Chef Jason Sellers with a seitan in a lemon peppercorn cream sauce with roasted root vegetables and grilled asparagus. His restaurant Plant is fully booked for Valentine's Day. / Bill Sanders / firstname.lastname@example.org
ASHEVILLE — As the city digs out from one of the biggest snowstorms it’s seen in years, restaurants worked Thursday to open their doors again. Restaurant owners were hoping the weather doesn’t impact sales on Valentine’s Day, one of the busiest days of the year for local eateries.
During the storm, many Asheville businesses stayed open for hungry and thirsty customers — some seemingly in defiance of the weather.
Sean Bickford, an owner of Tiger Mountain Thirst Parlour on Broadway Street commented on a Citizen-Times blog yesterday that “Tiger Mountain will never close. Not for snow. Not for floods. Not for nuclear war. We’ll be on the bar pounding whiskey under mushroom clouds.”
Not all businesses stayed open, even those that usually plow through a snowstorm. Nine Mile in Montford closed early Wednesday — about 8 p.m. — as the snow began to pile up.
“We just felt that it was snowing quite hard,” owner Aaron Thomas said. “We thought we’d shut it down for our employees’ safety.”
Nine Mile has a tendency to weather snowstorms, and Thomas said the restaurant is known in the neighborhood as a warm watering hole. “We had one guy cross-country ski here last night,” Thomas said.
Accordingly, he thinks the weather should have no bearing on business for Valentine’s Day. “We’ll be busy,” said Thomas. “Most of the time, the snow makes us busier, because people know we’ll be open.”
Mike Moore, owner of Seven Sows Bourbon and Larder, did not open his restaurant Wednesday night. “I was doing prep for Valentine’s Day, and I saw people walking around and thought maybe I’d made a mistake,” the chef said. “There was plenty of foot traffic — more than I thought there would be.”
But on Thursday, the restaurant opened at 5 p.m. “We have lots of prep work to do for Valentine’s Day, and people will want to get out of the house,” Moore said.
Moore hoped weather wouldn’t cause Valentine’s Day cancellations. “It really depends on how this freezes up tonight,” he said. “I’m trying to stay positive. I hope not many have to cancel, but we’ll see what happens.”