[the following editorial about Bartaco is the opinion of the author alone]

WHY WE RESIST

Did you know that Asheville has one of the most notable collections of Art Deco buildings of any city in the country? In the world, actually. That seems really amazing when you think about it, but it’s absolutely true! Google it. You’ll see. I did . Here’s my results…

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The locals know about the stand-outs: The S&W Cafeteria, the Self Help Building (nee The Public Service Building), Woolworth’s, Kress, The Flatiron, City Hall… Andy’s. Yep, remember little ol’ Andy’s Heating and Cooling on Biltmore Ave on the Southern edge of Downtown? It was so CUTE! And kitchy. It was a part of our local history, and a small but valuable gem of Asheville’s Art Deco architecture. It’s gone now. Destroyed by a chain taco shop called Bartaco. Coming soon.

I didn’t know much about Andy’s so I asked my friend Chett if it was really Deco. He knows stuff. He said this…

Art deco was from 1925-1940. This building was built in 1941 so it is referred to as post art deco, I don’t agree since the plans for this building were probably drawn up in ’39 or ’40 putting it closer to the end of the period than after,” then Chett added, “it will never be the same.

The building was originally an auto-garage, then Andy Runne purchased it and operated a heating and cooling business there with his son Andre until 2013, when young Andre was tragically killed, which I only mention here because it closely precedes the building going up for sale. Although I didn’t know the reasons behind the sale at the time, I did noticed that the building was available, and then saw that it sold, and was being renovated. It was closed-up tight, with plastic on all the windows and a large machine of some kind next to it that was running 24/7 for what seemed like a year. More recently, major renovations inside and out have begun in earnest, and its new form is being revealed.

To my horror… This remodel of one of our actual, authentic Art Deco structures is a hideous, fake-ass, hacienda-style, tex-mex, shit-show. Holy fuck. It looks more like a ride at 7 Flags than a restaurant to me. Will there be an automaton mariachi band? Boooo! I was super annoyed. Turns out I’m not the only one. I got these texts from two friends one morning…

Friend A – By the way that building next to the orange peel used to be a beautiful example of art deco gas station architecture. And these assholes have made it into a Appalachian or Adirondack cabin looking crazy piece of garbage.

Friend B – Bartaco ruined one of my favorite buildings in this town! I always wanted to turn that one into a diner/cocktail bar! It was such a cool old school building!

That prompted me to post this on FaceBook:

“Does anyone out there in Asheville have any good pictures of Andy’s Heating and Cooling, before Bartaco destroyed it to remake it into a completely out-of-place hacienda style freakshow? It was truly one of the coolest little buildings downtown, and come to find out I’m not the only one mourning the loss. This is a great example of why we need to keep Asheville UNCHAINED!!!”

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Here are some excerpts from the thread…

“Such a shame. And what an ugly faux chimney.”

I drive by it almost every day. It keeps getting more and more ridiculous

“Disney world theme piece of shit”

“I agree with you Stu, its a shame. When looking for locations for ___, we looked at that one, and the guys seemed to be attempting to keep the character of the place intact. Much to my surprise to see each detail torn apart and rebuilt a la tex-mex. fuck the muggles”

“I’ve been sad about it too. I was hoping they would take advantage of the coolness of the original building. Then they lost it.”

” I so LOVED that building and I can’t believe that they were allowed to destroy its heritage. SAD SAD SAD”

Here are some pictures of Andy’s from August 2012 that Jason Sandford dug up from the Ashvegas archives. If you have better pictures, please post them to social media and tag @stuhelmfoodfan

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Yes, Andy’s needed a facelift, but not the Hollywood-style plastic surgery botch-job it’s been given!
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This is what the authentic 1941 Auto-Garage-style example of Art Deco Architecture looked like in 2012.
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Here’s what it looks like as of October 30th, 2016. No longer art deco, resembling something that would be more in place at Dollywood than downtown Asheville.
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The photos don’t quite do justice to how hokey and fake this shit looks in real life.

Here are a few more quotes from that Facebook thread…

“It is the most asshole building makeup I have ever witnessed. Chains, uniform look uniform food , and I will not be supporting them. Ever.”

“gave this place a real good look up and down this morning looked in the windows…NEVER EVER EVER GOING IN, what a wreck”

Doh! Those last two are pretty harsh, especially in light of this one:

“The people in Asheville are what we’re looking for… that’s what we want.”

