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What is your favorite part of being a restaurant owner in Asheville?
The most meaningful part of my work is the ongoing quest to be a great employer. The path to getting there is varied and complex. Asheville is home to a good amount of like-minded restaurateurs who share this similar goal and believe in working together to get there. The win-lose model of thinking between owners will be hung in the halls of our memory. What’s forming is a common wealth of shared practices for the benefit of employees and guests.
What is the background of your restaurant’s name?
The restaurant is named after my Grandma Luella. She was a fabulous and tireless cook. Cooking was her main expression of love. She would serve the softest, cloud-like sugar cookies with a smile and then be a ruthless competitor in a game of Spades.
What ingredient could you not live without?
What is your favorite dish on your menu?
I still eat Brunswick Stew for lunch on a regular basis. We like to say, it’s a square meal in a round bowl. I’ve never grown tired of it in the nine years it’s been on the menu. Luella’s Brunswick Stew is extremely healthy dish, if you like delicious animals and vegetables.
What is your favorite dish from a fellow AIR restaurant’s menu?
Just about any cocktail at Sovereign Remedies. Is that considered a dish?
Why did you choose Asheville to open your restaurant?
When I was in my 20’s I fell in in love with two regions of America, North Carolina and Northern California/Bay Area. To me, Asheville is the West Coast of the South, from a cultural and climatic standpoint. Here we have plenty of water and less population density, so it’s the spot to be.
What is your favorite chef’s tool and why?
Hands down its the Benriner Mandolin. I rarely use it at the store, but it’s in my hands daily at home. Why? Because thinly sliced veggies taste better, makes pickling easy, it’s only $23 on Amazon and it’s slightly dangerous.