Coach House celebrates 25 years in Black Mountain

Claire Thomas
Special to Black Mountain News
Coach House owners Arthur and Laurie Pappas, and son Evan, are celebrating 25 years of business in Black Mountain this year.

For the past 25 years, Coach House has been serving residents of Black Mountain and beyond, as patrons travel from far and wide to experience the eatery’s at-home atmosphere and exceptionally fresh seafood. Owners Laurie and Arthur Pappas opened their doors in 1994 and have since succeeded in establishing themselves as a hub for locals; however, it wasn't always this way.

Upon opening, the couple faced substantial pressure to renovate the old building. Operating as a restaurant previously, the building in which Coach House currently resides was in need of significant reparation upon purchase but, wishing to preserve the building’s historical integrity, Laurie and Arthur instead focused solely on internal improvements, even keeping the restaurant’s original name “Coach House”.

The meaning behind the name isn't certain but it's believed that many years ago the structure was used as a rest stop for travelers coming from Old Fort. In fact, original locust posts still remain on the property possibly used by travelers to tie up their trail-weary horses.

After renovations were completed, the Pappas family faced a new task: building rapport within the Black Mountain community. During the initial six months of operation, Laurie and her son Evan walked through town handing out fliers in hopes to promote the family’s new restaurant.

Coach House owners Arthur and Laurie Pappas, and son Evan, stand in front of their newly opened Black Mountain seafood restaurant in 1994.

Thankfully, Coach House was the only seafood restaurant in the immediate area and it wasn’t too long before news spread through town and the eatery began to welcome a steady stream of loyal, lifelong customers.

Today, the restaurant offers a wide array of fresh seafood, chicken, steak, salads and desserts to fit all tastes. In addition to the food, Coach House also provides a warm, family-friendly ambiance appreciated by the residents of Black Mountain.

When customers walk through the door they know the will be greeted by the warm, friendly faces they have come to know. While patrons of Coach House are undoubtedly grateful for this local eatery, the owners are equally appreciative for the warm embrace they’ve received from locals over the years.

Most days Laurie enjoys talking with patrons at the front counter as they regale her with stories of the restaurant before the Pappas took ownership, stating “patrons have a connection to the building."

As to why they chose to start a business in Black Mountain, Arthur explains that he loves the quaintness of the town.

“Everybody knows everybody," he said. "And although we commute from North Asheville, we still feel a strong connection to Black Mountain”.

Regular customers of Coach House, Junior and Audrey Stroud, visit the restaurant two to three times per week. They were eager to sing its praises.

“They have good food, good variety and good cooks” Audrey said.

“She doesn’t like to cook." Junior quickly added with a smile. 

The couple also emphasized the importance of the establishment within the Black Mountain community and the lengths Coach House is willing to go to in order to make everyone feel like family. Earlier this year, the couple celebrated Audrey’s mother’s 93rd birthday at the restaurant and the Coach House staff had decorated the table specifically for the occasion.

To celebrate the occasion, Coach House will hoist a banner thanking customers for their 25 years of patronage.

However, Laurie and Arthur, don't want people to misunderstand the message, it is far from a farewell. To the contrary, they plan on keeping the restaurant in the family for years to come.  

Black Mountain residents can rest assured the owners of Coach House intend to provide family-friendly service and favorite seafood dishes to all.