Culinary Cheer

Culinary Cheer: Asheville restaurants Chai Pani and Cúrate are recognized by the nation’s highest awards in food culture
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Award Winning - Two Asheville restaurants, Chai Pani and Cúrate Bar de Tapas, took home the culinary crown at the James Beard Awards.

Asheville’s long-lauded culinary scene stormed the James Beard Awards stage this year. Widely regarded as the Oscars of the food world, Indian street food eatery Chai Pani took home the prize for the most Outstanding Restaurant in America, while the Spanish tapas joint Cúrate won the award for Outstanding Hospitality. 

“For us, hospitality goes beyond the way we take care of our guests and encompasses the way we take care of each other—our co-workers and our team,” says Chef Katie Button, whose namesake restaurant group runs Cúrate and La Bodega. “For the past decade, we have dedicated ourselves to building a culture that recognizes the vital role of each individual. We know this elevates the experience that we create for our guests. While we have made strides, this award only pushes us forward to dig deeper and work harder to provide outstanding hospitality in an ever-changing landscape.”

Meherwan Irani, Chef and owner of Chai Pani, echoes those sentiments. "This award means so much more than if I'd won just as a chef, because this award acknowledges everyone who works to make a restaurant exist,” he says, adding, “for me the work is as much about our food and hospitality as it is about what we do outside of the four walls—within our communities and beyond.”

(Left) Chef Meherwan Irani; (Right) Chef Katie Button.

With lines already winding down the block just days after their respective wins, both restaurants seem to be taking the honors in stride. As Irani says, “The work now begins to live up to everyone's expectations of what it means to be an Outstanding Restaurant.”    

Chai Pani
22 Battery Park Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 254-4003 

13 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 239-2946