Berkeley restaurants

Rumor of the Sierra Nevada dining hall closing? Weird power outages?

Today’s batch of burning questions, my smart answers, and the real deal:

Question: I heard that Sierra Nevada was about to close or drastically downsize their restaurant/restaurant and focus solely on brewing beer. It seems like that’s not big enough for their bottom line, compared to the challenges of running a food and beverage business in 2022. Is that true? Maybe you’ll find out why one of your favorite spots seems to be throwing in the bar towel. I also heard they closed their bar in Berkeley, CA. Is it correct?

My answer: Well, pretty much all I have left in this cruel new world is to get COVID and monkey pox simultaneously, then be stuck on I-26 for 10 hours trying to get to Trader Joe’s, only to find that they no longer carry frozen Indian meals. Then, when I head to Burial Beer for consolation, I’ll probably find a sign on the door saying, “Sorry, we finally died.”

True answer: Dude (or Dudette), don’t mess with my Sierra Nevada Taproom! Sorry I lost all objectivity here as it is a must visit place for family and friends.

And luckily, it looks like the above query falls into the “rumor mill” category. Kara Murray, who handles public relations for Sierra Nevada, provided an emailed statement from the brewery, which was founded in Chico, Calif., and opened its Mills River beer palace in 2015.

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“We have no plans to close or reduce operations at the Sierra Nevada Taproom,” the brewery said. “Due to staff shortages, we have been forced to temporarily change our opening hours and limit some of our offerings, and we apologize to our guests for this inconvenience. We are actively recruiting to try to remedy this situation as soon as possible. quick.”

The Sierra Nevada at Mills River opened in 2015 and features a large bar and restaurant, as well as an outdoor patio and amphitheater.  Like many food and beverage companies, it has struggled to find enough workers in 2022.

The Sierra Nevada is certainly not alone in finding enough workers. As the Citizen Times previously reported, the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area (Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Haywood counties) had 11,836 job openings advertised online and 9,069 potential candidates as of June 16, according to the national employment agency NCWorks.

But Nathan Ramsey, director of the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, said there were actually more job openings and fewer unemployed than those numbers show, because many employers don’t advertise jobs on NCWorks.

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“We probably have between two and four job offers per unemployed person,” Ramsey told the Citizen Times in June. “Clearly there is more demand for talent/workers than people looking for jobs.”

For April, Asheville had the lowest unemployment rate in North Carolina, at 2.8%, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sierra Nevada has an extensive brewing operation at its Mills River Brewery and Dining Hall.

If you are interested in employment with Sierra Nevada, you can visit for a list of open positions.

As for the Berkeley, Calif. operation, that rumor of closure is true.

“We recently made the very difficult decision to permanently close our Torpedo Room tasting bar in Berkeley, California,” Sierra Nevada said in its statement. “The effects of the pandemic – staffing shortages, closures and diminished foot traffic – ultimately made this place unsustainable. We remain grateful to the wonderful community of Berkeley that we have been privileged to serve for nearly 10 years.”

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By the way, I’ve been to the Sierra Nevada in Mills River twice in the last month or so, and both times the crowds were quite large, but not as crazy as pre-pandemic levels. It’s still encouraging.

In this file photo, a tree crew clears and grinds down branches along Fanning Bridge Road in Fletcher.  Duke Energy says it is proactive in trimming trees that pose a threat to power lines.  Falling limbs can cause blackouts, some of which are very brief.

Question: How come my electricity keeps flickering in the West Asheville/Malvern Hills area on sunny days with no thunderstorms in sight? Random times, and while I can’t say exactly how many times since I moved here in October, that’s enough times to feel ‘normal’ when it comes in and out. Usually just long enough to kick me off the internet and mess up my workflow, or kick me out of a virtual meeting.

My answer: Generally speaking, I consider each time I get kicked out of a virtual meeting one of life’s little blessings.

True answer: Duke Energy spokesman Keith Richardson verified this one.

“What happened is quite common when an object (usually a tree branch) touches the lines, or a branch falls through causing a power interruption caused by a circuit breaker cycling very briefly,” said said Richardson via email. “This cycle is a self-healing process to fix the problem and automatically restore power without prolonged interruption.”

Richardson also noted that’s why trimming trees in and around power lines, which can be unpopular with local residents, is so important, as it helps reduce these occurrences. Tree pruning is planned in this area, he noted.

This is the opinion of John Boyle. To submit a question, contact him at 232-5847 or [email protected]