Those are the words of new building owner Andy Pforzheimer, as reported by Mackensy Lunsford, local food writer for The Asheville Citizen Times. Pforzheimer said this back in 2015, just as he and partner Sasa Mahr-Batuz were in the process of planning to destroy every charming, historic aspect of the original building design, to convert it into the embarrassment that it is now. Could it be any more out of place and ridiculous? Yes. It could. As I write this, they’re not done building it yet. Here’s another quote from Lunsford’s interview with Pforzheimer:

“It’s supposed to feel like you’re at the beach.”

Are you fucking kidding me? The beach? Nahhhht gonna happen, Dude. You’re in the mountains. At a cross-roads of two busy streets that are only going to get busier. Is the whooshing traffic supposed to sound like the crashing waves? Jesus fuck. Some people. “The beach,” he says. Hey, everybody, it’s gonna feel exactly like the beach.

Grab your surf board and meet at the Bartaco! Let’s get wasted on cheap Tequila then vomit fish tacos on the side of the Orange Peel! Cowabunga!

Oh yeah, they’re gonna have cheap tequilla. Yay.

There are already 8 of these shit-shacks in existence. This one will be the ninth. Mackensy’s article quotes the New York Times describing one location as “Ralph Lauren filtered through a surfer’s haze.” I think I’m gonna puke. Really? Is that what we’re in for on Biltmore Ave? Ralph fucking Lauren fucking filtered through a fucking surfer’s fucking haze?!? Holy… fffaaahhhh… Take that fake-ass, honky-tonk bullshit up to Tunnel Road where it belongs, or better yet, drag it all the way down to Orlando, Florida. I know a mouse who needs a designer surf taco.

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Whenever I lead my walking food tours past the current construction site for Bartaco, I actually use it as an example and a teaching tool about why we are so resistant to chain stores in downtown Asheville. The patrons have usually already noticed all the UN CHAIN AVL signs around town, so I explain that to them, point to the building, and say…

“Across the street you’ll see a great example of why we resist chain stores in downtown Asheville. That building used to be one of the cutest little examples of authentic Art Deco architecture in this area, and then these goons came along and turned it into… whatever the heck they’re turning it into. When the chains come in, they show no regard for local history, culture, character, or opinion. If we let chains take over our city, pretty soon we’ll look like any-town USA.”

The patrons on the tour all nod their heads in total agreement. They understand. They’re not visiting Asheville, NC so that they can eat chain tacos served inside of some fake-ass beach hut that could just as easily be in the town they live in. They’re here for an authentic experience: Local food, local history, local culture, and yes, local architecture is part of all of that. I wish I could point to that building and say:

“Across the street you’ll see a great example of why we love local restaurateurs. Andy’s Heating & Cooling used to be an actual heating and cooling service shop, but now it’s a diner, and they serve burgers and BBQ and fries and fritters and hand-pies out of there. The new owners recognized the historic significance of the building, and knew how much the locals loved it, so they restored it to it’s original glory, while converting it into an eatery. The even kept the name!” (tip o’ the hat to Ben’s Tune-Up)

Then all the patrons would nod and agree.Asheville is so coooool,” they would go home and tell all their friends, “There’s this diner called Andy’s Heating and Cooling…” But nope. Instead, we got robbed of one of our architectural gems, which has been replaced with a turd. Hmmm… A turd for a gem? Not a great deal for us. I joked on The Food Fan radio show that if the tacos are really good, all will be forgiven, but that was sarcasm. I’m gonna always think about the colossally insensitive conversion of Andy’s into this hideous taco turd that Pforzheimer & Mahr-Batuz have laid right on the main drag of our cherished, unique, unchained downtown.

So they’ve made a giant misstep straight out of the gate when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of some local eaters. Let’s hope they know how to play nice with the rest of the food makers at least. Wehhhhllll… When asked about the local perception of possible “taco saturation” in downtown Asheville by Mackensy, Pforzheimer had this to say…

“White Duck does nice food, but their space isn’t really a beachy, hang-out kind of place. Our decor is different, and our vibe is different than most of the Asheville Mexican places. There are elements of what we do in lots of good Asheville eateries, but I don’t think anyone else puts it all together.”

Oh! TssssssnapandBURRRN!!!

