Asheville’s colorful art-and-warehouse neighborhood along the French Broad River, the River Arts District (RAD), is coming into a new era as a walkable riverfront destination and entertainment district that fully embraces its scenic location along one of the oldest rivers in the world. A longer, improved greenway system with art-infused pedestrian connectivity offers visitors a new way to experience this intensely creative area (home to more than 230 artists) by foot, bike or floatation-device-of-choice via new river access points. Take a SUP tour; watch artists working in studios; wander to airy wine bars or music venues; or sample famous barbecue and food-truck finds in courtyards filled with street art.
First Black-Owned Coffee Shop in Asheville: GRIND on Depot Street in the RAD is a new cafe with social justice baked into every aspect of the business. Partners Gene Ettison and J. Hackett met at Green Opportunities, where Hackett was executive director and Ettison served as executive chef instructor offering practical training and credentials for entry-level workers. Their new venture, GRIND, is a coffee bar focused on nurturing entrepreneurship, specifically in the Black community. Equity memberships allow customers to support a burgeoning business owner. The cafe serves up Ettison’s Ashe-Hole donuts, premium branded coffee and decor featuring displays of local African American business owners dating back to 1835.