A popular Asheville restaurant is shucking its franchise shell.
Formerly Virgola, local owners Steve and Nan Klein have parted ways with their franchise affiliation to become The Wine & Oyster, an independently-owned restaurant in Asheville’s flourishing culinary community.
“We are locals and it is now a locally run, independent restaurant,” Steve said, who originally opened Virgola at 2 Hendersonville Road in Biltmore Station under the franchise in June of 2017.
Their new name, The Wine and Oyster, represents a new beginning for the location, the menu and for the Kleins.
“There is a lot of value in the change for us, and we hope in the community,” Steve said. “We have a lot of loyal customers and we want to continue to make this a warm cozy place for everyone to enjoy. We are maintaining our foundation, but building our own identity.”
To celebrate their grand re-opening, The Wine & Oyster is throwing a re-branding bash Wednesday, Feb. 14 with an evening of local music by Asheville’s own Jesse Barry, fine wines and of course, a feast of fresh raw oysters.
“We hope everyone can come out and celebrate with us,” said Steve. “The Village has been so supportive to us during this time and we are excited to have this opportunity
and look forward to our new beginnings.”
The decision to “unchain” Steve says, came because of the desire to create a restaurant more aligned with the independent spirit of the Asheville community.
“We wanted to be able to get more creative with our menu and offer more items that our customers request,” Steve said. “It gives us the flexibility to be able to adapt to the Asheville market, and make changes to wine and food menu that will be more attractive to customers.”
The current space, a 1,400-square foot eatery and bar, will for the most part remain the same.
However, The Wine & Oyster will expand on their menu, adding fresh ingredients and new items like flatbreads, olive and charcuterie plates and fresh salads. They also plan
to apply for a full liquor license and intend to feature whiskey from local distilleries and craft cocktails to compliment their extensive wine list.
As for the star of the sea, The Wine & Oyster will keep up to eight varieties of cold water oysters on their menu on any given day – in addition to a rotating menu of funky seasonal specials like Va Va Voom and Sex on the Beach oysters, a Valentine’s Day special.
“We wanted the ability to be more creative in the kitchen and this gives us that,” Steve said. “The food scene in Asheville is incredible and we want to be able to offer a menu
that matches that.”
For the locals and weekday visitors, they will begin weekly events and daily happy hour featuring $1 oyster of the day, shrimp cocktail for $9 (reg. $15) and your choice of three items from their charcuterie for only $15 (reg. $21).
As local business owners, they want to give back to the community. During the past few months, they have held fundraisers and donated to Habitat for Humanity, Manna Food Bank, and Caring for Children. Events are already scheduled this year to donate a percentage of sales to The Asheville Humane Society, Friends of the Smokies, the Jewish Secular Community of Asheville (JSCA) and other local charities.
“We want to give back,” Nan said. “It is something we are both very passionate about and we look forward to more opportunities to partner with many more organizations throughout our community.”
The Wine & Oyster is open daily from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Mon – Thurs.; and 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday evening. For more information visit www.thewineandoyster.com or call 828-676-2700.