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What is your favorite part of being a restaurant owner in Asheville?
I love Asheville! The best part of living and working here is that we get to enjoy the beautiful scenery, mountains and rivers, right in our backyard. There are also so many amazing local farmers and food producers that we love working with.
What is the background of your restaurant’s name?
We have two restaurants, Cúrate and Nightbell. For Cúrate, we picked the name because of a miscommunication between two of our owners, Liz and Felix. Liz was emailing us words in English as options and Felix was reading them in Spanish. In Spanish, Cúrate means to cure yourself. We loved the idea of healing through food and the relationship with cured meats like the famous ibérico ham that we serve. Nightbell is only open in the evening, and we found the word when looking up keywords in the dictionary. Since the restaurant is tucked away upstairs, we liked the sound of Nightbell evoking the bell you might have to ring for service after hours.
What ingredient could you not live without?
Garlic. I love it, and would put it in everything if I could.
What is your favorite dish on your menu?
At Nightbell it’s our burger. We grind dry-aged beef with Benton’s bacon, top it with Appalachian cheese from Meadow Creek Dairy, housemade b&b pickles, Lusty Monk mustard, and a mushroom mayonnaise, and serve it on a grit brioche bun. It’s juicy, delicious and a burger representation of Appalachia. At Cúrate, I love the croquetas, which are fritters made up of chicken or ham or mushroom (we change them throughout the seasons.) They get cooked with bechamel sauce, then deep fried. They are super simple, but super delicious, which is why I love them so much.
What is your favorite dish from a fellow AIR restaurant’s menu?
I love the thalis at Chai Pani. That is probably the dish in town that I order most. They are delicious!
Why did you choose Asheville to open your restaurant?
All the independent restaurants, artists, musicians, and brewers foster a creative community that is thriving. Asheville is a city of makers and it is an honor to be a part of it.
What is your favorite chef’s tool and why?
Our Rationale combi oven. I love that thing. It steams, it bakes, it will smoke, it seems to do just about anything that you might need it to in one machine…oh, and the best part? It cleans itself!