Eff you, every other restaurant in Foodtopia! Ain’t NONE of you putting it all together like the Cali-Mexi-Texi-Surfy-Ralph Laurenny Bartaco chaaaiiinnn is gonna put it all together. Gee whiz. I’ve seen slick restaurateurs slide into town with that kind of confidence before and they kinda don’t know what they’re really in for, or up against, in terms of the eaters, makers, cooks, farmers, and food vendors in this town, and our mutual commitment to excellence, as well the sense of togetherness that we all feel for and with each other. You can’t be dissin’ White Duck like that and expect us locals to be like, “that’s cool.” I mean, I can. We can. But you can’t. Nawwww. Not yet anyways. you gotta pay some dues-es before you can be cool like that.

Fuckin’ up historic buildings, forcing phony Baja beach culture into the middle of an authentic Appalachian mountain town, and talking shit about your fellow taco slingers ain’t gonna win you any fans any time soon. Not around these parts.

I wish we could somehow hit “control z” to undo the mess that Pforzheimer and Mahr-Batuz have made of the old Andy’s building, but we can’t. As friend Chett said, “It will never be the same,” and that is a very sad and 100% true statement.

Another good friend once told me that I should “stop falling in love with trees and buildings, because some asshole always takes them down.”

Sound advice that I just can’t seem to follow.

I contacted the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, who had seen fit to give Andy Runne one of twelve Griffin Awards in 2003 for “individuals and companies that have done the most to restore and burnish the best of the city’s architectural heritage.” I wanted to know what they could tell me about the building itself, and if they had an official opinion on its recent fate. Here’s their response, which is, of course, much more even-tempered than my own:

“It is a (was) a good example of late deco, transitioning to art moderne. We have no official (Board sanctioned) opinion of the current renovation. However, from the street, it is clear that the current renovation took very little in to account regarding the conservation of key design elements of the early moderne movement. The project is a renovation, not a rehabilitation, and therefore there really is no preservation approach, relative to maintaining design features that speak honestly to the age of the building. On a positive note, because the building was not completely demolished, a large amount of the core building materials were saved from the land fill. While a less aggressive renovation might have led to a truer telling of the building’s past, whatever materials can be kept out of the landfill by reuse of existing built environment is a win on some level. The next question would be, what effort is necessary to return the building to an earlier condition once this new enterprise exits. And that is maybe the most important thing to realize about historic places: we only occupy these places briefly; hopefully the place remains to tell the story of an earlier time. What will be the story told by this building?”

Jack Thomson, Executive Director

Mr. Thomson went on to add “We look forward to enjoying the fare of this new place and wish them the best of luck moving forward.”

The Conde Naste story that I cited at the top of this post calls our city an “open air museum” of Art Deco Architecture. In my opinion, when a couple of tasteless philistines like Pforzheimer and Mahr-Batuz come into the museum and defile one of the rare artworks, no matter how small, it’s a loss to all of us. There’s literally nothing we can do about it now, but let’s try not to let it happen again. There are some really cool buildings around here that the chains would love to destroy and replace with a taco turd. Every one of our historic buildings matters, just as every piece of art in a museum matters.

If you hear about plans to destroy a cool old building, take pictures, post about it on social media, get people involved, I bet you’re not the only one who feels that way.

It’s OKAY to love trees and buildings! Right?

Together we can save one or two, or maybe a whole bunch! In 1980 there were plans in the works to tear down ALL of downtown Asheville and replace it with a second Mall! YIKES! A “Save Downtown Asheville” movement was started by small business owners and other citizens, and they were able to STOP that horrible plan from going forth. As impossible as it seems, the people of this small city stood up to big money interests and were able to save the character of the town we live in. It took a long time for downtown Asheville to become the economic powerhouse of Indie buisnesses that it is today, but look at us now!

UN CHAIN AVL

Related

Keeping Asheville’s Past Alive https://mountainx.com/news/community-news/0521awards-php/
Posted on May 7, 2003 by Cecil Bothwell
“For 15 years, The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County has celebrated National Preservation Week (the second week of May) with the Griffin Awards. Named for the mythological creatures that grace the north entrance of the Grove Arcade, the awards go to individuals and companies that have done the most to restore and burnish the best of the city’s architectural heritage. An even dozen 2003 awards were presented on May 14 at a joint meeting with the city’s Historic Resources Commission. Winners… Andy’s Heating and Cooling (Historic Building Rehabilitation), Owner — Andy Rume”

Asheville Architecture and History Walk http://www.asheville-mountain-magic.com/asheville-architecture.html
“For a small city, downtown Asheville architecture is incredible! In this walkable urban setting you can explore one of the most remarkable collections of beautifully preserved buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s to be found anywhere in America.”

