The Blackbird

Jesson Gil and Michael Reppert

Owner and Chef

Photo by Lynne Harty

What is your favorite part of being a restaurant owner in Asheville?

Owner Jesson Gil: I love the community of owners and independent restaurants.  I was talking out loud just yesterday.  I can’t remember eating at Chili’s.  You meet some really great business owners here.

What is the background of your restaurant’s name?

It’s an urban legend.  Maybe it is a song.  Maybe it is a bird.

What ingredient could you not live without?

Chef Michael Reppert: My favorite ingredient? That is a hard one, I would have to say bacon. I really love the bacon we do here at the Blackbird. I do play a fun game with people, “there is no food that bacon does not go with”. It is a challenge that I have put to people and no one has proved me wrong yet.    

What is your favorite dish on your menu?

MR: I think my favorite dish on the menu right now is the Porkchop. It is local pork that we “cold smoke” and grill to the perfect temperature. It has just the right amount of smoke and grilled flavor.

What is your favorite dish from a fellow AIR restaurant’s menu?

JG : I’ve been craving the burger at Copper Crown recently.  They also do a genius chicken and waffles.

MR: Recently I did have a delicious short rib at Limones.

Why did you choose Asheville to open your restaurant?

JG: We really love the people that live and visit here.  There is so much hustle and bustle.

What is your favorite chef’s tool and why?

MR: The truth is my Chef’s knife is and always will be my favorite kitchen tool. I know it sounds cliché, but a good knife can do just about everything someone needs.