Asheville Independent Restaurants (AIR) Flourish Amidst a Vibrant Foodie Community

Asheville, North Carolina is home to one of the nation’s strongest independent restaurant scenes. With passionate food entrepreneurs, activists, producers, and a heavy emphasis on sustainable practices, not only is this micro region proving there is great opportunity for the ambitious but they’re also furthering the idea that you can do well by doing good.

In 2007, the nonprofit Asheville Independent Restaurants (AIR) was established to support this ambitious community of epicureans. From start up to the daily grind, AIR provides the resources often available only to large chains with large operating budgets.

Isa's Bistro

Seasonal Summer Salad from Isa’s Bistro

Members of AIR can catch a ServSafe class, seek legal advice, and even promote openings at their establishment through the AIR network. With over 120 members, AIR is helping to ensure that the future of Asheville’s restaurant scene stays local and vibrant.

To learn more about the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, visit them at or stop into any of the Asheville visitor’s centers for your own Independent Asheville Dining Guide.

Chelsea B. Sanz
Chelsea B. Sanz

Chelsea Sanz has lived in East Tennessee since her family moved here from South Florida just before she started high school. While she initially begrudged her new home state, she eventually realized she had come to not only love it, but to “bleed orange” as University of Tennessee Volunteers fans here like to say. She and her boyfriend Hunter, a trail worker for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, enjoy exploring the nation’s most visited national park and coming up with their own farm-to-table recipes.

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