New & Notable - Summer 2024

New & Notable - Summer 2024 : From a schoolhouse-themed coffee house, a new Asheville brewery, and Waynesville mocktail bar to a diverse food hall in Fletcher and a southeast Asian eatery in the Land of the Sky
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Owner Thanaphon “Natt” Theerarat recently opened Bee Thai Kitchen, a counter service restaurant, in the former Little Bee Thai commercial space, furthering the popular Thai food tradition. Appetizers include spring rolls (made from his auntie’s secret recipe), with entrees like khao soi, “a deliciously rich, creamy, slightly spicy yellow curry noodle dish,” which is, “the most famous national dish, pad Thai: Thai street food with a perfect balance of sour, sweet and salty flavors,” Theerarat says. Dessert includes, mango sticky rice with fresh mango, sticky rice, and coconut sauce. Theerarat, along with chef Pad (Porntipa Pattanameker) and food consultant Sing (Parasak Chokesatean), source their ingredients locally when possible, including meat. 45 South French Broad Ave., Suite 190; (828) 573-5328;

Owner Jeffrey Hughes’s interest in all things beer go back a decade to his beginnings as a home brewer. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, Boodas boasts 24 taps, including a variety of beer styles, cider, ginger beer, and prosecco. Canned and bottled options are also available, as is a mouth-watering menu that includes smash burgers, wings, salads, desserts (check out the cheesecake egg roll) for dine-in or carry out. Indoor and outdoor spaces invite live music, trivia, corn hole, giant Jenga, and other games. 120 E. Barnwell St; (828) 435-2727;

With Scrabble tiles, lockers, pennants, letter jackets, etc. abounding, owners Harrison and Lexi Jones opened this schoolhouse-themed bakery in late February. They wanted to create a place where the community could congregate, sip coffee or tea, and enjoy baked goods. Recess buys its coffee from Sweet Bloom Roasters, an award-winning roastery in Colorado that sources the beans from Peru and Brazil, following the seasonal bean harvest there to ensure freshness. Try Geisha, a varietal that’s one of the many pour overs found at Recess, or jasmine pearl green tea. Croissants and sourdough bread also reign supreme. 107 Black Mountain Avenue; (828) 734-9737;

This all-encompassing venue has something for everyone’s palette, showcasing five divergent food concepts in one location. Owned by Sarah and Paul Klaassen of powerhouse KO Restaurant Group, the old auction building comprises roughly 6,600 square feet with plenty of room for the multiple dining options. The food hall’s lineup includes KO Burger, which offers retro-style smash burgers, battered fries, and soft serve;  fried seafood, lobster rolls, peel-and-eat shrimp, hush puppies, etc. from Fish Camp 25; Mexican food inspired by the Yucatan Peninsula at Mercado Cantina, which has a full bar boasting a wide range of tequilas and mezcals; Auction House Wine Bar—wine, frose, sangria, and mimosas with a rotating small plate menu; and Blue Collar Bourbon Bar, a wide range of bourbon and bourbon cocktails and 10 beer taps, along with a Southern-themed menu. Outdoor seating is also available, including a wraparound deck, and spacious lawn for live music performances. 29 Fanning Bridge Rd.; (828) 707-9216,

ROLL UP HERBAL BAR - Waynesville
Formerly a food-truck operation, this growing business now has a permanent home. Owner and mocktail-maker Sam Kearney wanted a location to lay down roots, so to speak, with her herbal bar. “It’s a lot of fresh fruits, herbs, and using those ingredients in unexpected ways so you can extract different notes,” she says. Her favorite booze-free beverage is Something Signature, which she laughingly calls her emotional support drink. Fans of VW bus Herbie needn’t fret; it’s still available—sans alcohol or with liquor—for private bookings and public events. 40 Commerce St.; (828) 263-7777;