Lex 18 restaurant in downtown Asheville to close

Jason Sandford

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

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Lex 18 restaurant, which was known for its Appalachian-inspired food and themed theatrical dinner shows, has announced that it is closing Oct. 30. The announcement came via the restaurant’s email newsletter.

A new restaurant featuring Caribbean-inspired food by “author and restaurateur Esther Frances Joseph” is planned in its place at 18 N. Lexington Ave., according to the newsletter.

Lex 18 opened in 2014 and was billed as a restaurant and “moonshine bar” that served cocktails featuring legal ‘shine. The restaurant gradually morphed into featuring theatrical dinner events that celebrated popular television shows such as Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones. Lex 18 opened in the location of the former BoBo Pho, which didn’t last long there in the old BoBo Gallery location.

Here’s the newsletter announcement.

LEX 18’s Last Day is Sunday, October 30, 2016
Farewell Asheville – A message from Georgia Malki, partner Lex 18

After two and half years of sharing an Appalachian menu, live jazz music and immersive dinner theater, the partners of Lex 18 will be moving onto life’s next grand adventure. In our place, comes a fabulous Caribbean inspired restaurant by a most delightful and impressive businesswoman, author and restaurateur Esther Frances Joseph.

Lex 18’s last day of business will be this Sunday, October 30, 2016. After our final theatrical Vaudeville dinner show, we will stay open from 9:15 pm till midnight to share a last toast and heartfelt thanks; it has been an amazing time and we’ve met such a wonderful community in our restaurant.

It would take a 1000 page book to express how much we enjoyed taking care of you, and our gratitude for you taking care of us. We loved every moment: celebrating Dowtown Abbey; reading fortunes for Thomas Wolfe Mystery; raising swords for Game of Thrones; dancing the can-can for Moulin Rouge Cabaret; and drinking whiskey at Dr. Grove’s Vaudeville Wake. Writing and putting together a cast of talented actors and musicians was so rewarding and hosting our guests was simply unforgettable.

The actors who have shared their talents became friends and we owe them so many moments of pure pride. From professional actors to Lex 18’s staff, we are especially grateful to Catori Swann, Rebecca Morris, David Boyd, Pasqual LaCorte, Lenny Petinnelli, Bob Strain, Lauren Rivas, Steve Hageman, Suzanne Hageman, Cameron Kemp, Jason Heilfurth, Kyle Heeter, Willie Repoley, Michael McMurtrey and Thomas Hilt.

Hosting live Jazz every night was a dream come true; we feel heavily indebted to the Jazz community in Asheville. The list of all our musicians and performers is too long, but we have especially leaned on the talents of Lex 18 regulars including: Bob Strain, Lenny Petinelli, Ray Biscoglia, Grant Cutherbertson, Bill Fouty, Patrick Lopez, David Boyd, Andrew J. Fletcher, Michael John Jazz, Michael Anderson, Hot Point Trio to name just a few.

The gratitude we feel for our staff that worked so hard to keep the vision alive is profound. Restaurant work is not easy. It takes commitment, a love for people and food, a good sense of humor and teamwork. Lex 18’s dedicated, hardworking and friendly staff have always been a “yes, can do”. We thank Jennifer and Chris Townsend, David Boyd, Jared Miller, Kyle Heeter, Cameron Kemp, Jason Heilfurth and Lauren Rivas; the current team whom we depend on.

Finally we thank these organizations that have generously supported and promoted our endeavors: Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Romantic Asheville, Asheville.com, NC Stage Co., Mountain Xpress, Ashvegas, Citizen Times, WCQS Public Radio, WLOS News 13, The Biltmore Beacon, Asheville Music Guide and Appalachian Grown.

Please come see us over the next week so we may thank you for your support and generosity. From the partners of Lex 18, Georgia Malki; Alan Van de Kamp; Joe Caristo and Joseph Malki.

Image link for Lex 18.

Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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  1. Big Al October 26, 2016

    Prices were a bit steep, even for downtown; Moonshine and liquor are in decline as craft beer becomes de rigueur; parking was far away and up steep inclines, which can be tough on the high heels that go with cocktail dresses and flapper skirts.

  2. Nate October 25, 2016

    Something seems to be “off” about that location . . . when was the last time something was actually successful there, and lasted for more than 2-3 years?


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