Talk of a Trader Joe's in Asheville has been plentiful. And yesterday, the Ashvegas blog reported that unnamed "sources" had confirmed that the grocery chain will indeed open a location in Asheville. Today, Russ Bowen of WLOS tweeted that a "Benjamin Moore and neighboring retail shops will be torn down for Trader Joe's." He also mentioned that the store will be 13,000 square feet. Here are supposed design plans for the building. Updated: Trader Joe's confirmed, folks.
While all of this was going on, Xpress was speaking with Brian Ross, who will be opening a small, chef-driven market and bakery with both dine-in and take-out food service called Dough in the fall. The new venture will be located at 372 Merrimon Ave. in a 4,000-square-foot building set on the footprint of the recently demolished Compliments to the Chef.
The same side of Merrimon already hosts Whole Foods-owned Greenlife Grocery and a Harris Teeter is in the development stages nearby. Does this worry Ross? "I like to think [my concept] is unique around here," he says.
Ross comes with impressive credentials, having lent his talent to venues from the Ritz-Carlton to the Biltmore Estate. His history as a chef means that he knows what other chefs and cooks want to buy, he says.
"One of the points that is going to be unique about this place is that it's a chef-driven market," says Ross. "My goal is to bring good stuff to the people, and this is my way of doing it."
At Dough, Ross won't stock 20 kinds of olive oils like some high-end stores, he says, but he will stock two or three — and the chef-driven concept means that customers can trust that the olive oil he carries will be topnotch. That's good news if you've been following reports such as this that claim your olive oil could be fake — and controlled by the mafia.
"This is for us — this is for people that live here," says Ross. "And, I'm not saying that Whole Foods isn't for the people who live here and Trader Joe's isn't going to be for the people that live here, but there is a corporate piece of that, and we are very independent."
The prepared foods, he says, will be made with high-quality items, such as sustainable seafood and meats and local and organic produce when possible. "That's how I feel about everything," says Ross. "It just has to be of a certain quality. I'm not here to knock anyone, but with some of these corporate entities does come a lot of mediocre product."
As the name "Dough" might suggest, there will be fresh-baked goods — pies, breads — available for purchase, says Ross. "But there really isn't a theme ... it's just really good food, whatever those things will be — and we'll be flexible." High-quality retail goods for the home cook will be available, like great flour for pasta making. Small-production wines will be available, too. Dough will also offer in-house cooking classes and special-event dinners and private parties.
For more information, visit Dough's Facebook page.
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