Swannanoa residents received some sad news in April when Native Kitchen, a much-loved Swannanoa restaurant, announced that it would not reopen following the coronavirus shutdown. For the past eight years, Native Kitchen had been a gathering place in the community, and a source of local pride for Swannanoa residents. Visitors from throughout the region were drawn to the great food and music, and the welcoming indoor and outdoor space.
Native was founded in 2012 by two local couples, Brandon and Meredith Ellison and Sarah and Casey Watkins, who saw the need for a community-focused restaurant offering healthy, locally-sourced food. The Ellisons and Watkins were already very familiar with the historic building at 204 Whitson Avenue that would eventually house the restaurant. Their company, Symmetry Financial Group, had operated out of offices on the upstairs level since 2009. When the lower floor became available, Native Kitchen was born.
Throughout its existence, Native Kitchen worked to help improve the community and bring people together. The owners were very generous in supporting local nonprofits, and sponsoring community gatherings like Groovin’ on Grovemont. Their “Native Kind” program recognized and honored (with a free meal!) the many behind-the-scenes people who give of their time and energy for the betterment of our community.
The post on the Native Kitchen Facebook page that announced the closing included these words from the owners: “Of all the things we will miss about Native, and there are so many, the most significant will be the relationships and memories that were created with so many of you. We want to thank you for your love and support, and we wish the very best to everyone in our community during these challenging times.”
Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS) is grateful for the support we received from Native Kitchen over the past eight years. The restaurant, and all that it represented for Swannanoa, will be sorely missed. Thankfully, we haven’t heard the last from Native Kitchen’s owners. Their company, Symmetry Financial, has purchased the former Beacon Mill site, and has plans to construct a corporate headquarters there. They remain committed to supporting the community, and creating opportunities for revitalization in Swannanoa.
The U.S. Census happens only once every ten years. The census data that’s being collected now will determine (for the next ten years!) how much representation we’ll have in state and federal government, and how much money and other resources we’ll get for our schools, hospitals, roads, public works, social programs, and more. If our community is going to get the resources we need and deserve for the next ten years, every person must be counted. This means you!
If you have not yet completed your census form, please do so now. It takes no more than ten minutes to fill out the census questionnaire (online, by phone or by mail), and your responses are confidential. It’s against the law for the Census Bureau to disclose or publish any census information that identifies you. No law enforcement agency (not the DHS, ICE, FBI or CIA) can access or use your personal information at any time.
By responding now, you spare the government the cost of continuing to send you mailers, and you also spare yourself a knock on your door from a census taker. For more info, visit my2020census.gov.
Swannanoa Valley voters will go to the polls on March 3 to cast their ballots in a number of local, state and federal races. Although the official deadline to register for the primary has passed, you can still do a same-day registration at any early voting site. Learn more about how to register and vote on the same day at ncsbe.gov/Voters.
The early voting period runs from February 13 – 29. There are ten early voting locations throughout Buncombe County, including the Black Mountain Library, 105 North Dougherty Street. For more information about early voting hours and locations, visit buncombecounty.org/election. At that website, you can also find sample ballots and all of your voter information, including your registration status and your election day polling location.