The Hop’s dairy mavens look no further than their own stomping grounds when culling the fresh, local ingredients they use to concoct their gourmet ice cream. Since it’s illegal to scream for ice cream in a crowded building, servers sate fierce cravings for the glacial delight by plunging creamy scoops into organic sodas, piling them into housemade waffle cones, and drizzling them with the shop’s own hot fudge and chocolate syrup. In addition to indulgent confections, The Hop caters to health-conscious gourmands with vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free ice creams made from scratch, as well as fresh-fruit sorbets and fair-trade coffee.
In addition to appeasing sweet teeth, The Hop also serves as a welcoming hangout spot where guests can enjoy free, family-friendly events, including live music, magicians, and jugglers scheduled every Tuesday. The cheerful, carefree setting also hosts birthday parties replete with a build-your-own-sundae bar and face painting.
Dobrá Tea's dedicated staff regularly visits its far-flung suppliers to ensure that the shop's cozily Bohemian interior is scented with the wafting aromas of only the finest imported teas, each of which comes with a story of its travels. The flowery, white bai mu dan ($3.75/cup, $4.50/pot) transmutes its downy, silver-tipped leaves into a sparkling, sweet infusion, and the rich, earthy rooibos ($4.25/pot) boosts one's immunity to colds, king's evil, and lumberjack's block. Japanese green teas such as the matcha kyoto ($4.25/chawan bowl) percolate sluggish brain waves with a grassy aroma and intense, deep-green infusion that pairs naturally with the sweet flavors of vegan baklava ($2) or gluten-free almond thumbprint jam cookies ($2.50 each). The savory, locally sourced hummus plate ($7.50) lets active eaters stock up on nutrients before entering a Segway triathlon.
Cooking up an extensive menu of custom crêpes, Twisted Crêpe satiates hankerings for sweet and savory battered delights. Creative customers can craft their ideal crêpes from a smorgasbord of parts, fashioning ideal culinary companions for lovelorn taste buds.
Though lush, verdant, and rich with history, the mountains of Western North Carolina just can’t produce coffee; but that hasn’t stopped The Biltmore Coffee Company from fulfilling their mission of providing their customers with a flavorful and aromatic cup of Joe. They partner with the artisanal and Alabama-based roasting company H.C. Valentine to source their organic, fair trade beans from the hills of Honduras and Mexico, resulting in more than five roast varieties with subtle hints of cherry and chocolate flavors. They also prepare fresh cuisine such as salads or club sandwiches with turkey, ham, and peppercorn bacon to pair with their steaming cups of rich coffee.
Owned and operated by expert pastry chef Melinda Vetro, who learned the trade as an apprentice to her cinnamon-dispensing grandmother, Old Europe treats sweet teeth to authentic Hungarian delectables, baked daily. Sample the Ricardo, a rich chocolate nut cake with raspberry cream garnished with ganache, fresh raspberry topping, and a slick hairdo ($3.50), or mop up an espresso drink ($1.50) with an absorbent viennese shortbread ($1.29). Traditionalists may err on the side of biscotti ($1.29) or the dobos torte, a five-layer sponge cake accented with dark-chocolate buttercream that infuses its eater with confectionary confidence.
You have to pay attention at Asheville Radio Cafe, because you might be on the air. In addition to serving up organic and local food such as gourmet chicken-salad sandwiches and black-bean wraps, the eatery is home to 95.7 The Choice, an FM radio station. The Choice broadcasts local, regional, and popular artists 24/7 while visitors relax in a casual atmosphere and sip on warm drinks such as hot chocolate, chai tea, and mocha. Asheville Radio Cafe also hosts live music every Friday and Saturday night and broadcasts interviews with the artists before each show.