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.