Benne on Eagle’s Bright, Decadent Brunch Recipes Make Waking Up Worth It

West Africa and western North Carolina may be worlds apart, but in the industrial-chic dining room of Asheville, NC’s Benne on Eagle, you would be forgiven for thinking they’re neighbors. Here chef Ashleigh Shanti’s thoughtful menu explores the profound interconnectedness of African and Appalachian foodways, an edible counter-narrative to prevailing stereotypes about the region and its culture.

Benne on Eagle chef Ashleigh Shanti

Photo by Emma Fishman

“Black folks have been here for so long,” Shanti explains. “I want to prove that there is such a thing as Black Appalachian cooking.” For her that means benne-seed biscuits topped with local country ham and hollandaise punched up with her version of kitchen pepper, an idiosyncratic blend of pepper and warm spices. It means air-dried green veggies, or “britches,” rehydrated in buttermilk and cooked in potlikker until soft; and pork ribs with ground ogbono seed.

Shanti’s food is complex, spirited, and the ideal fuel to start off any day—whether you’re ready to hike the trails of Asheville, or looking to treat yourself to truly decadent meal at home.

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