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.
Growing up in a family of seven children, Brian was always intrigued by his mom’s cooking. Any time she was asked “What’s for dinner”, she would reply, “Food” with a serious look on her face. It was never easy feeding such a big family, but she always managed to put something on the plate even when her “plate” was so full. Brian gets nostalgic, to this day, picking beans, peeling potatoes, cleaning fish… and reminiscing about her famous bacon-fried chicken.
Starting out under a talented chef at a Southern/French bistro. Brian worked up the ranks of the kitchen, realizing that this felt like home. One night the Chef told Brian that Culinary School was the next step. When asked about this moment in his past Brian simply says, “I knew then that this was the industry for me, and the Lord was telling me this was my passion to follow.”
While at culinary school, Brian started work at The Corner Kitchen. There he met with creative challenges and a greater measure of culinary expression. “It was truly the cornerstone of my career, as it really challenged me and taught me to be a well-rounded cook. I distinctly remember thinking, ‘This is my kind of cuisine and restaurant.’ It was there that I had the opportunity to cook for the First Lady and President of the United States, Barrack and Michelle Obama!”
After graduating from culinary school, Chef Crow landed a sous chef position at The Grove Park Inn, a four-diamond property, working under a Thomas Keller alumnus. “During my time at GPI, I really developed my attention to detail, learned to appreciate local and seasonal ingredients, and enhanced my leadership skills.”
In August of 2011, Brian and his wife moved to Denver in hope of finding new opportunities, at 24 years of age landing an as Executive Chef at Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery. “Being so young, I didn’t think I was ready to be chef but my wife gave me the confidence to do so and it propelled my career in many ways. At DF, I created locally inspired, seasonal menus where I received many accolades in my four-year tenure.”
Taking the next logical and fortuitous step, Brian was able to collaborate with the owner, architect and contractor in a project called Bacon Social House. “It was a unique opportunity, where I was able to bring everything into fruition.” Brian continued to gain recognition as a “culinary game-changer” in Zagat Magazine and as one of the “top 30 chefs under 30 in Colorado”. Bacon Social House also received many “Best of” awards. At Bacon, Chef Crow was able to learn more about running/operating a business, the financials and bringing a team together.
Brian is excited to take on the role of Executive Chef at Chestnut. “Reuniting with a family that I have worked with in the past was something I could not pass up. I firmly believe in Chestnut’s core values and culture and feel blessed to be walking into such an amazing opportunity. “
Vanessa has been living in Asheville since 2004. Vanessa began her Fundraising career in 2004, working for some of the most wonderful non-profit organizations: North Carolina Outward Bound, YMCA, and the Asheville Chamber of Commerce.
Vanessa is the Business Development Director for Westmoreland & Scully and began her career here in early 2016. While at play, Vanessa loves to spend time with her husband, hike, travel, go to the movies, play backgammon or any strategy game, eat delicious food, and drink lovely wines.
Kim has 30 plus years in the Restaurant /Hospitality Industry. She began at the age of 15 as the “Hot Bar” girl at Quincy’s Steakhouse in Charlotte, NC, and worked several different restaurant positions in multiple restaurants throughout her under grad and graduate programs at Appalachian State University. After graduation she began her Teaching career while continuing to work as a server and weekend manager at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC. Finally, the restaurant world won in the battle of juggling multiple jobs and she took the role of Assistant Food & Beverage manager at Chetola. It was the love of teaching and coaching along with the need for no two days to be the same. Kim thrives on the juggling act of running restaurants as well as the love for hospitality and creating an amazing experience for all who dine in her establishments.
After moving to Asheville in 2005 Kim instantly began looking for work in the upcoming Independent Restaurant scene. She landed a management role with LaCaterina Trattoria and remained there until the owners Robbin & Victor Giancola retired and closed the restaurant in 2009.
Not one to be left behind as an entrepreneur, Kim managed to start her own cleaning Company, Two Bitches and a Broom, a thriving business that she owned from 2007-2017.
After having her two sons (Jet and Taos) she needed to get back in the business. Began waiting tables at The Lobster Trap, one of Asheville’s oldest, and most popular eating establishments. With-in 2 months of being hired she quickly took on her role there as General Manager/Partner. Kim was with The Lobster Trap for 7 years. During this time Kim became very active in the local restaurant scene and began serving on the board of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association.
Kim currently works as the Director of Employee Engagement for Westmoreland & Scully and runs their entire HR department. Kim works closely with their labor law attorney on all up-to-date practices and policies. She helps to develop all types of hiring, training and continuing education programs for Corner Kitchen and Chestnut.
Kim currently serves as Treasurer on the board of the local restaurant association, AIR.
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).