Just south of downtown, local entrepreneurs have transformed a former manufacturing district into a center for local beer and sweets. In 2014, Vortex Doughnuts opened near a chocolate factory and several breweries in the up-and-coming neighborhood known as South Slope.
"We are joining a great neighborhood of artisan producers," says Vortex owner Ben Myers. "We strive to create something that is authentic, unique, and delicious-a doughnut as unique as Asheville."
Vortex serves doughnuts that are tasty, local, and twisted-in fact, those three words comprise its motto. Accordingly, the bakers create inventive glaze flavors such as lavender-Earl Grey and juniper-honey, plus classics such as chocolate, raspberry and coconut.
The menu proves that confections aren't just for kids with adult flavors such as cardamom-anise and beer. "We use select beers from our neighborhood breweries to create a beer glaze, which we then cover in beer malt, peanuts and pretzels" Myers says. "It pretty much tastes like a soft Snickers bar for lack of more eloquent comparison."
The doughnut varieties change with the day - that's part of Vortex's philosophy, Myers explains. "We are constantly playing with different flavor combinations to bring energy and excitement to our offerings," he says. "These shift seasonally to mirror changes in the fields, mountains and farmers markets."
Vortex is equally focused on invention and integrity, so Myers works to source ingredients that are GMO-free, and he partners with nearby producers of soda, milk, beer and more. This effort creates delicious doughnuts, but it's also about building a thriving local food scene. "Little choices add up," Myers says. "We treat people and nature well, and we're willing to take time to grow."