Vote with Your Date: Black-Owned Businesses to Visit on Your Next Date

Join the Movement in Asheville Together!

If you follow us, you are likely a large supporter of local businesses. We have always believed in supporting Asheville run restaurants, breweries, spas and everything in between. Since our conception, we have cared deeply about social justice and stand strongly beside all people of color. We deeply believe enough is enough. Our fellow Black Ashevillians need to know we will continue to stand beside them and amplify their voices. 

In support of the Black Lives Movement, we are excited to bring you a new resource, how to join the movement with your wallet by supporting local Black-owned Asheville businesses. Two amazing local Asheville women, Erika Swiger and Paige Borden have each created a full-day date itinerary supporting 15 unique businesses from restaurants to artists, bakeries and more! If you are ambitious, you could do this all in one weekend, or spread it out over two different dates.

Erika Swiger’s Date Itinerary: 

Start your day of fun off with brunch from Tiger Bay Cafe in West Asheville. Here you can take your food to go or chill in their beautiful space covered with the art of Asheville born black artist Frank Dunson aka “Paper Frank.” We highly recommend you give your tastebuds the treat of their unique breakfast panini with an herb mayonnaise that is sure to linger on your tastebuds. 

Cuban Waffle at Tiger Bay Cafe!

Another favorite of ours at Tiger Bay is the Cuban panini. What could be more mouth-watering than slow-roasted pork, pickles and mustard sandwiched between two Belgian waffles? Never before have we ever experienced a Cuban sammie like this one. It takes an innovative chef to put this meaty concoction together and Tiger Bay does it superbly.

Unique Touring

Next, take a Black history and art interactive tour with Hood Huggers. During this outing, you will learn about Asheville’s resilient African American history and future! 

Driving social change through art!

Sweet Tooth

After working up an appetite on your tour, what better thing is there to do than head to Smallcakes, a cupcakery & creamery for a scoop of ice cream to cool off from the Asheville heat and let that new knowledge sink in while having an engaging conversation about what you learned. If ice cream is not your thing, don’t worry! This is also a great place to sink your teeth into a luscious cupcake! 

So delicious! Photo via Instagram: @tbmsmallcakes

We hope you aren’t tired yet, because we still have more adventures to take you on! Next, let’s peacefully stroll through some galleries in the River Arts District, then you’ll definitely want to visit painter, Joseph Pearson at Pink Dog Creative and jewelry designer, Viola Spells at Zenobia Studio.

When you are ready for dinner, support a young, thriving rising star chef, Ashleigh Shanti while enjoying down-home southern delicacies at Benne on Eagle*. If you are looking to save room for dessert, order a collection of their captivating appetizers to share with one another and get a collective feel for what chef Ashleigh is delivering. After one visit, you are sure to add this to your date night dinner rotation.

Food made with heart and soul at Benne on Eagle.

Still have a sweet tooth but you live in Hendersonville? Head to Sweet Thangs for a decadent slice of homemade cheesecake or pannacotta and cocktails. If you’re lucky you may be able to top your evening off with the smooth soulful tunes of Leeda Lyric Jones, check out her website for her next tour dates. 

Staying in downtown Asheville? Head to Crave Dessert Bar downtown Asheville, now occupying the ever so popular corner of Walnut Street and Lexington Avenue. Born in Charlotte, NC, Crave is mixing the world of delicate desserts and craft cocktails and they do it beautifully.

Satisfy your craving at Crave Dessert Bar.

Paige Borden’s Date Itinerary:

Start your morning off with some southern classics at DreadLife Kitchen, a Caribbean Soul Food restaurant in Hendersonville, owned by Dr. Raynard Walker. We recommend filling your belly with warm and cozy biscuits and gravy.

Spa Dates

Once your hunger is addressed, head over to Fusion Day Spa on Merrimon Avenue to get you closer to the heart of downtown Asheville, and closer to each other. Fusion offers couples massages, as well as several spa specials. Yes, please!

Bliss out at Fusion Day Spa.

Now that you are blissed out, do some shopping at Southern Expressions Gift Boutique. This great downtown boutique has been around since 1993, along with owner Michael Wilson. It’s a perfect place to find something special for yourself or a loved one.

Wrap up your perfect day with an evening meal at Haywood Lounge, with some wings and classic Southern staples, washed down with a sweet tea or beer. This bar also doubles as a music venue, if you’re lucky you may be able to catch a show. 

A southern gem, Chicken and Waffles at Haywood Lounge in West Asheville.

Black Mountain

Next time you’re in Black Mountain, find your way to Black Mountain Cider and Mead in this cute neighboring town. Here you will find an offering of crisp ciders and rotating session meads with exciting flavors like The Zephyrus, fresh ginger and candied orange peel cider. 

A Black Mountain gem. Photo via Instagram: @blackmountaincider_and_mead

Please note, hours and offerings of these businesses may be impacted by COVID-19. Please visit the links associated with each to learn more about their current hours of operations and current offerings. 

More Resources

If you are interested in learning more about Black-owned businesses in Asheville, we highly encourage you to visit and The Green Book

If you are looking to support the Black Lives Matter movement in Asheville, we encourage you to consider contributing to:

If you are looking to continue your education on racial justice, follow these local social media accounts:

Here are some outside of Asheville resources too! 

We are continuing to learning and listen. If there are additional resources you believe we should include, please contact us at [email protected]. Thank you!

We would like to share a huge thank you to Erika Swiger and Paige Borden for supplying us with these wonderful itineraries! 

*This business is not black-owned, however, the head chef, Ashleigh Shanti, is Black and the restaurant honors the history of Black culinary creations. 



Featured photo: Hood Huggers International sharing stories, arts and resiliency. Photo by Pcho Pictures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.