macchialina_asheville_2015Some of what’s going around:

-New Italian restaurant coming to downtown Asheville: It looks like Macchialina, a new Italian restaurant planned for the ground floor of the Windsor Hotel at the corner of Walnut and Broadway in downtown Asheville is finally a go (at least according to signs up in the windows). The restaurant was announced last spring, then nothing happened. The new sign says the Miami-based eatery will be open in spring 2015. Another new sign up in another Windsor Hotel retail space on Broadway advertises a store called Desirant.

-Gas prices are great: Several Facebook friends of mine were reporting Thursday night that they were finding gas below the $2-a-gallon mark around Asheville at Sam’s stores. That’s the first time in more than five years that we’ve seen gas that cheap.

-Die Antwoord sellout: Tickets to see the South African hip-hop/rave duo Die Antwoord at The Orange Peel sold out quickly online this morning, and had people lined up on Biltmore Avenue to buy in person.

-Celebrate Tom Selleck’s birthday: At Burial Beer on Jan. 29.ymi_building_jan_2015

-New businesses in YMI building: Word on the street is that there are two new businesses planned for the YMI building at the corner of Eagle and Market streets in downtown Asheville.

-Vincenzo’s still open: Despite threats from a landlord to shut down Vincenzo’s restaurant in downtown Asheville, the restaurant remains open.

-Buncombe Built: A new exhibition at the Asheville Area Arts Council in the Grove Arcade celebrates musical instruments made in Buncombe County. The opening reception is tonight beginning at 5 p.m.
smoky_mountain_adventure_center_2015_2

-Amboy road construction: Construction is well underway on the new Smoky Mountain Adventure Center on Amboy Road. The project received $100,000 in Buncombe TDA money in 2010 to build a new outdoor sports and adventure center featuring climbing walls, canoe and bike rentals, and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

-New Mountain breaks ground: On their new outdoor stage, which will be open in spring, according to the New Mountain Asheville FB page:

Join us April 24th-26th for the grand opening of our Amphitheater!
Featuring headliners : The Black Lips | RJD2 | and Snarky Puppy!!!
with support from: Slow Magic | Gringo Star | The Fritz | Kansas Bible Company | The Tills | RBTS WIN | The Shine Brothers | Southern Fried Funk | Cure For The Common and more!

-MLK Day in Asheville: Here are Asheville’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day events, via Lauryn Higgins of WNC Magazine:

Asheville Prayer Breakfast
January 17 | Asheville

During this 34th annual event, keynote speaker Dr. Thavolia Glymph of Duke University will address more than 1,000 guests of all races, faiths, and backgrounds on her studies on the emancipation of female slaves. A new venue will host this ever-growing audience, and breakfast will be served following a communal prayer. Crowne Plaza Resort, 1 Resort Dr.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m.; $30, $15 youth; (828) 281-1624;www.mlkasheville.org

UNCA MLK Week
January 19-23 | Asheville

The weeklong celebration includes volunteer opportunities, lectures, film screenings, a prayer breakfast, and a Thursday-evening appearance by documentary filmmaker, writer and anti-sexist activist Byron Hurt, who will delve into issues of race, equality, gender, and media. University of North Carolina at Asheville, 1 University Heights; Monday-Friday, times vary; free; (828) 251-6481; cesap.unca.edu 

 

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40 Comments

  1. Anyone who says this new Italian place (which sounds great…hope it executes and works out…time will tell!) is coming into an “overcrowded” Italian resto market and is stupid for opening up across the street from Strada is just wrong – there’s hardly any good Italian in this town (Vinnie’s, Chiesa are very good, not excellent…and that’s about it folks) and certainly no great Italian. And…Strada sucks.

  2. The line-up for the New Mountain outdoor amphitheater looks awesome! RBTS WIN at The Mothlight was one of my favorite shows in 2014, and The Tills are perhaps too much fun!

  3. Round 1001 in Ashevegas of the:

    1. They should/shouldn’t build that here
    2. We do/don’t have too many ____________ here

    Mercifully, we are still a country where entrepreneurs decide where to plunk down their capital and consumers decide if they prosper, limp along or fail.

