Home Cooked and Lovingly Served: Ivory Road Café

By Dasha Morgan- On August 1 the Ivory Road Café and Kitchen is celebrating its third anniversary. Tucked into a low hillside near Boone’s Corner on Rt 191 in Arden, this small attractive stone restaurant was once a family’s home (built in approximately 1939) but now has quite a group of regular diners.

Jill Wasilewski, the owner and chef of Ivory Road Café and Kitchen, is soon to celebrate her third year in business.

The nearby morning drive-through coffee shack is open weekdays from 7:00-11:00am, serving espresso drinks, coffee, fresh fruit smoothies, bagels, quiche, yogurt parfaits, and homemade baked goods from Monday – Friday, 7am-11am. Daily—except for Sundays—delicious reasonably-priced meals are offered in the restaurant.

The staff is known to be friendly and hospitable. The clientele has discovered that they can find Southern/American food with fresh bread made from scratch, yummy desserts made in-house, and vegetables, locally sourced and in season.

They are committed to supporting and working with as many local businesses as possible and have partnered with many, such as Mills River Creamery, Sunburst Chef and Farmer, High Noon Coffee Roasters, Asheville Tea Co., Inland Seafood and Mountain Food Products.

At lunch with counter service, the Franklin Panini is an all-time favorite: a grilled cheese consisting of homemade pimento cheese, bacon, tomato and avocado pressed on sourdough bread. Quite a crowd frequents this intimate stone cottage with covered tables outside on the porch at lunchtime, from 11:30-1:00pm. The parking lot is at this time of day is often practically full. For dinner, the tomato pie, served with a caesar salad, or the Creole-Seared Pork Chops and Maple Kettlecorn Crusted Rainbow Trout, are all wonderful choices. They do offer take out, and with Take out Central something can be delivered.

Every Saturday, an Afternoon Tea is held at 2pm. An individual full pot of tea with a wide choice of tea flavors—Ginger Tumeric, Green, English Breakfast and many more— and scones, lavender shortbread cookies, and tea sandwiches is offered at your table. The Ivory Road Teatime has a laid-back, relaxed approach to the traditional English-style service. Special Sunday Tea Events, such as for Mother’s Day or on September 29th for an Autumn Harvest Candlelight Tea, are a little more elaborate.

Ivory Road has partnered with Jessie Dean, owner of Asheville Tea Company, to these Tea Tastings. In addition to proper afternoon tea, there will be a tasting of locally-sourced and blended teas by Jessie. She will provide a brief informative talk discussing her blends, the ingredients, the health benefits of each tea, and more. This is a great opportunity to connect directly with small, independent business owners and share in their expertise first-hand! However, reservations are needed for these.

Jill Wasilewski, the owner and chef of Ivory Road Cafe and Kitchen, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, as a bakery and pastry chef also receiving a business management degree. The CIA has a fine reputation.

Many consider it one of the best culinary schools in the United States. Jill has traveled extensively (spending time in Melbourne, Australia, working as a pastry chef, amongst other countries) and continues to enjoy the learning curve of being a chef, continually looking for the exotic and the simple with a life-long love of food and culture. After many internships in places like New Orleans, and Washington, DC, she moved to this area approximately five years ago. Originally from Maryland, she had heard that Asheville was a “foodie” town and was attracted to the size of the city and the mountains.

Currently with nine compatible employees, she feels that her venture in owning her own business has been continually growing and more people are finding out where they are and what the restaurant offers. Often for holidays she bakes platters of cookies, pies and cupcakes for customers.

During the summer months on Thursdays there are children’s cooking classes. August 1st at 3:30pm there will be a Baking-Themed Kids Class where students will learn cookies, cupcakes, and frostings. Kids learn about safety and sanitation in the kitchen, get hands-on with the chef and take home their own finished food products, plus a recipe book of all the food they prepare! Classes last approximately 90 minutes; parents are welcome to stay and relax.

Space is limited, so you need to sign up quickly! These are best for ages 6+ and cost $27.95/child. In addition, the Ivory Road Café often hosts small groups, perhaps 35-to-45 for a special occasion like a graduation or wedding party and caters meals for clubs and organizations throughout the area. Recently Jill started working with the High Vista Country Club in Mills River, which holds many larger wedding receptions.

Being a baker and pastry chef Jill makes many a wedding cake, plans rehearsal dinners and the menu for the wedding itself. Her team of talented pastry chefs would love to help create someone’s dream wedding cake, cupcakes, or dessert table! They have just over ten years of experience making wedding cakes, and it is still their passion to create desserts as delicious as they are beautiful.

They offers many flavors of cake—Red Velvet, S’mores, Coconut, Raspberry Champagne, Mocha, Dulce de Leche and others and many other pastries. For more information, go to

Show More

Related Articles