Urban Orchard

Josie Mielke


Photo by Lynne Harty

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

I love the availability of fresh and high-quality ingredients and the dedication to community that so many businesses exhibit in our area.

What is the background of your restaurant’s name?

Urban Orchard came out of our desire to bring cider into the mainstream.  When we opened our doors in 2013, cider was considered a very agricultural product, often associated with farms, barns, grand pappy’s basement.  Not really cool you might say.  As we don’t do the growing or pressing, just the producing, and in the city limits; we wanted to liken our space to the actual growth of cider in a more Urban setting.  While we don’t want to forget the roots of Hard Apple Cider, we also want to make it an appealing product to everyone.

What ingredient could you not live without?


What is your favorite dish on your menu?

From our kitchen in West Asheville, it is our Cheese and Charcuterie Board.  All of the ingredients are local and delicious, and the board really showcases how important quality is to our business From the cidery, my personal favorite cider is Glass Shark.  A peach and cucumber cider that just says summer to me.  It sounds crazy, but it is a great representation of how you can meld very different ingredients.

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

I’m a huge sucker for the Green Curry from Blue Dream Curry.  

Why did you choose Asheville to open your restaurant?

I was born and raised here, and although I never had the intention of living here, it a great place to be an entrepreneur.  However, I will admit that it was more of a forced situation as opposed to a long time dream.  Asheville truly is a difficult city to find a career (especially back then), and after searching for a job for a couple of years I had to do something if I wanted to stay in the area.  My family was in a similar situation as their longtime contracting business was in decline during the recession.  We all came together to create and build this business, but it wasn’t easy.  

What is your favorite chef’s tool and why?

I have no idea.  I’m certainly no chef.