    • You are correct. And at any moment, Hauntedhead will have a stroke of entrepreneurial genius and share her brilliant, original idea with all of Asheville. It will be so unique and creative that it will show all the dumbazz restauranteurs and hoteliers how stupid they are for not being original and creative in how they spend their capital. They really are stupid ya know. That’s how they got their money.

      • hauntedheadnc says:

        Indeed it is how they get their money, Harry. Just ask Brad Daugherty.

        Meanwhile, my idea for improving Asheville is a bit more macro than not putting competing restaurants of the same type directly across the street from one another, and I’m happy that the city is now pursuing it. After seeing how well it works to replace public housing with mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods in other cities, I’ve long been a proponent of doing the same here, and I’m delighted that the city is now looking into that option for Lee Walker Heights.

        What good ideas have you suggested for improving this place we all call home? I mean, you seem fine with aggressive competition that will likely put a local business out of business, and you seem fine with the same kinds of real estate fads and bubbles that gave us the 2008 collapse, so things are probably fine as far as you’re concerned, but if not, what do you suggest for making our city better? Please do tell.

        • Really? You think Brad Daugherty is stupid? I know Brad, and he’s anything but stupid.

          And don’t tell me about competition. I was in the landscaping business for 40 years in an extremely competitive market where anyone who owned a Toro lawnmower was qualified to run a landscape business.

          Let me guess. You were one who thought in the early days that the food trucks should be allowed to set up anywhere there was a parking space available?

          • hauntedheadnc says:

            No, I don’t think Brad Daugherty is stupid. I just think he opened a restaurant in a city with too many of them. That’s our problem. We’re a “foodie” city where everybody wants a piece of the action and there’s already not enough action to go around. It *really* doesn’t help when two restaurants of the exact same type are facing off across the street. That’s when something’s got to give, and my fear is that it will be the local place that eats it. If you were in the landscaping business, then you know. When one goes up, another one goes down, especially when they’re right across the damn street from one another.

            And you’d be wrong about the food trucks, by the way. I think it’s dangerous whenever a fad, any fad, sweeps the business community. From one food truck to a dozen, to however many we’ve got. There are only so many stomachs in this city to fill. We’re not that big. We have too many restaurants. We have too many of the same kinds of restaurants, and meanwhile, with all of these places to spend money, there’s nowhere to make it.

            That’s my point and that has always been my point. Argue against it if you want, but you’d be wrong.

          • First let me say that Daugherty’s isn’t closed because he opened in a market with too many restaurants. That’s just plain dumb, and that’s all I will say on that topic.

            Second, Indie’s post is exactly correct. Read it over and over until you get it.

            Third, I don’t believe that you don’t understand free market capitalism. I think you just don’t like it. Well, thankfully in this country, you’re SOL. No, you’re an unhappy liberal who thinks that life should be fair. You’re angry because you can’t afford to eat at many of the restaurants in Asheville. You feel entitled to a high paying job, affordable housing, and my guess is, free college. You hate people with money even though they pay the lion’s share of all federal income tax. You probably get all of yours back.

            The sooner you realize that you’re not entitled to any job, or any housing, and that the world owes you nothing, you’ll begin your journey toward success, however you choose to define it. Quit being so angry, and go be something. And for God’s sake, stop whining about new restaurants and hotels. And just an aside. I take it from one of your posts that you are studying in some field of Special Education. That’s an honorable profession that takes a special type of person to handle. I wish you well. However, once in your field, you still won’t be able to eat in many of the fine restaurants in town.

          • hauntedheadnc says:

            That’s funny, Harry. I thought Daugherty’s closed because it was offering a product, at a price, too similar to what you can get at fifty other places around town already. Were you saying it was inept management instead, or a bad location right smack in the middle of the South Asheville sprawl?

