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What is your favorite part of being a restaurant owner in Asheville?
My favorite part of being a restaurant owner in Asheville is the connections and relationships we form. From collaborating with other restaurants, to knowing our suppliers and farmers personally, to working with our team to be the best we can be. The love and passion we all have for each other and our craft is an amazing thing and it’s what keeps us all moving forward. The Asheville food scene is very supportive of each other.
What is the background of your restaurant’s name?
Our name actually comes from a Black Flag song, “Rise Above”. It started as a silly name when we first started selling bread at the East Asheville Tailgate Market, but it stuck when we got the opportunity to open the deli. We even have a bread bar logo based on their four black bars logo. It’s kind of nice because everyone has their own perception of what it could mean. Some people come up to me and say “I love the reference to rising bread” or “Did you overcome something to rise above”.
What ingredient could you not live without?
The ingredient we couldn’t live without is flour! We make all of our breads in house and it wouldn’t be possible without it. We exclusively use Lindley Mills for our flour needs, which is milled to order, 100% organic, and produced just east of here in Graham, NC. They are going great things with sprouted grains which we are excited to add to our repertoire.
What is your favorite dish on your menu?
My favorite dish would have to be our reuben. We start by making our corned beef from scratch using Hickory Nut Gap brisket which takes more than a week to prepare. We pair that with house fermented sauerkraut, a 1000 island made from scratch mayo and house pickles, and melty swiss chesse that sits between our rye sourdough and is all lightly toasted to perfection. It’s such a labor of love!
What is your favorite dish from a fellow AIR restaurant’s menu?
My favorite dish from another AIR restaurant would have to be the Sloppy Jai from Chai Pani!
Why did you choose Asheville to open your restaurant?
There’s no where else we’d rather be! When we got our start at the farmers market, it was because their bread baker had backed out last minute and they were looking for a replacement. Without anything planned out, I said I’d do it and just made it happen while still working full time. The deli was a far out concept that we never anticipated happening so soon. From there, we met the Hillman’s of Hillman Beer (where we are located) who had a kitchen in their proposed building and we approached them with the idea of partnering up. They agreed, we broke ground, built it out, I quit my job, and we opened on the same day. It’s been such a crazy ride over the last 2 1/2 years, but it has been such a great experience.
What is your favorite chef’s tool and why?
My favorite tool would have to be the robot coupe. It’s such a workhorse in the kitchen and cuts our prep times down dramatically. From the 100’s of pounds of chopped kale or cabbage for kraut, to gallons and gallons of mayo and other sauces. It just makes everything so much easier.