When Chris and Ashley Faber moved to Asheville from Seattle, they were excited to bring a unique dining experience to the mountains. Using the momentum of their past experience in the service industry, it was time for them to chase their own success. With two passionate owners and a highly skilled chef, Owen Lane, Asheville is truly lucky to have The Times. From creative and delicious cocktails to mouthwatering dishes that rotate with the seasons, this is one of the hottest spots in the city.
What inspired you to open up The Times?
Ashley and I have wanted to open our own bar for a long time. We’re from Seattle originally, and we worked for a great restaurant group out there. We both kind of topped out with that company and decided to make a change and see if we could find a place to open our own spot. After a couple of years in Florida, we ended up traveling the country to do a bartending tour sponsored by Fernet Branca. Asheville was one of the stops on the trip, and we just fell in love. I had the opportunity to be one of the opening bar managers at The Times, and then we ended up purchasing the business from the building owner.
What is the feeling you want visitors to The Times to experience?
Our whole goal with The Times is to create a craft cocktail bar where people feel comfortable—a place where we can be nerdy and create some fun, interesting cocktails, but in a completely unpretentious environment. I think that’s one of the biggest hurdles in bringing craft cocktails to the masses. I love to introduce people to new drinks, new spirits, etc., but I also want to wear my baseball cap and sneakers. I don’t think those things have to be mutually exclusive, and that’s kind of the vibe we push for at The Times; let’s educate, create and present what we love to do to our guests in a personal, friendly and relaxed environment.
How often does the food menu rotate? Which dish is your personal favorite? Owen’s?
The menu rotates constantly. There are a few bestsellers that stick around, but that’s the beauty in having a chef like Owen; he creates new dishes all the time. And because he and the kitchen crew do such a great job, Ashley and I have no qualms letting them do their thing. It allows them to be creative and allows us the peace of mind knowing that they’ll crank out consistently quality food. I can’t imagine someone telling me how to make drinks behind the bar, and I’m certainly not an expert in the kitchen. I think that trust is why we’ve been able to put out such awesome food at our little cocktail bar.
Owen: Picking a personal favorite on the menu right now, and always, is a difficult one. But if I had to pick at this time, our house-made sausage with this season’s freshest ingredients is my go-to.
Which fall ingredients excite you most? Are there any must-try dishes this season?
Owen: Brussels sprouts, apples, pumpkin, delicata squash are a few of my fall favorites. A dish that’s a must-have for fall at The Times would probably be our chipotle-braised beef cheeks.
Which cocktail is your personal favorite? With what dish does it pair best?
My favorite drink currently is called Green Means Go. It’s blanco tequila, lime, pineapple, agave nectar puréed with poblano peppers, Ancho Reyes Verde (a poblano liquor) and topped with a dry-hopped sparkling water. It’s bright, effervescent, refreshing and our bestselling drink on this current iteration of the menu. It pairs really well with seafood and definitely with the heirloom tomato or shishito pepper dish.
Are there any events coming up you want our readers to know about?
Not really any major upcoming events, but we do offer spirits education and tasting classes, which are a ton of fun for groups of pretty much any size. We do classes on scotch, mezcal, American whiskey, local NC spirits, gin, etc.
When you’re not at The Times, where’s your favorite place in Asheville for dinner and a cocktail?
My favorite places in Asheville … tough one. I love what Katey and Donnie are doing at Golden Pineapple in West Asheville—definitely one of my favorite new cocktail spots. The crew at Sovereign Remedies is always really on point, and Graham and Brett in the kitchen do just really awesome food. I also love En La Calle. The tapas are killer, and their tequila drinks are incredible. I could go on and on here, but for brevity’s sake, I’d say those are probably my typical go-to spots in town.
Vegetables for Sauté
1 cup roasted corn kernels
1 cup okra, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon shallots, finely diced
1 tablespoon garlic, finely diced
2 tablespoons poblano peppers, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grilled pineapple, pureed
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chicken stock
Sauté all vegetables for about 2 minutes or until al dente. Add sausage and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with chicken stock and pureed pineapple. Cook until almost totally reduced. Mount with butter and season to taste.