            As for the rest of it, buddy did you ever get me wrong, and your hostility indicates a fear of the validity of my argument. I do not believe that life (or Asheville) owes me anything. A healthy city *does* owe, however, all of its citizens a decent chance. Asheville does not do that, and is not a healthy city. Smart cities figure out a way to offer a high quality of life and an affordable quality of life, and Asheville doesn’t do that either, and is therefore not nearly as smart a place as it likes to advertise. If you disagree, then I want you to explain to me how exactly it is healthy for a city to have as its biggest export, the dreams, capabilities, and talent of its young people. Charlotte, Greenvile, Atlanta, Raleigh, and Greensboro have benefited immensely from the fact that Asheville won’t do what it takes to attract the jobs or make housing affordable enough to keep all the people who want to be here, here.

            Lastly, I’m going to school to be a social worker. I’ll be the one they call when someone rapes a kid and puts a video of it online for everyone to enjoy and admire. I know I won’t get paid what I deserve for doing that job already, but I’d be pretty stupid to expect that. As a society we don’t value the people who do the real work. If we did, social workers, cops, firefighters, soldiers, teachers, and nurses would be millionaires, people would play basketball for free, and Paris Hilton would be begging on the corner.

          • Well, I have lived in Atlanta and had a division of my company in Greensboro. Funny, the liberals in those cities whine and complain just like you. And just like you, their arguments are usually emotion based. The simple fact that you would even compare Asheville to those other cities tells me you know absolutely nothing about business. Two things I want you to think about in this realm. I’m not going to give you all of the reasons we’re not like Atlanta, Charlotte, or Raleigh, nor will we ever be. I want you to go do your own research. But think transportation, and development costs. Those big beautiful bumpy things poking up out of the ground here can be a real problem sometimes. Buh by…

          • hauntedheadnc says:

            If you think I was comparing Asheville to those cities, that tells me your reading comprehension isn’t at the level it needs to be for us to have a discussion. Try again.

  4. Imagination is not sitting back and waiting for for major employers to come to town. We are all jealous of Spartanburg-Greer-Greenville because they have a BMW factory. Blame Bill Clinton for sending most of Asheville’s factories to China and Mexico back in the 90s. True, our elected officials need more imagination to entice what ones that are left here.

    Imagination is you doing something. How are you tapping into all the rich tourists you hate? The problem is not Macchialina per se, but lacking the imagination to have a restaurant better than Macchialina. Why should an Italian restaurant have stirred up so much deep seated issues??

    • Asheville cannot wait for major employers to come to town. The Popular Mechanics article referred to Asheville as a BYOJ city, as in “bring your own job.” A lot come as artists, entertainers or musicians, but some start their own company like “Plum Print, an Asheville-based startup company that transforms children’s artwork into original coffee table books,” Asheville Ventures, Accelerating Appalachia, BLUE RIDGE FOOD VENTURES, are mechanisms to make that happen.

      I would like to see farming return to WNC. We need more dairy farms for cheese production like Ashe County Cheese Factory. Forest is good, but there is something wholesome to the farms north of Boone. I’ve always loved that part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Blueberry orchards, more vineyards, are welcome too.

    • hauntedheadnc says:

      Imagination is worth about much as a wish if a cadre of whining transplants will fight tooth and nail against a good employer coming to town, or when leaders aren’t willing to do everything they can to bring good employers to town. A bunch of little start-ups are great, but they’re not going to fix a problem that goes all the way to the bones of this city. That’s what’s irritating about people only building, and only ever opening, the same three damn things: hotels, restaurants, and breweries. Only one of those three pays a decent wage, but not when the market saturates and they start closing as fast as they open, the way restaurants are already doing.

      Since you asked, I am not tapping into the rich tourists I hate. I’m putting up with them, while watching them drive out a lot of what made Asheville special and which is now mostly gone. I’m in school to put myself in a field of work such that I will never have to endure another tourist ever again, in fact. Meanwhile, the reason an Italian restaurant should stir up such a deep-seated issue is because it’s an avatar of everything wrong with Asheville.

      Bottom line, this is a restaurant, which we have too many of, of a type of which we already have enough of, coming in from outside due to homegrown and hard-earned success, locating directly across the street from a local restaurant of the same type. It’s coming in from outside because of what we’ve done here, to compete with something that helped bring about the reason the new restaurant is coming at all. The fact that this new restaurant will be unaffordable and already markets itself pretentiously, and that the building where it will locate is one of the best examples of gentrification you could ever find,is just a bonus.

