Dough in north Asheville announces closure of market and full expansion of cooking classrooms

Jason Sandford

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

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dough_asheville_logo_2015Here’s the press release from Dough, which opened on Merrimon Avenue in 2013:


In just a few short years, the Classroom at DOUGH has established itself in the community as THE destination for fun and educational hands-on cooking classes. In order to continue with the Classroom and to add more offerings, DOUGH will be closing the rest of the market to make way for its expanded cooking curriculum.

The Cooking Classroom at DOUGH is truly unique. We are proud to offer an experience like no other in Asheville. The Classroom Kitchen was designed by the owner of DOUGH, Chef Brian Ross. Even though Chef Brian has spent over 20 years in professional kitchens, he like many students started as a classroom assistant and home cook, so there is a balance of the professional and recreational – a well-appointed and stocked kitchen with a warm and inviting space for any cook at any level. The small class size allows everyone to participate without feeling crowded or rushed.

With this new dedication to culinary education, the Classroom will be able to offer a wider range of instruction in various regional and international cuisines, as well as classes featuring noted cookbook authors and guest chefs. You can expect to see more series offerings, as well as new continuing culinary education classes geared towards professionals. We are especially looking forward to expanding our involvement with young culinarians and the community with upcoming classes for children and teens.

As Chef Ross says, “The marrying of my two passions, food + education, is like a dream come true for me! What better way to share knowledge and good food with people as well as a skill that can not only last a lifetime, but also grow to something bigger – whether it be cooking for friends and family or ultimately pursuing a culinary career. That’s exactly what happened to me!”

The Market will close as of Memorial Day, May 25th.

Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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  1. Susan Williams August 4, 2015

    I would love to get in touch with Brian Ross as I gave my daughter a gift certificate for her birthday and after several months of trying to get into the Thai class she was scheduled for this past July only to find out the place is closed.

    What about a refund or another solution Brian!

    I took your class when I visited my sister who also volunteered for you, would love to know if you are going to be able to resolve my delima!
    Susan Williams

  2. Brett June 30, 2015

    Does anyone know how to get in touch with the people at Dough? They said they were issuing refunds for gift certificates that were bought prior to them shutting down. I never received mine, and now their phone and email is down.


  3. weavervilleman June 1, 2015

    Dough is now CLOSED FOR GOOD!

    1. smytty June 2, 2015

      It’s a shame.

      You sound pretty excited though, so that’s nice I guess.

  4. AVL-fan May 28, 2015

    What good does it do to speculate on Mr. Ross’ business or business plan? Only he knows how and why he wishes to operate Dough as a competative business for the public.
    There are plenty of topics to comment on regarding the business as it was and how it will be but to try to figure out the microeconomics of what you think is its bottom line seems pointless innuendo.
    Good luck, Mr. Ross, on the retooled Dough.

  5. Bob A May 25, 2015

    Staff told me they were worried about the competition opening right next door. Looks like Firehouse Subs was a drain on their lunch business.
    Man, I’ll miss the cronuts.

    1. lisa May 26, 2015

      try Geraldines! Their ‘cronut’ is only a buck compared to 3.75 and it’s just as good! (They call ’em Fritzers)

      1. Bob A May 28, 2015

        Excellent Lisa, I’ll try them.

  6. Deb-IL May 25, 2015

    I don’t think it about wanting to be a cooking school more than a market. Any food business has to operate on the slimmest of margins to be competitive and it isn’t possible to continue if you’re barely making it – it’s supposed to be a for profit venture. I’ve very sorry to see him close the market and restaurant portion – always enjoyed stopping there on Asheville visits. This was his note on Facebook from earlier.
    Dear Friends,
    After much thought and soul searching, we have decided to close the Market portion of DOUGH to focus solely on the Culinary Education Classroom. We know that there are many of you who love DOUGH beyond the food it offers. That for many of you it has become a part of your lives and daily routine these last two years. We have appreciated all you have done for us and we will miss all of you in the market on a daily basis. However, for us to stay viable and sustainable as a business, we have had to make this difficult decision. We thank you for all your support and hope to see you in a cooking class soon!
    Below is the press release distributed today.
    Thanks to all of you for making DOUGH such a great success!

  7. lisa May 25, 2015

    I feel bad for the people who just lost their jobs. And for the people who loved their market. They were always very busy. In a time when businesses are struggling to say in business, it seems a shame to close one that is doing well. But sounds like he just wanted a cooking school to begin with. Hope it works out!

  8. Nate May 25, 2015

    Given how successful Dough seemed to be as a retail business from the very first day it opened, it’s sort of strange that they need to close the market to stay “viable and sustainable.” All I can figure is that the huge staff he needed to keep the place running was eating up too much of the cash flow, and that now he’ll be able to run things with just a few co-workers instead of a few dozen.

    1. luther blissett May 25, 2015

      All I can figure is that the huge staff he needed to keep the place running was eating up too much of the cash flow, and that now he’ll be able to run things with just a few co-workers instead of a few dozen.

      That sounds a lot like the yoga studio model, where you’re basically paying the rent by sub-letting the space by the hour. It’d be interesting to know whether the class instructors are employees, or independent contractors who are only paid out of class fees, minus a rental fee — again, the yoga studio model. That’d cut the wage bill, but replace it with less consistent and more capricious income. The only yoga teachers in Asheville earning more than subsistence are the ones who own studios.

      It’s a pity that the market has to go, because Dough had a distinctive retail selection that isn’t matched elsewhere in town, but it’s probably easier to charge affluent north Asheville residents for cooking classes (and externalise some of the costs onto the teachers) than to bake bread and sell sandwiches.

    2. smytty May 26, 2015

      That’s a really weird assumption to make. Seems there’s tons of reasons that classes would be more profitable (and a less crowded market) than restaurant and retail. If you can fill enough classes to make it work, seems like a really good idea.

      1. Nate May 26, 2015

        All I meant was that to an outside observer, this market looked like a phenomenal success AS a market. It had high prices, but was still significantly busy a good percentage of the time. It had built a lot of customer loyalty in just a couple of years, especially in the surrounding neighborhoods. I guess I’m just casting about trying to figure out why what looked like success *wasn’t* really success, or at least not enough of a success. Given the fairly high number of people working behind the counter and in the kitchen pretty much every time I went in there, I thought labor costs might have been part of the “problem.”

        It seems more plausible than the idea that Firehouse Subs was going to destroy their business, anyway, given how little their offerings overlapped . . .

        1. carneyvor May 27, 2015

          I agree. I can’t see how this business model of only hosting classes would be more profitable than their cafe/retail space..the place was packed every single day I went in. They were constantly busy. Firehouse subs seems to be in a completely different market than DOUGH was. The same reason someone might shell out extra cash for a home made panini over an Arby’s panini. There is a lot of value to having local/ non-massive franchised food around and they definitely got the business from those consumers.

  9. Marc May 25, 2015

    A shame to see Dough go out of business. I tried to grab a sandwich this past weekend and the line was to the door. There is nothing in the area that can fill their niche. Would have been nice to give loyal customers a week to come by, enjoy a favorite dish and say goodbye. Closing without notice seems hostile and/or dire.

    1. chris May 25, 2015

      Shame you didn’t get what you wanted. Obviously something nefarious is going on. Or they’re just hateful and undeserving of your love.


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