10 Great Art Deco Cities You Might Not Know About http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2015-02-20/10-great-art-deco-cities-you-might-not-know-about/4
“The artsy enclave in the Blue Ridge Mountains harbors an impressive collection.”

Downtown Asheville vs The Mall http://avldntn.uncadighist.org/save-downtown-asheville/downtown-reacts/
“For nearly two years, the Save Downtown Asheville organization fought the development of the Strouse-Greenburg mall. The organization was made up of local business owners and concerned citizens. Following the announcement of the mall on March 13th 1980, people like Wayne Caldwell and Kathryn Long worked to gain support against the mall and argue against the destruction of North Lexington Avenue.”

Bartaco co-owner describes forthcoming Asheville eatery http://www.citizen-times.com/story/entertainment/dining/2015/07/22/bartaco-co-owner-describes-forthcoming-asheville-eatery/30514573/
Mackensy Lunsford , Asheville 1:31 p.m. EDT July 22, 2015
“Andy Pforzheimer, co-owner of Bartaco with his business partner Sasa Mahr-Batuz, recently signed the lease on the former Andy’s Heating and Cooling building on Biltmore with plans to transform the space inside and out.”

Bartaco Menu Florida http://bartaco.com/location/orlando/
choice of 4-inch corn tortilla or bibb lettuce shell (+$.25), topped with cilantro
baja fish $2.5
spicy tempura-battered cod w/ chipotle slaw
pork pastor $2.5
slow-roasted w/ pineapple
chicken $2.5
guajillo chili sauce
spicy chorizo $2.5
argentinean pork sausage
portobello w/ queso fresco $2.5
roasted w/ poblano peppers + garlic
cauliflower $2.5
w/ romesco sauce (contains nuts)
falafel $2.5
w/ traditional greek-style tzatziki

Bartaco Menu Connecticut http://bartaco.com/location/west-hartford/
choice of 4-inch corn tortilla or bibb lettuce shell (+$.25), topped with cilantro
baja fish $2.5
spicy tempura-battered cod w/ chipotle slaw
pork pastor $2.5
slow-roasted w/ pineapple
chicken $2.5
guajillo chili sauce
spicy chorizo $2.5
argentinean pork sausage
portobello w/ queso fresco $2.5
roasted w/ poblano peppers + garlic
cauliflower $2.5
w/ romesco sauce (contains nuts)
falafel $2.5
w/ traditional greek-style tzatziki

Bartaco Menu New York http://bartaco.com/location/port-chester/
choice of 4-inch corn tortilla or bibb lettuce shell (+$.25), topped with cilantro
baja fish $2.5
spicy tempura-battered cod w/ chipotle slaw
pork pastor $2.5
slow-roasted w/ pineapp…

…you get the point. When the Biltmore Ave location is complete, there will be nine of these, located in various parts of the Eastern USA, and they have identical menus. Booo! Also: Hah ha! They really do have a location in Orlando! I wonder if Mickey prefers the Pork Pastor or the Baja fish?

~ END ~

From left: Chef Jacob Sessoms of Table; Chef William Dissen, The Market Place; Chef Steven Goff, Standard Foods; Chef Katie Button, Curate; Chef Joe Scully, Chestnut and Corner Kitchen; Stu Helm; Chef John Fleer, Rhubarb; Chef Karen Donatelli, Donatelli Bakery; Chef Peter Pollay, Posana Cafe; and Chef Matt Dawes, Bull & Beggar./ Photo by STEWART O'SHIELDS for ASHVEGAS.COM
From left: Chef Jacob Sessoms of Table; Chef William Dissen, The Market Place; Chef Steven Goff, Standard Foods; Chef Katie Button, Curate; Chef Joe Scully, Chestnut and Corner Kitchen; Stu Helm; Chef John Fleer, Rhubarb; Chef Karen Donatelli, Donatelli Bakery; Chef Peter Pollay, Posana Cafe; and Chef Matt Dawes, Bull & Beggar./ Photo by STEWART O’SHIELDS for ASHVEGAS.COM

Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.