      • “…it’s an avatar of everything wrong with Asheville.”

        LOL. I must have missed the uproar from everyone except you.

        • hauntedheadnc says:

          And yet I explained myself thoroughly. Would you care to actually address the points I’ve made, or were you more in the mood to impersonate a pigeon, deposit your droppings, and fly off again?

          • No, neither.

            I don’t think there is a problem with this issue and thus no points to address.

          • hauntedheadnc says:

            You know, you’re right. What’s another restaurant in direct competition with a local place? And now that I think about it, we really don’t have enough options for Italian food — more than thirty is a really paltry selection. We especially don’t have enough places to drop $60 on a single entree. There are so many good jobs paying so much that everyone can afford that at least three times a week. I’ve also come to see the light on how the Windsor really isn’t gentrification, just because they threw out the people who lived and worked in that building with the express purpose of turning it over to wealthy tourists.

            You are right about all those things. I just don’t know what came over me to think otherwise.

          • Don’t forget to include how posting diatribe after diatribe on Ashvegas.com is certainly going to make a difference!

          • hauntedheadnc says:

            It made enough of a difference in your life that you commented repeatedly.

            Or are you saying that words, and therefore ideas, don’t have power?

          • No, I’m saying that posting them in the comments section of this blog does not have any power.

            Look, I bet we agree on some things and disagree on some things. I just happen disagree that one Italian restaurant vs. another is any kind of issue at all. I don’t care if one owner is local and the other is not. It’s not like Walmart moved in and is shutting down a mom & pop shop. It’s totally the reverse situation! Strada is expensive and Macchialina is MORE expensive. I can’t afford to eat at either.

            If Strada fails because Macchialina reduces its business too much I’d be very surprised. If they fail it would most likely be on their own accord. But the owner has been in Asheville a long time and has been successful with restaurants for a long time so I think he’ll still do ok.

            This issue is a non issue. I definitely don’t think it’s the symbol about the State of Asheville that you think it is. The other stuff about housing and whatnot…well that’s a different, unrelated (and much larger issue).

          • hauntedheadnc says:

            I can respect your position that this issue isn’t a good summary of what’s dysfunctional about Asheville. I disagree with you, but I can respect your position.

      • It is mainly retirees whining about new development. They don’t need a job. They came for a peaceful retirement. If more development does come, they will most likely move out to Brevard or Black Mountain for more peace.

        We can learn a lot from Greenville. The loss of their textile industry could have been devastating, but their leaders did have imagination to revitalize downtown and attraction more development. Venture Asheville actually took Greenville as an inspiration. I would add, they improve the quality of life with downtown parks and the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The 19 mile Ecusta Trail, the bike RAD greenways, Bent Creek Greenway potentially could exceed what Greenville has.

        A widened I-26 will attract more development. The eventual plan is to widen it to 6 lanes (3 in both directions)from Flat Rock to Long Shoals, then to 8 lanes from Long Shoals through Asheville then back to 6 lanes to Weaverville. I-40 will also be widened to 6 lanes through Asheville. Don’t underestimate the effect of a widened highway will have on developers. Look like Charlotte you’ll attract the major employers like Charlotte does.

        Out in the country, I would limit development and preserve farmland. We don’t need mobile homes filling up all the farmland like in Leicester. Zone it.

        As a side note, the Blue Ridge Parkway bridges through Asheville need to be redone with the traditional stone design like the ones in Virginia and elsewhere.

        • Every time you buy a mobile home, you are supporting Obama and the evil Democratic Party. Clayton Homes is owned by Warren Buffett a big Democrat supporter. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate also owns the two dominant lenders in the mobile home business — 21st Mortgage Corp., and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance Co. Boycott these places.

          • hauntedheadnc says:

            Considering the overabundance of affordable housing around here, I’m sure your horrifying implications will not be lost on local homebuyers. There are so many other options besides mobile homes that local residents making local wages can afford, after all.

      • “Bottom line, this is a restaurant, which we have too many of, of a type of which we already have enough of, coming in from outside due to homegrown and hard-earned success, locating directly across the street from a local restaurant of the same type.”

