feb. 20.

“We’ve loved being a part of this amazing community and getting to know so many of our wonderful neighbors and are so grateful for all the support you’ve shown us, one loaf of sourdough at a time. This was a very difficult decision to reach, but the business was facing a number of challenges, including the end of our lease, a slower than expected off-season and ever-increasing operational costs. We wish we could have found a way to either expand at our current location or relocate somewhere larger within the Fairview community, but those efforts ultimately weren’t successful.”

The post also stated that followers would be updated on future plans, including possible reopening in a new spot.

For more information, visit avl.mx/df5.

Free marketing workshop for farmers

Farmer Vannah Roddy of Encompass Farm and Emory Brandon, Appalachan Sustainable Agriculture Project’s graphic designer, will hold a free virtual class for farmers on how to promote their farms and communicate with customers via newsletters. Newsletter Marketing for Farmers will be held Tuesday, March 12, 5-7 p.m.

The workshop will cover topics such as building a subscriber base, keeping customers engaged, increasing sales and the importance of storytelling and aesthetics.

For more information or to register, visit avl.mx/df8.

Cooking for a party of one (or two)

The Madison County Center of the N.C. Cooperative Extension will offer Cooking for 1-2 People, a class running Thursdays, 5:30-7 p.m., March 21-April 11.

The $20 series will teach attendees how to make quick and easy meals without creating excess waste.

The Madison County Center is at 258 Carolina Lane, Marshall.

For more information, visit avl.mx/df6.

Coffee bar for sale

Miki Loomis, owner of Home Ground Coffee Bar, has decided to sell the coffee shop so she can spend more time with family. The Amboy Road building that houses the shop, as well as the separately owned Cascade Lounge, are up for rent.

Loomis also owns HomeGrown restaurant, which will not be affected by the change.

She says she plans to keep Home Ground open and hopes a new tenant will want to purchase the equipment as well.

The café serves coffee drinks, grab-and-go breakfast and lunch daily, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Home Ground Coffee Bar is at 219 Amboy Road. For more information, visit avl.mx/df3.

WNC Farmers Market festival accepting vendors

Growing in the Mountains spring festival, held Friday, April 19-Sunday, April 21, at the WNC Farmers Market, is expanding this year and accepting new vendors and crafters.

The festival welcomes both established and new growers and artists. Contact wncgrowinginthemountains@gmail.com for more information and an application.

The WNC Farmers Market is at 570 Brevard Road. For more information, visit avl.mx/dfg.


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About Andy Hall
Andy Hall graduated from The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. After working at the United States Capitol for ten years, she has returned to her native state to enjoy the mountains — and finally become a writer.

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