...Twenty years ago, [Joe] Eckert and his wife, Joan, moved to Asheville from Philadelphia and bought a small snack shop in the Y. Among the lunch crowd frequenting the Eckerts' new eatery was the rather bashful, unassuming Julian Price, heir to an insurance fortune and a recent transplant to Asheville, who wanted to make a difference in his adopted hometown. ...
One day, Price came up to the counter and told the couple: “You know, you should open a full-service vegetarian restaurant, because people would love to eat this for dinner.” ...
From that humble beginning was planted Laughing Seed, followed by the Jack of the Wood pub, Green Man Brewery, City Bakery and now Eckert's latest venture — Jack of Hearts, a new restaurant and pub in Weaverville's up-and-coming downtown.
Looking back, Eckert says he had no master plan to become a serial entrepreneur who would create local landmarks and hundreds of jobs over the years ...
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