When the owners of Mela started renovating 70 North Lexington in 2005, there was a murmur of excitement. The building, previously occupied by a church called “The Body,” needed repair, and seemed far from transforming into what, by all accounts, was to be a fine dining restaurant.
But still, Asheville needed a good Indian joint, and everyone hoped that owner Anoop Krisnan would strike a home run, even if the idea of upscale dining on Lexington still seemed like a bit of a novel concept.
Five short years later, Lexington seems to be growing fast. Bouchon has really hit its stride, the LAB is hosting fancy beer dinners right down the street, and the Southern has opened a casual-swank joint close by. And Mela? The restaurant opened to rave reviews and hasn't slowed down since.
Mela's brand of authentic Indian, prepared with Krisnan and team's attention to detail, was certainly something that Asheville wanted — and hasn't tired of, if the crowds are any indication.
Server Megan Garrett confirms that the restaurant is pretty much always bustling and easily explains the draw.
“We have lots of local and organic ingredients, and Anoop's just a really cool guy. The atmosphere in here and the ambiance is really amazing,” she says, adding, “It's just good food.”
— Mackensy Lunsford