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35 Comments

  1. This rant is unbelievable simply because it’s mostly untrue. I’ve been by this site and see almost none of the characteristics described. Nor was the old garage “cute”…

  2. I’ve actually been to one of these joints in Nashville and the food was damn good. I don’t go to restaurants to admire the exterior facade.

  3. Stu, I usually love your stuff, but this is WAY off base here. Art deco, with that stupid metal awning all around it? This building was an eyesore for 5 years, hell, it was an eyesore when Andy’s was still occupying it before that (remember the old beat up trucks out there in the lot that didnt run?) It has now been revamped, and remade, (lets say recycled) which is totally what asheville is all about. Someone spent a lot of money cleaning up a disastrous site and making it usable again, expanding downtown south, and offering up a new and unique place to eat in walking distance of everything else. Doesn’t get more asheville than that. Love you food reviews bud, but this one was off the mark in my humble opinion.

  4. Stu is a miserable fornication stain on the face of Asheville. I get so tired of reading his self righteous pathetic attempts at journalism or what comes across as rants from an 8th graders thought journal.

  5. A big concern is that the authentic character and sense of place that makes up Asheville is being lost. The historic architecture has long been a strong draw for people who also treasure the mountain environment. Our heavy tourist market presents the risk of transforming it into a honky tonk Disneyesque side show if left unchecked. Catering only to casual visitors can recreate something like Gatlinburg with more beer.

    • In all seriousness, do you think any tourist who has ever visited Asheville in part to see “the historic architecture” would even have noticed Andy’s Heating & Cooling, let alone thought of it as a preservation-worthy gem?

      • Mtn Maharani says:

        Think of how the ‘true locals’ feel (I’m one. I was born in Asheville). I do miss authentic, Mom and Pop shops downtown. And I’m wondering how many people supported the lost treasures of the mtn environment that used to exist downtown. Local or not, AVL is packed with mediocrity and demanding tourists. For all of the foodtopia hype, it is awash in mediocre restaurants with truly dreadful service.

  6. It was an inexpensively built, concrete block building like any gas station, auto garage, or dry cleaner of the day. True, it looked deco, but honestly lacked any compelling detail or uniqueness. In time it became ugly and toxic. Now onto chains. In my opinion they can add diversity and folks truly enjoy them. Sometimes I do too. They’re not inherently evil. Most start out as single joints that find a special formula that makes folks love them. Like the ones I frequent in my own hood, Zia, Standard Pizza, the U-joint, El Que Pasa, and Biscuit Head. Especially thankful when they repurpose derelict buildings, clean up toxic soil, and provide locals with jobs.

  7. It was an inexpensively built, concrete block building like any gas station, auto garage, or dry cleaner or of the day. True, it looked deco, but lacked any compelling detail or uniqueness. It was ugly and toxic. Chains add to diversity and folks enjoy them and sometimes I do too. They’re not inherently evil. Most start out as single joints that find a special formula that makes folks love them. Like the ones I frequent in my own hood, Zia, Standard Pizza, the U-joint, El Que Pasa, and Biscuit Head. Especially thankful when they repurpose derelict buildings, clean up toxic soil, and provide locals with jobs.

  8. No comment on the architectural dispute. But “Andy’s Eating and Cooling” would have been a great, cheesy name for a restaurant & bar…

  9. I see both sides and appreciate the passion you all share for AVL. How many years does it truly take for a “transplant” to be considered a “local” by the average hater standards?

    I’m genuinely curious…

  10. Stu Helm wrote ” There’s literally nothing we can do about it now, but let’s try not to let it happen again. ”

    Asheville has the second highest number of art deco buildings in the south east. Miami being the first.
    We really need a historical society that weighs in or has some oversight on our unique buildings.

    There is a special place in hell for those who do not honor the unique deco & moderne jewels, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

  11. I.C. Stanford says:

    0. (Disclosures) I’ve know Andy Pforzheimer for 35 years. He’s an okay guy. He taught me how to sear tuna. I oppose downtown chains on general principle. I’ve never eaten at a Bartaco; maybe this one will be lousy; I don’t know.
    1. If you’re going to complain about the destruction of an art deco treasure, it’s probably more effective to do it beforehand — in this case, when the sale was announced in the summer of 2015, say — rather than waiting until a week or two before the remodel is complete.
    2. Conversely, if you’re going to complain about the food at a restaurant, it’s probably more effective to wait until after the restaurant is actually open.

  12. The righteous indignation is amusing. You shoulda seen this place 30 years ago. The ironic thing is, you wouldn’t have stuck around because it was boring, nothing to do when it’s all boarded up.

