Loaves and Fishes
Matthew Hundley / (email@example.com)
Owners and operators Sharon and Wayne Arnold attribute that longevity to a few simple principles that they have stuck to over the years.
“It is a testament to several different things,” said Sharon. “Our food, I would like to think, is the major emphasis of why we have done well, but it also about a commitment to the Lord and a focus on his will in my life, not just a business. In more than 30 years of catering experience, we have called upon the Lord for multiplying food more than once!”
Located at the corner of Maple Street and Highway 221 in Crossnore, Loaves and Fishes is open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For a menu and other detailed information on catering services, click to the Loaves and Fishes Facebook page at http://www.askcounty.com/businesses/NorthCarolina/loavesAndFishes/loavesAndFishes.htm or call (828) 733-5812.
According to Sharon, Loaves and Fishes got its start when her catering business became too much to handle without a full restaurant kitchen.
“I have catered in this county with a friend of mine, Sharon Smith Wise, for 25 years,” said Sharon. “She dropped out of the catering businesses and I continued on catering on a part-time basis. The catering got so out of hand that I could not manage it. It was either quit catering or build a facility that I could cater out of. I could not afford to build something just for catering, so that’s why I opened the restaurant.”
With her new business in place, Sharon decided to give it a name that captured the commitment to food and faith that keeps the her cooking and keeps customers coming back day after day.
With the restaurant and catering service created in Crossnore, Sharon set about establishing Loaves and Fishes as a destination for anyone looking for a good meal.
It was those good meals that brought people from miles around to Crossnore, a town where Loaves and Fishes existed as the only taxable business in town limits for many years before Linville River Mercantile opened just a few years ago.
According to Sharon, some people questioned her decision to establish Loaves and Fishes in the sleepy town of Crossnore in 2002.
“I did not look at it that way,” said Sharon. “I knew that I am a good cook and would serve a good product.” Sharon’s faith that her food would bring people into Crossnore turned out to be well placed. In addition to a dedicated following of local patrons, diners travel regularly from Blowing Rock, Boone, Elizabethton, Marion and Spruce Pine for the single purpose of dining at the Crossnore restaurant. Sharon also has customers who visit from many of Avery County’s resort communities on a weekly basis to dine at Loaves and Fishes.
According to Sharon, the widespread loyalty that Loaves and Fishes enjoys is based on a few simple principles of customer service.
“People like to be treated a certain way. You treat them the way they like to be treated,” Sharon said, noting that quality products and attention to detail make the difference in both food and service. “My take on serving food is ‘if I don’t like it, I don’t serve it.’ If it is not something that I go and have at a restaurant, I am not going to have it at my restaurant. We try to do all of our food from scratch. We do not use any canned vegetables. I don’t like canned vegetables, so I don’t serve canned vegetables.”
In addition to keeping a menu composed of quality-focused food, Sharon also ensures that the menu does not limit what a customer can have for lunch or dinner.
“If something is not on the menu or you want something done different, I try to accommodate because they are spending their money and they don’t have to spend it with me,” Sharon said, adding that the same applies to her catering as well. “My basic policy with catering is that if you want something that is not on the menu, I will accommodate any request if I am able.”
These fundamentals of quality and service are the foundations that Loaves and Fishes has relied on for 10 years, according to Sharon, who said that, with the exception of changes mandated by regulatory agencies, Loaves and Fishes runs the same way now that it did in 2002.
Along with an established menu of lunch and dinner fare, Sharon also prepares all of the restaurant’s desserts in-house, a personal touch that has become more and more rare over the years. That same attention to personal service applies to Sharon’s many famous recipes, which she is always happy to share, with one exception.
“I am always glad to share recipes for anything except my pasta salad because it has been a staple of our restaurant,” Sharon said, explaining that she did not believe sharing her recipes hurt her business. “Just because they can make it home does not mean they won’t come back to eat it here.”
Throughout their 10 years in Crossnore, the Arnolds have also been blessed with some exceptionally loyal help, such as Tammie Smith, who has been taking customers’ orders and serving Sharon’s culinary creations for the full 10-year lifespan of the restaurant. With the Arnolds and Smith always on hand and a host of loyal customers, guests at Loaves and Fishes can always count on finding a familiar and friendly face at Crossnore’s premier restaurant and catering service.
Anyone driving through Crossnore on Highway 221 will see the Loaves and Fishes sign on Maple Street, open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information or to line up some of Sharon’s catering for your next big event, call (828) 733-5812.