It took us nine years to open our second restaurant. If you know anything about our first one, Corner Kitchen, then you probably know that we stay busy making sure the food and service is the best it can be.
We do several things differently from many other restaurants.
First of all, Chestnut and Corner Kitchen are open seven days a week; our guests don’t have to remember our days of operation. Second – The word “No” doesn’t appear anywhere on our literature or menus. We try our best to say “Yes!” to whatever we can, whenever we can. Third – We try to minimize our environmental impact. We recycle, compost, use LED lighting, recycled paper products and whenever possible use ingredients that are grown close to home.
Makes it clear why it took so long for us to expand our business, eh?
When this fine building became available, we found it held a secret: a complete basement that once housed the Highland Brewing Company. Once Oscar Wong et. al. moved to their new facility, the basement drifted into becoming a great big storeroom. When we saw it, the space said, “Make me a catering and production kitchen (Corner Kitchen Catering)!”. The main floor asked for something too. It said, “Make me a really cool restaurant space!”
So we did. Samsel Architects, Elm Construction, Alchemy Design, Blue Ridge Restaurant Equipment, Furniture Specialties, Iron Maiden and many other local people helped bring our vision to life.
Meet the Owners
I spent my college years as a manager in a very busy retail setting. The 15 years before starting The Corner Kitchen (our other restaurant in Biltmore) were spent in corporate operations and management roles. These included working in one of the largest for-profit home care agencies in the country and running an internal Information Technology support structure that took calls from all 50 states.
Customer service and the customer experience are primary on my list of concerns. I am dedicated to making sure that the total experience in our restaurants is resoundingly positive for not only our guests but for employees and owners as well.
Service to the community is important to Joe and me. When I am not in the restaurant, I work with the boards of Eliada, Asheville Independent Restaurant Association and UNC Asheville Foundation.
I started working in restaurants in 1977. The first job was as a Host at a very busy Houlihan’s Old Place in Hackensack, New Jersey. In 1987, I entered the Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, NY.
After graduation I was given a fellowship at The Culinary Institute’s Escoffier Room Restaurant. Then I got to be the Executive Sous chef at the prestigious Cherokee Town and Country Club.
In the following years leading up to opening The Corner Kitchen, I held Executive Chef positions at Indigo Coastal Grill, The Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta as well as the United Nations in New York City.
Many of you have heard me talk about Kevin and quite a few of you have met him. Suffice it to say, he is an anchor to me. He is steady, conservative, loving and intelligent. We have worked together the better part of 13 years and I can honestly say I have no regrets.
Executive Chef Mike Cash started his long career in the restaurant business at 14. Young Mike followed his two siblings to Mulligan’s Waterfront Grill. Staying with that theme, Mike’s older brother let him tag along to a BBQ joint. Then came a move to Wilmington, where brother Matthew was attending UNCW. This took Mike through the very busy seafood restaurant game in Wilmington. During this time Mike advanced to lead line cook at The Bridge Tender. Then it was on to a stint at Brasserie du Soleil under Chef Tripp Engel. Tripp inspired Mike to go back to school to earn a degree in what was becoming his life’s work.
After some seriously long hours saving money. Make came to Asheville, NC to attend AB Tech’s nationally renowned Culinary Program. Graduating at the top of his class, all the while working full time at The Lobster Trap. Upon graduation, Mike was made Sous Chef at “the Trap” and worked there for another year.
Then it was to Chestnut. Starting as a Grill Cook, Mike was identified quickly as a strong candidate and was made Sous Chef within six months. Soon after that Mike and his wife welcomed their son Gridley into their lives and Mike become the Executive Chef at Chestnut. “I have been given a great opportunity to continue the good work here at Chestnut. I hope to continue to grow as a culinarian, Manager and proud father.”
We proudly feature locally-sourced ingredients from:
- Hickory Nut Gap Farm
- Sunburst Trout Farm
- Haw Creek
- Dry Ridge Farms
- Imladris Farms
- Eat More Bakery
- City Bakery
- No Evil Foods
- Round Mountain Creamery
- Del Vecchios
- and… a slew of Craft Breweries that rotate (like Highland Brewing Company, Asheville Brewing, Catawba, to name a few).