Jason Sandford

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

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Some of what’s going around in Asheville, including an update on devastating unemployment statistics:

-Unemployment stats: The Asheville metro area (called a metropolitan statistical area by the government bean-counters and officially defined as Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties) lost a mind-boggling 36,400 jobs in April. (That number includes full- and part-time jobs.) That was an 18.3 percent drop compared to last year. The Asheville metro area’s leisure and hospitality sector services sector took the biggest hit, losing 18,700 jobs, down 63.2 percent. Up until March 2020, the Asheville metro area had seen a record-breaking nine-and-a-half-year expansion, adding a net of 33,300 new jobs, which is eerily close to that first number of jobs lost in just one month.

Work is still happening on the new Favilla’s pizza joint location in Regent Park. I drove by the other day and took a look

-Have you tried J Chong’s dumplings? You should. (@jchong_eats)

-Have you tried a meal box from New Stock, the new meal delivery service from Ashley Capps? You should.

The Bagel Farmer in Asheville will deliver bagels to your door, and his site has a little attitude. (

-Stu Helm, the AVL Food Fan, has launched a snack box service he’s calling Stoobie Snacks. Check out the Stoobie Snacks snack club.

-The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Rezaz restaurant in Biltmore Village has closed for good. Is this is a signal that white tablecloth dining is done, at least for the foreseeable future? It certainly feels that way.

-Have you seen all the new “10 Minute Parking Curbside Pickup Only” signs around downtown and in West Asheville? That’s the future of restaurant service, right now.

-Demolition permits have been pulled to take down the long-abandoned Pizza Hut restaurant building at the corner of Patton Avenue and Regent Park Boulevard. I don’t know what, if anything, is planned next.

-Hookah Joe’s on Coxe Ave is out and a new arcade and bar called Level 256 Classic Arcade Bar is in. It will feature “65+ classic arcades and pinballs, over a dozen classic consoles and more,” according the arcade’s FB page.

Iconic Kitchen and Drinks is the name of the new restaurant coming together in the former Takosushi space on Southside Ave. The owner used to run a sandwich shop in Maggie Valley called Iconic Sandwich, and now he’s giving it a shot here.

-Chick-Fil-A has opened its newest drive-thru on Smokey Park Highway. It is also planning to open a new spot in The Peaks shopping center across from the Asheville Mall on Tunnel Road. (Everyone is asking me what is happening to the current Chick-Fil-A drive thru on Tunnel Road, and my answer is – I don’t know yet.)

-More cancellations: The big Smokeshow barbecue festival that Elliot Moss of Buxton Hall Barbecue was putting together for later this summer has been canceled. And the June celebration of Latin American culture called Hola Asheville has been canceled.

Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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