        -Yes. Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been here since ’93, and I’ve seen so many restaurants fail. Besides the crap wages they pay their kitchen staff… and the a-hole tourists and rich folk that abuse and under-tip the servers at pretentious joints.

  5. Contribute to the things you want changed or just stop wasting good air. I’ve heard hauntedheadNC complain about this city since the days of LiveJournal and I’m over it. Open a business, work in the industry, make a difference or shut up.

    • hauntedheadnc says:

      Sorry, but I live and work here and have to get by on local wages. That rather precludes me having the money to start a business or make much of a difference beyond spending what money I have on local places instead of overpriced out-of-town pretension. I’ve also dedicated my life to making a difference with kids who have been physically, mentally, and sexually abused, so I’m kind of busy, you know?

  6. #1 We do actually do not have enough hotels. The price of a hotel night is way too high. Back in October, the dumpy Days Inn in Candler was going for over $125 a night.
    #2 Asheville is a top foodie city because the competition is so great that only the very best survive. Macchialina

    We got new Ethiopian and Brazilian Steakhouse, those are new. I wish Baba Ghannouj would come back, but as a buffet like the one in Durham.

    • hauntedheadnc says:

      1 — Hotels are fine when they’re not the only thing anyone is building downtown. Downtown land is precious and dwindling, and some of it needs to go toward housing before it’s all gone.

      I’d also argue with you that $125 is too high in peak season. Hotels, like everything else in this town, are cyclical and depend on peak season to make most of their money. If there’s such a glut of hotel rooms that they can’t charge more than $45 a night during peak fall color, then you can expect them to close, and as inventory shrinks, for the rates to go right back up.

      2 — Asheville is a foodie city, yes, but competition is so great because it’s also a small city that is overbuilt in this particular segment of the economy. I also defy you to tell me that it doesn’t demonstrate a lack of imagination to open an Italian restaurant directly across the street from another Italian restaurant.

      Ethiopian and Brazilian restaurants are indeed new, but two new concepts easily get lost in the herd of pizza and taco places.

      • “I also defy you to tell me that it doesn’t demonstrate a lack of imagination to open an Italian restaurant directly across the street from another Italian restaurant.” I defy you! It doesn’t demonstrate a lack of imagination to open an Italian restaurant directly across the street from another Italian restaurant. Italian is the most popular type of food. No wonder we have so many Italian restaurants. What other Italian restaurant has MEDITERRANEAN OCTOPUS $16, a Seafood platter for $45, or for only $60 a 21 day dry aged NY strip, crushed fingerlings & Truffled mushrooms. Isn’t this the restaurant you’ve always wanted? Or is it the new Golden Corral we are getting in 2016?

        • hauntedheadnc says:

          No, that isn’t the restaurant I’ve always wanted, because it’s too expensive, but neither is Golden Corral the restaurant I’ve always wanted, because they’re disgusting.

          What kind of job pays enough in Asheville to allow anybody who lives and works in this town, making this town’s wages, to afford a $60 steak? I did enjoy though, how the announcement for Macchialina states that though their food may be rustic, you may rest assured that the place is upscale, so you don’t have to worry your pretty little head over the possibility of dining with the servants on their night off.

          I rather hope this place falls flat on its face a la Daugherty’s, which also served meager portions of needlessly complicated food for inflated prices. Macchialina’s doesn’t even pretend to nod toward actual Asheville residents. It’s for rich tourists and nobody else, which is bad enough, but it’s also a glaring example of both a stunning lack of creativity, and out-of-town parasites rushing in to feed off homegrown success, not to mention how the entire Windsor Hotel saga is one of textbook gentrification.

          Add it all up and I am definitely not rooting for this place.

      • “If there’s such a glut of hotel rooms that they can’t charge more than $45 a night during peak fall color, then you can expect them to close, and as inventory shrinks, for the rates to go right back up.”

        Good! That will force the worst hotels to close. We will be noted for the world’s best hotels just like we are for food. With all these new downtown hotels coming, maybe the ugly Downtown Inn & Suites on Patton Ave will be demolished and beautiful new housing units or office building will rise in its place. Think before you complain about everything. All this competition will get rid of the junk and leave only the best-survival of the fittest.

