Batter Up

Jill Wasilewski will be expanding the baked-good portions of Ivory Road Café & Kitchen. Here she shows off cupcakes tailored for Valentine’s Day: dark-chocolate strawberry, white-chocolate mocha, and raspberry champagne. Photo by Tim Robison

Jill Wasilewski will be expanding the baked-good portions of Ivory Road Café & Kitchen. Here she shows off cupcakes tailored for Valentine’s Day: dark-chocolate strawberry, white-chocolate mocha, and raspberry champagne.
Photo by Tim Robison

Last summer, Arden gained a new bakery and breakfast-all-day-type spot in Ivory Road Café & Kitchen — and a world of experience in owner/chef Jill Wasilewski, originally of Maryland, whose first gig out of culinary school was baking pastries in a fine-dining restaurant in Melbourne, Australia.

Housed in the former Blue Ridge Bear, Ivory Road offers a menu of smartened-up down-home favorites (e.g., the “Hog Wild Scramble” featuring local pork) and health-conscious indulgences (the granola-yogurt parfait can be enhanced with local bee pollen and organic chia or flaxseed). Sandwiches, including “The Gladiator” meatball sub and a homemade pimento cheese with bacon, tomato, and avocado, are elevated comfort food.

Wasilewski isn’t forgetting her training, though: her restaurant’s long list of decadent cakes and cupcakes means she’s in house everyday. “The holidays went really well,” she reports. “We are only five months old, so still growing our customer base, but we were super thrilled with the response from those who ordered our [seasonal pastry] platters. We make everything from scratch, so we do put a lot of love into what we do.”

In 2017, Ivory Road is planning to expand its custom-dessert line even more, as well as its catering menu. Asked about avant-garde cupcake trends for the new year, Wasilewski discloses, “I don’t think there’s anything crazy happening right now. Boutique cupcake shops were all the rage a year or so ago, with fondant [frosting] and hand-painted decorations that took hours. But I think those have been replaced by a less expensive, less ‘designer’ type of cupcake — one that is just plain gooey and delicious.”

Ivory Road Café & Kitchen,1854 Brevard Road, 828-676-3870, ivoryroadavl.com.

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