  13. Mtn Maharani says:

    AVL might be full of beautiful Art Deco facades, but the interior of many of these buildings is disgusting. The Self Help Building, for example, is filthy inside. Hardly a diamond in the crown of Asheville if you’ve been inside.

    BTW, it’s Conde Nast, not Conde Naste (unless you’re making a joke).

  14. Give it a rest, Stu. The amount of money these developers had to sink into this property to make it even habitable thanks to the amounts of toxins in the soil was unprecedented. Look, I agree that the art deco integrity should have been kept, and a faux taco place is silly, but hitching your wagon to UnChain AVL is not a winning proposition. Your vocal minority “text” sources cite Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, but let’s remember what these buildings were prior…a drab cold war era CVS and a boarded up brick lot. The latter of which was the whole impetus behind Rebecca Hecht’s UnChain AVL movement in first place. Jason or the A-CT won’t report on this, because they’re buds with her, and nothing gets clicks quite like local unrest, but Rebecca Hecht (a transplant from the midwest, mind you, and certainly not a native to WNC) simply got pissed that she didn’t get the Anthropologie site for her little grocery store and decided to fan the flames. Now, she’s at her corner market selling WAY overpriced bottles of water and taking advantage of the same tourists as the “chains” she’s blasting. Do I want to preserve the art deco treasures in downtown? You bet. I think the condos attached to the S&W are a travesty. Applying that same UnChain AVL logic to a dilapidated super fund sight, however, just…no. Stick to critiquing food and perhaps let an urban planner or environmental cleanup expert weigh in on issues of developing a superfund site (and spare us the “for every dollar spent at a local business” logic…you’re not an economist either).

    • Festus Wright says:

      Anonymous poster calling out a woman by name. Big balls

      • When she plasters her name all over the UnChain AVL movement, of course i will. She is UnChain AVL and her whiny hypocrisy is worth calling out. And considering the “big balls” comment, this is probably one of her lackeys that “protested” downtown and drunkenly harassed everyone. Or should I point out the transplants from NYC that work in her salon compared to the local citizens employed by these “chains”? When you’re the mouthpiece of a protest movement (even one fueled by a personal gripe), you better be ready to get some criticism, anonymous or not. And my balls are huge, thank you.

    • Festus Wright says:

      People move these days. I’m afraid you are going to have to get over that. It’s great that you may have grown up here but unfortunately it doesn’t matter. You are no more special than any other person that lives here. While I will agree with you that folks are all to quick to take ownership of a place or a lifestyle now days, the reality is that bitching about it will only make you a bitter person. Running around saying transplant this and NYC that kind of makes you sound like a hater at best and a closet bigot at worst. It’s easy to hate and very tempting to make yourself feel better by dividing people into local and not local. It’s a slippery slope. What’s next. Black/ white, gay/straight you get my point. Listen, I was born here, my parents were born here and we spent the late 90’s early 2000’s hating every change that happened here but it became tiresome and just too negative. Get out meet some people while a lot of them suck some are every interesting and bring really awesome new ideas to the area. Perhaps try adapting and using the resources…… or just be mad and type about it.

      • Yeah, you missed the point. I get out every day and love our city just as much as Hecht. But, I’m not a hypocrite pretending to be doing things for the locals when all I’m doing in starting a pissy little “movement” because I didn’t get my way and preying off the same tourists that I bemoan. It’s not so much a locals vs transplants thing as much as this native not enjoying being preached at by someone with no credibility. It’s poseur protesters like her that’ll turn us in to Brooklyn, which I would argue is far worse than our beloved Asheville have a few national retailers and a taco bar.

  15. I feel the exact same way about Doc Chey’s, Mast General, Urban Outfitters, Mellow Mushroom, Barley’s, Marble Slab, and Kilwins….I’m sure there’s others. Bunch of chains messing up our town. This is just so terrible. I won’t be able to sleep tonight. I hate when people try to make a living and create jobs!

  16. It’s one of the worst renovations in Asheville in a long time, I would say though that is an Art Moderne Style building… (Just Google search Art Moderne images…). Ironically, that was a hugely popular style in the 1930’s along the Florida beaches…

  17. I like the remodel. That property was an environmental disaster that needed to be cleaned up. Superfund.

    • No kidding! The wonderful history of Andy’s destroyed the ground it sat on, but no mention of that.

