City Hall snack shop offers healthier choices, green options

If you haven’t been to the Asheville City Hall Snack Shop in awhile, you may be surprised by some of the changes there. The shop recently celebrated a grand-reopening, introducing the shop’s incoming owners and unveiling new healthy lunch choices, including a salad bar, and sporting a new look.

Right off the bat, diners will notice the shop’s remodel, which includes a paint job that restored the walls to their historic, brighter colors, the removal of carpet revealing original flooring, and new blinds. The overall effect is a brighter, more spacious-seeming room.

But some of the biggest changes include new menu items that promote a healthier diet and the development of more environmentally sustainable practices. Like the rest of City Hall, the shop has single-stream recycling bins to make it easier for patrons to recycle. For the first time, beginning in June, a composting component will be included as well, keeping even more material out of the landfill. The shop is also providing dine-in customers with dishes that can be washed and reused rather than tossed, and to-go customers will get compostable containers. Those steps were included in partnership with the city’s Office of Sustainability and helps move the City of Asheville closer to its goal to reduce its environmental impact.

Healthier menu items come thanks to the city’s Asheville Balanced Choices program that also includes changes in vending machine selections, healthy living classes and screenings for employees.

“The changes to our vending machine offerings and Snack Shop menu are a part of the City’s commitment to our Asheville Balanced Choices Wellness program and provide healthy food options that encourage our employees to make good health choices,” says Cheryl Walker, the city’s Health and Wellness Manager.

The Snack Shop is operated in collaboration with the North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind, a partnership that has endured over the past 20 years, and the space is rented and run by private owners working with the division. “I think this is a great partnership,” said Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy at the re-opening ceremony. “I thank you so much for your leadership and collaboration.”

The shop’s new owners, who will take over operations in the coming weeks, are looking forward to serving the eatery’s clientele, and hope to get the word out to expand the customer base. Alongside the 189 employees that work in City Hall, the shop is popular with those who work in the Buncombe County Court House and the offices surrounding Pack Square Park. It also provides easy access for people enjoying the park and the Splashville fountain. “We welcome people from all over Asheville,” said Linda Pezzementi, who will take over the counter with husband Tony on June 1. She encourages people who haven’t been inside the shop in a while to give it another visit and see the changes. “The more we get the word out into the community the better,” Pezzementi said.

The City Hall Snack Shop is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.