Time Magazine: Benne on Eagle one of 'World's 100 Greatest Places 2019'

Mackensy Lunsford
The Citizen-Times

"How does one measure the greatness of a place?" the Time staff muses in the introduction to this year's collection of the World’s Greatest Places. 

The greatness of a place can't be measured in miles traveled or the number of visitors, the writers say. It's instead a place that gives you the sense that a visitor has stumbled on the extraordinary. The Time staff has decided that Asheville's Benne on Eagle, fronted by rising star chef Ashleigh Shanti, has enough of that intangible aura to land it a spot on the annual list

To compile the list, Time solicited nominations across a variety of categories, including museums, parks, restaurants, hotels and just plain pretty places, with industry insiders and magazine staff weighing in on factors including quality, innovation and influence.

Benne on Eagle, opened not quite a year ago in the belly of the new Foundry Hotel, has risen to prominence not just for the talent of its chefs, a roster which also includes local phenom Hanan Shabazz and owner John Fleer. It's also earned attention for the intention behind its menu, which highlights the African traditions and history behind Southern-Appalachian food with restrained reverence.

More:87-room Foundry Hotel opens in downtown Asheville's The Block neighborhood

More:New chef de cuisine makes mark at Benne on Eagle, new John Fleer restaurant in Asheville

More:John Fleer opens restaurant on 'The Block' with caveat: It must honor black heritage

Times reporter Mahita Gajanan writes: "Informed by the West African spirit of sankofa, which encourages living with a deep respect for history, chef Ashleigh Shanti has developed dishes that recognize the influence of the African diaspora in the Appalachian South by weaving in nods to both cultures: benne seeds, a West African staple,  hummus made from black-eyed peas, while buttermilk britches, a twist on a mountain specialty, accompany ogbono pork ribs."

Shanti was also recently highlighted as one of Eater's Young Guns 2019