Peter and Martha Pollay team up w/ McKibbon on three new downtown Asheville restaurants

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Downtown Asheville restauranteurs Peter and Martha Pollay, owners of Posana restaurant, today announced a partnership with a downtown hotelier that will have the couple creating two new downtown restaurants and consulting on another new downtown restaurant and rooftop bar, as well as advise on the hoteliers’ food and beverage program.

Peter Pollay will work as executive chef on the projects, with Martha Pollay serving as creative director. They will work alongside hotel owner John McKibbon, who is opening up the new AC Hotel at the corner of College and Broadway, as well as a new boutique hotel (dubbed Arras, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times) inside the former BB&T building.

The Pollays opened Posana, 1 Pack Square, in the location of the former Cafe on the Square in 2009. The restaurant was the city’s first gluten-free restaurant, and quickly gained an excellent reputation for its food offerings. The restaurant saw a major renovation back in 2013. Pollay is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and has more than 20 years of experience working in kitchens for such chefs as Wolfgang Puck at Granita and Spago Chicago, David Burke at Park Avenue Cafe, Waldy Malouf’s Hudson River Club, and Larry Levy, according to his resume. He has served two terms as president of Asheville Independent Restaurants and led efforts to secure Asheville’s title as the first “Greenest Dining Destination” in the U.S. His philosophy of sourcing premium ingredients, working closely with the local farming community, and never taking shortcuts when preparing a dish can be felt on the menu at Posana, according to his resume.

Here’s the full press release:

McKibbon Hospitality and Peter and Martha Pollay announced today that they are partnering on several new dining concepts in Asheville. The Pollays, who own Posana restaurant in downtown Asheville, will contribute to two of McKibbon’s hotel projects currently under construction. They will act as culinary consultants for McKibbon on its AC Hotel Asheville Downtown and will collaborate with McKibbon on the mixed-use project being developed at the site of the former BB&T building.

The AC Hotel is set to open in late 2016, and the mixed-use project at the site of the former BB&T building, which John McKibbon is developing with Glenn W. Wilcox Sr., will open in 2018 and include a boutique hotel, condominiums, parking and retail space for lease.

“We are thrilled to be working with Peter and Martha on the world-class food and beverage program we are creating for our new AC Hotel as well as the two independent restaurant concepts we are planning for our project at the former BB&T site,” said John McKibbon, chairman of McKibbon Hospitality. “Peter and Martha are true industry experts who will be an integral part of helping us implement carefully crafted food and beverage offerings that will create unique experiences at both properties. This partnership is an important step for McKibbon as we grow our lifestyle hotel division, which focuses on implementing customized programs for guests and locals, while incorporating the surrounding local culture into each hotel.”

The Pollays will work closely with McKibbon on the AC Hotel’s food and beverage program, which will include consulting on menu items for its rooftop restaurant and bar, Capella on 9; the training of all food and beverage staff; and recommendations for catering and special events.

Capella on 9 will include indoor and outdoor seating with amazing views of the surrounding mountains, and will offer cocktails, wine and beer, and a thoughtfully curated menu of small plates, including a selection of European-inspired tapas. The restaurant and bar will be open for daily breakfast as well as evening cocktails and dinner. Although this marks the first time an AC Hotel has consulted with a local restaurateur on its food and beverage offering, Capella on 9 will incorporate some of the signature AC Lounge menu items found at other AC locations.

For the mixed-use project being developed at the site of the former BB&T building, the Posana owners will partner directly with McKibbon on two independent restaurants as well as menus for special events and in-room dining. The first restaurant, located in the Northeast corner of the site, will be a fine dining concept with a relaxed atmosphere, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. It will be Mediterranean-focused with global influences offering house-made pastas and large shareable plates such as whole fish preparations, creating a camaraderie around the table. The restaurant will boast an open kitchen and an outdoor dining area located on Pack Square. It will open at the same time as the boutique hotel that is part of the project, and the second restaurant is slated to open a few months after the hotel opening in the Southeast corner of the building.

Details for the second restaurant concept will be announced at a later date. Peter and Martha will work jointly to open the two new restaurants along with John McKibbon, with Peter serving as the executive chef and Martha serving as the creative director.

“Martha and I are very proud of what we have accomplished at Posana over the past seven years and are pleased to expand our presence in Asheville through this exciting new partnership with John McKibbon,” said Asheville restaurateur Peter Pollay. “We have long admired John’s business acumen and his exceptional vision for luxury hospitality. This will give us an opportunity to bring three new dining concepts to Asheville that locals and tourists alike will be able to enjoy. There is nothing currently like them in town.”

As with Posana, all three restaurant concepts will be committed to local sourcing and the use of seasonable, sustainable ingredients. Each restaurant will feature open spaces that promote social interaction and will serve as unique new options for locals and Asheville visitors to enjoy.

To learn more about McKibbon Hospitality, visit

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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