        • luther blissett says:

          All this competition will get rid of the junk and leave only the best-survival of the fittest.

          Hotels are not biological entities. Nor are restaurants or breweries. Plenty of shit survives in Asheville; plenty of good stuff goes away, not least because the city has sufficient numbers of one-time visitors that it’s worth a punt on a slightly crappy hotel or a crappy downtown restaurant that will catch the tourists that one time, and that’s a living.

          If only reality worked according to your pure unsullied logical principles, LVR.

        • hauntedheadnc says:

          No, that will not leave only the “world’s best hotels.” That will actually only leave Asheville even more inaccessible to anyone but the rich. I assure you that I do think before I complain — and my complaints remain valid. Asheville’s wealth is increasing in tandem with it’s decreasing health as a community. We are fast becoming nothing more than a golden ghetto boutique city with a million places to spend money, but nowhere to make it.

          By the way, as a native of Asheville, let me say this: Don’t flatter yourself. We do not have and are not known for the world’s best food, nor do we have nor will we ever be known for having the world’s best hotels. We have great restaurants, yes, but you and Asheville itself need a reality check and to come back down to earth.

          • It is actually the Asheville natives who lack imagination. I remember growing up in eastern Piedmont of NC and wondering why Asheville was not more developed. Asheville had been declining since its glory days as a tourist hub from the late 1800s to the Great Depression. Asheville still had amazing potential with its moderate climate and the highest peak east of the Mississippi at its doorstep. Instead the people had the mentality of Rutherfordton/Canton/Rosman, NC or West Virginia. The English of the east were traditionally more industrious, but (not to sound racist because I am not) I think the presence of black people created a sense of superiority among the racist white people. Nowadays, it is mainly white flight where the whites are pushing west building beautiful new homes and shopping centers to escape the crime of the black sections.

            Tourism has helped open up most all of WNC. I’ve driven extensively through West Virginia and Virginia’s mountains and tourism has definitely helped NC mountain area develop into a far nicer area than they are. Asheville’s best days are still ahead. It still needs to demolish a lot of buildings and ban mobile homes. As Asheville develops, high paying jobs will come (like the breweries) for Asheville high quality of life. I hope one day we’ll see hauntedheadnc earn a lot of money because of it.

          • hauntedheadnc says:

            In my experience, it isn’t the natives who lack for imagination. We would absolutely *love* for major employers to come to town, because then so many of us would not need to move to Charlotte or some equally awful place. However, that rarely happens because our enormous NIMBY-American community, almost all of whom moved here from elsewhere and therefore are the growth they despise, protest everything and make the process of getting anything approved or built such a grinding torture that most developers won’t bother to build anything except the safest, most boring old standbys. Pair that with systemically weak and uninspired leadership, and Asheville is the overpriced, underpaid, underemployed place that it is — albeit a lovely overpriced, underpaid, underemployed place whose employers will tell you to your face that the beauty is the reason they’re paying you $5 an hour less than the very same job would pay in Greenville or Spartanburg.

            I’m also going to take umbrage with your suggestion to ban mobile homes and demolish buildings, unless you’ve got some plan up your sleeve to provide other housing options for anyone who isn’t wealthy, and unless you’re talking about the glut of unlovely mid-century crap and suburban sprawl that really does need to be replaced with some serious urban development.

  7. is Macchialina Italian organic? don’t bring any more of that GMO garbage here

  8. hauntedheadnc says:

    The lack of imagination in Asheville’s business community (and among those who want to be a part of Asheville’s business community) is depressing. For one, we have too many restaurants as it is and for another, we definitely have enough Italian restaurants. Third, we absolutely don’t yet another Italian restaurant, and definitely not one from out of town, locating directly across the street from a good local Italian restaurant.

    Would it really kill businesspeople in this town to build something other than restaurants, bars, breweries, or hotels? Would it kill them to at least try to bring to town some kind of restaurant we don’t already have thirty variations of?

    • Wrong. We absolutely do need another Italian restaurant – there’s not many good ones in town, and certainly no great one. Strada blows.

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