Food news: New restaurant plans debut, First Watch opening pending, AVL helps Ukraine

Salata Salad Kitchen is seeking franchise owners to open new locations in Asheville.
Salata Salad Kitchen is seeking franchise owners to open new locations in Asheville.

ASHEVILLE - A local brewery prepares to send an employee to the Ukraine border; new food options are coming for early eaters, and a franchise restaurant company is looking for leaders.

AVL to Ukraine outreach

One of Highland Brewing Co.’s own is on a path of international philanthropy.

Brian Ivey, retail manager, and his wife Shea are heading to the Poland-Ukraine border to volunteer with World Central Kitchen, a humanitarian organization that takes meals to the frontlines of humanitarian, climate, and community crises.

On May 6, the couple will leave for Poland to begin a seven-day volunteer commitment.

Brian Ivey’s connection to the region dates to college when he studied in Poland, according to Highland Brewing. Over the years, he’s returned to visit friends. Now, he and his wife will assist in the efforts to feed Ukrainian refugees as the Russian attacks on the country continue.

Highland Brewing is leading a fundraiser to support their endeavor. Through May 3, the brewery will donate a portion of the proceeds from all beer and merchandise purchases to fund their travels.

Learn more about World Central Kitchen at For more about Highland Brewing’s fundraising campaign, visit

Another Asheville group is supporting the humanitarian efforts for Ukraine.

Seeds for Peace is selling packets of sunflower seeds, representing Ukraine’s national flower, with 100% of the proceeds going to World Central Kitchen.

“While it’s vitally important to financially support the noble work of organizations like World Central Kitchen, it’s also necessary for each of us to cultivate peace on the ground beneath our feet. Peace begins in the fertile soil of our heart,” Brody Hartman, founder of Seeds For Peace, said in a news release. “I wanted to provide a physical experience that grounded people in the garden while also inviting them to consider their role in cultivating peace right where they stand.”

For more information, visit

Delayed but on the way

A new breakfast, brunch and lunch destination is coming to Biltmore Village, but diners will have to wait a little longer.

First Watch has delayed its opening, and a new date has not been confirmed, but the company is planning for a mid-to-late May debut.

First Watch will open at 2 Hendersonville Road, Suite A1.

First Watch cafe's menu offers customers a variety of healthy and hearty options.
First Watch cafe's menu offers customers a variety of healthy and hearty options.

It will be the franchise’s first location in Asheville, said Morgan Shields, marketing and business development manager for Capstone Concepts.

The restaurant offers seasonal and nutritional classic and signature dishes. The Tri-Fecta is a popular menu item, she said, which includes cage-free eggs, a Belgian waffle or multigrain pancake, plus meat of choice — bacon, chicken sausage patty or turkey or pork sausage link.

More: Eat more chicken: Another Chick-fil-A is on its way to Asheville

“First Watch is different because we know that people have places to be, they have appointments to go to, they have work to get to so we want to give you the best dining experience you can have … but you can also leave and won’t be there for all day like if you went to dinner,” she said. “We have high standards, and we want our food to be Instagramable and beautiful but we can get you in and out within 30 minutes if you wanted to leave at that time.”

Hiring is in process. Apply at View First Watch's menu at

‘Chipotle of salads’

Salata Salad Kitchen has its eye on Asheville for its next locations. The custom salad restaurant chain is seeking franchisees to help the company break into the Asheville market.

Founded in 2005, Salata remains a very trendy concept, said Julie Davis, vice president of franchise development.

Salata Salad Kitchen is seeking franchise owners to open new locations in Asheville.
Salata Salad Kitchen is seeking franchise owners to open new locations in Asheville.

Salata’s create-your-own salad bar offers 70 ingredient options and a collection of signature dressings to sate customers’ appetite and dietary preferences. Davis referred to Salata as the ‘Chipotle of salads.’

“This is very authentic and meant to be a very customizable, quick, easy option,” she said. “It was created to be a really healthy option and customizable and interactive with our clients and customers. It’s on-point when it comes to health and fitness.”

More: Revisiting tipping for takeout, dining in: How much supports a living wage?

Limited time signature salads are rotated on the menu, as well. The salads average $11.50.

The Houston-based company has nearly 92 locations across the U.S. and six more to open in 2022. Salata is making its debut in Charlotte and has more development plans in the works for the Carolinas.

“We are looking for great growth in North Carolina with our existing franchise partner in Charlotte but we’re also looking for additional franchisees,” she said.

The company set its sights on Asheville for its uniqueness, authenticity and growth, she said.

“Businesses are faring really well in Asheville and it’s become such a popular location over the years,” she said. “When you think about your travel and your uptick in being a travel destination, the kind of businesses that fare well are going to have to do with taking advantage of your beautiful topography and outdoor and natural spaces and what a great fit for a healthy concept like Salata.”

Interested franchisee owners possess a passion for health and serving. Also, they should be willing to adopt the company’s mantra: “Start with love, act with purpose, and serve with gratitude,” she said.

“You’ll really feel it when you come into our restaurants. It’s the center of everything – how we train, how we interact with our customers and how we hold our franchisees to an exceptional customer experience expectation.”

The brand is open to experienced restaurateurs and newcomers.

The goal is to open the first Asheville location in 2023.

Inquire about franchising opportunities at

Tiana Kennell is the food and dining reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please help support this type of journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Times.

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Asheville food news: New restaurant, First Watch, AVL helps Ukraine