As restaurants go, BimBeriBon is difficult to categorize. It’s not a health food restaurant, but the food is amazingly healthy. It’s not a fast casual restaurant, but the service and experience can be both fast and casual. It’s not a vegan restaurant, but it serves some of the most inventive and satisfying vegan offerings in the Southeast. It’s not a gluten-free restaurant, yet the menu is entirely gluten-free. BimBeriBon is a myriad of contradictions, and a restaurant that refuses to be pigeonholed.
The inspiration for BimBeriBon came to chef/owner Reza Setayesh not long after he sold his flagship restaurant Rezaz, an Asheville mainstay for more than a decade that is still going strong under new ownership. Thirty years behind the line at various kitchens had left Reza with high blood pressure, arthritis, and a spare tire around his waist. He spent his newfound downtime wondering if a change in diet, along with a more active lifestyle, could cure his ails. “I decided to make a change and cut out all refined sugars and processed foods,” Reza says. “When I did that all my aches and pains went away, and I lost the weight I didn’t need to be carrying around. I have more energy now than I had in my twenties.”
The change was so significant that Reza decided his next venture would focus on clean food and conscious eating. He partnered with Mitch Orland, who studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute, and in the fall of 2017 BimBeriBon opened in West Asheville.
“We are about transparency,” Reza says. “Ingredients and restaurant processes have always been pretty ambiguous to customers. But here, we are open about all of our ingredients and processes. Everything is sourced properly, cooked properly, and we are clear about what happened from the time an ingredient came into our kitchen until the time it hit your plate.”
The standards Reza and Mitch have adopted at BimBeriBon are exceedingly high: No refined sugars, no processed foods (except for tofu and tempeh), no unhealthy oils, and a focus on fresh, seasonal, sustainable ingredients. “We are making conscious food for conscious consumers,” Reza says. “It’s food that’s nutritional and very flavorful. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or carnivore, you are going to leave here happy. And if you eat with us often, you are going to feel better. I can guarantee that.”
BimBeriBon, 697 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC. (828) 505-0328, bimberibon.com