Posana Continues to Define Asheville’s Culinary Landscape
“Opening a restaurant was not on my radar,” Peter Pollay—owner of downtown’s upscale, modern American eatery, Posana—pauses and smiles. “It was, however, on Martha’s.”
The year was 2003, and the husband and wife had just moved to Asheville from L.A. In the midst of a busy career in hospitality, the Pollays discovered Asheville through a series of meditation retreats. “The community resonated with us, reflected our values and felt like home,” Peter remembers. It was impetus enough to move their family east to Asheville.
The Pollays wanted to incorporate the stillness they’d found on those retreats into their daily lives, but as anyone who’s worked in hospitality knows, it’s a profession that’s anything but still. Peter pursued real estate, but the career move left him unsatisfied. Martha knew the perfect antidote: opening a restaurant.
Since 2008, Posana has reflected the longstanding culinary values of Peter. “Quality ingredients have always been a cornerstone of my culinary inspirations,” he says, noting that he first began cooking with the guidance of his mother in his childhood home, but it wasn’t until college that he discovered his passion for cooking. “Quality food is scarce when you’re in school, so I started cooking and feeding my housemates. Good food is a catalyst for so much more than feeding oneself, it inspires connection on a whole new level.”
It’s that same dedication to quality ingredients and preparation that marks Posana today. “Our menu has been built on the ethos of Local, Seasonal and Sustainable, with a focus on quality sourcing and keeping things simple,” he notes. Today, Posana works with over 65 farms, fisheries, dairies and other local purveyors, and they even have their own West Asheville urban gardens.
Peter incorporated a few new values into his menu, too, specifically gluten-free recipes. “Another way Martha inspired the creation of Posana has to do with her discovering in 2005 she has Celiac Disease. Much to Martha’s surprise, I insisted that we keep gluten out of the restaurant,” Peter says. “I knew most traditional entrees, when prepared from scratch and employing classical culinary techniques, are naturally gluten-free, unless processed additives, flavorings, and unnecessary thickeners are added.”
Everything from pastries to pasta are gluten-free at Posana, and they’re planning to continue to grow those programs in 2018. The Pollay’s Mandara Hospitality Group will also expand this year to two additional restaurants in Asheville, and they’ll serve as consultants on two spaces in Charlotte. Though change lies ahead, their dedication to good food remains a constant. “We set out to create an exceptionally delicious dining experience that feeds the well-being of our customers, our staff and the local farming community,” Peter says. “We believe that food can be a path to wellness when it’s prepared with great care.”