Miki Kilpatrick’s children, Charlie and Magnolia, have grown up in her Merrimon Avenue eatery, HomeGrown. The renovated house that hosts the restaurant, with its sunny yellow walls, large windows and homey decor, is the sort of place where two small children can play happily during the slower hours. At meals, they dine on fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and sauteed beets with droves of enthusiastic diners.
“We work really hard to make it happy here,” says Miki, who began her career in fine dining before opening HomeGrown with her husband, Greg. “It was nice to step back and take the pretense out of it and have really quality food and service without the huff and puff.”
Charlie, 4, has learned to ask the question that drives HomeGrown: “Where does my food come from?” Miki likes to answer with the name of a nearby farm. She and Greg grew up in the farm country that surrounds Asheville (making them truly homegrown), so their dedication to farmers is deeply rooted.
The restaurant started as a way to drive business to those farmers. “The only places that we saw that were serving local food were high end,” Miki says. “We really wanted to make it approachable and convenient for everybody, and on the back side of things, we wanted the farmers to be able to sell things that weren’t white asparagus and perfect heirloom vegetables.”
Today, many Asheville restaurants offer local food at affordable prices, but Miki is still pushing herself to innovate. “We make everything,” she says. “Maybe one day we’ll even make the ketchup; we’ve tried.”