    • luther blissett says:

      Any reason why they had to remove and cement over the brick detailing? Was that toxic as well? Oh, it’s because the brand identity is to put dumb whitewashed planking on the exterior for a “beach hut” vibe, like all the other ones.

      Well, when it goes out of business, that’ll be easy to remove and the core will be intact, and enough people will remember what kind of building it is. I’m not one of those people who thinks that older buildings have to be preserved like rare antiques — they’re there to be used, and that means making changes. But in its new guise it’ll be a fugly neighbor to the Orange Peel: they should have slapped it up next to the Aloft.

      This isn’t an “unchain” thing: it’s a “dumb chain” thing. And saying “superfund! superfund!” is chaff.

      • It’s actually not chaff, though. Any developer that wants to invest one cent in the building has to clean up the entire superfund site before they can…completely at their expense. Sure, this chain is dumb, and we might not like their aesthetic, but they spent a fortune on an untouchable property so now they can do what the hell they want with it, within the law. If some local coffee shop or trinket store had the money to clean up the mess, then they could have kept the facade and then all of you could finally be validated as the true arbiters of taste and architectural design that you are. Asheville’s historic preservation leadership didn’t find this building to be much of a historical gem, however, or it would have been on the registry long ago.

  18. More defacing of Ashevilles downtown buildings will come since there are no protections such as the Local Historic Districts have in place. In those neighborhoods design guidelines must be followed and are overseen by the Historic Resources Commission. Only Montford, Albemarle Park, Biltmore Village and St. Dunstans have design guidelines.

  19. fuckyoupussy says:

    Fucking pussy. Can’t put anything that you disagree with? What a “journalist” you are (wait, I forgot, you were fired by a real journalist Awtry).

    • Wait, what? Nobody here was fired by Awtry.

      • embarrassed venter says:

        I apologize about that. I thought you wrote about it previously. I was having a bad day and vented inappropriately and also it appears, incorrectly. Just seems like comments are randomly screened sometimes and voices are being lost in the conversation. Again, I apologize (especially for the language).

  20. That “large machine of some kind next to it that was running 24/7 for what seemed like a year” was sucking drycleaning chemical fumes out of the ground surrounding the building to get it to meet current EPA soil and air standards. Sometime in its past, long before rules and regulations, besides being a garage and an HVAC shop, the building was home to a drycleaners. All that “stuff” had to be cleaned up before it could become a restaurant. Seriously, look it up. I’m sure any remaining chemicals will be negligible and have no detrimental impact to the food or drink being served.

  21. Righteous indignation?
    “Calm the fuck down”………..it wasn’t the S&W.

  22. Carlos Danger says:

    Does Stu Helm run on Monster Energy and sanctimony? I’d rather be force-fed a plate of corporate-approved Surf Style™ tacos than yet another lecture from him in all caps. His EXXXTREME (note caps and multiple Xs indicate how serious I am) tantrums, dressed up as vital local concern, represent the worst in Asheville shoutiness. I—like most people who live here, I suspect—support keeping Asheville local / weird / [insert cliche here], but his infantile outbursts and projections of bad faith somehow wind up making me sympathize with the cartoon villains he paints. Also, it’s strange that he considers Ben’s Tune-Up—which I love—somehow “authentic” because they kept some faded paint. This wasn’t authentic; it was a savvy marketing decision. Capitalism won, bro—authenticity is the hottest commodity out there. If you think cultivated decay is authentic, I have about ten thousand pricey, proletariat-free restaurants designed in reclaimed wood in Brooklyn, Austin, and Portland to Instagram you. All of that said, it’s too bad about the building. If it truly was an art deco landmark, I wish the city had worked harder to protect it. Jesus f*ck.

  23. Untransplant says:

    Regarding the building, it would be nice if people considered the heritage and history of property before changing it so drastically.
    UnChain Asheville: Where would you bank? Purchase gas? Fill prescriptions? Chains are everywhere already, for some reason, fools only focus on food and certain retailers.
    It’s also hilarious when people who didn’t grow up in this area get upset at “chains”.
    You do realize that a majority of the INDEPENDENT restaurants people fawn over are owned and operated by recent transplants? There are only a handful of locally owned and operated restaurants open in AVL.
    How about “UNTRANSPLANT” AVL instead?

  24. Make your t shirts soon, and put your name on them. I want to wear one!

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