In a joint venture between Montreat Conference Center and Montreat College, a popular summer season café, “The Huckleberry,” located in the Moore Center overlooking Lake Susan, will now be open for business year-round. The college, which is closing its own “Cavalier Grill,” will lease the Huckleberry space from the conference center and will contract with Aramark to manage the operation.
A grand re-opening of the Huckleberry is scheduled for Friday, September 30. The event will include a free “tasting party” at 3:00 PM, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:00 PM, with remarks by Montreat College President, Dr. Dan Struble; Montreat Conference Center President, the Rev. Dr. Pete Peery; Black Mountain Chamber of Commerce Director, Bob McMurray; and Mayor of Montreat, Letta Jean Taylor. The tasting will continue until 5:00 PM, and the public is welcome to attend.
“Montreat College is delighted to partner with the Mountain Retreat Association in operating the Huckleberry,” stated Dr. Struble. “We see this as a tremendous opportunity to make the Huckleberry available to our students and to extend to the community and MRA staff and guests year-round. We hope this will provide a venue for developing a more engaged and enriched community that includes all Montreaters.”
Rev. Peery agreed: “This partnership between college and conference center bears great promise for building a richer, more vibrant community inside the Montreat Gate.”
According to Ron Vinson, director of the Presbyterian Heritage Center at Montreat, a similar business arrangement existed between the college and the conference center in the mid-1960’s when the college, then known as Montreat-Anderson College, rented space in the Moore Center from the Mountain Retreat Association for a book store and the Moore Center Snack Bar. At that time, the college and the conference center had separate boards, but had not yet become two separate institutions. By the mid-1970’s, the conference center had taken over operation of the snack bar. Then known as “The Canteen,” it was renamed “The Huckleberry” in 1982, and has been operated by the MRA as a snack bar for summer conferees for the past 30 years.
Renovations on the space, which began immediately following the close of the conference center’s 2011 summer season, included a fresh coat of paint, kitchen re-outfitting, and new seating. The new Huckleberry will officially open for year-round business Saturday, October 1, with a menu that will include breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrées; snacks and late night specialties; and coffee from Black Mountain’s own Dynamite Roasting Company. Free wi-fi also available.