About The Blackbird

The Blackbird’s goal is to delight guests with cooking grounded in the traditions and ingredients of the Carolinas creating an affordable and vibrant menu – Modern Southern with a “nod” to tradition.


The menu features the seasonal best from local farmers, fresh catches from the coast of the Carolinas, incredible local micro-brews, specialty cocktails, and great wines from the Americas. Our menu changes seasonally to reflect the bounty of the area and the chef’s creativity. The Blackbird’s award-winning food, desserts and prompt service will impress you every time.

Come celebrate the foods and brews of the Carolinas!

Our restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Asheville near:

  • Diana Wortham Theater
  • Fine Arts Cinema
  • Many fine Art galleries
  • The Orange Peel
  • Pack Square
  • French Broad Food Co-Op
  • The rest of downtown is only a walk away.

Parking is available on Biltmore Ave, inside the Aloft Hotel parking garage (first hour is free).

The Blackbird Team

Meet the Blackbird Owners:
Jesson & Cristina Gil

How It All Began

We are a local family business. We believe in treating our staff respectfully. We believe in good food. The restaurant business is a choice of pure love.

We share 6 wonderful children ages 4 to 25 and two cute dogs. We love big family dinners and the hustle and bustle of a big family.

After 26 years of restaurant work in Texas we decided to sell our two successful restaurants and move to Asheville. Asheville’s great food scene, down to earth people, and beautiful weather drew us here. For us, we decided “why not live where you love to vacation.”

Making Asheville Our Home

We sat in a window seat close to Biltmore Ave and Cristina—before we ate any food or heard about any specials—said, “We should buy The Blackbird.” The rest is history. We believe it was love at first sight and continue to pour that love into daily operations at the restaurant.

As hands-on owners, we work with local and regional farmers and food producers. This ensures that our food is fresh and a true reflection of Western North Carolina. By working with our community to source our restaurant, we are building relationships and supporting good food at it’s roots—-literally!

Michael Reppert
Executive Chef

Ever since Michael was a young man he was at the stove cooking. He loved all kinds of food, but landing a job in his uncle’s kitchen was the catalyst that drove his passion for culinary arts through the roof.

After graduation from Le Cordon Bleu, Michael worked in some of the most innovative restaurants in Boston, steadily climbing the ladder of the culinary world. He was learning from the best Chef that Boston had to offer, but since the birth of his daughter, and the fact he was raising her on his own, Michael decided to risk leaving Boston and move to Asheville to be closer to his family. Shortly after arriving in Asheville he started working at the Blackbird, Due to his hard work and love for food he quickly achieved the prestigious rank of Executive Chef. At the Blackbird, Michael has found a home where he can create works of art that people from all ages can enjoy.

Watch a video from Chef Michael Reppert

Rama Malinak
Bar Manager

Rama was born in Texas, raised in Iowa, and has lived more than half of his life in Asheville, while spending the last 15 years traveling the world on occasion. He has visited 27 countries and experienced a range of diverse cultures, from enjoying the rich cuisine of Thailand and Peru, to lounging in the sophisticated air of the Stellenbosch and European vineyards. In 2015, he and his wife Sara had their first baby, Rama Jr.

With over a decade of experience in restaurants, his love for crafting cocktails and authentic desire to connect with his guests shines brightly. If you get the chance to meet Rama you are certain to remember him, as his magnetic personality will surely make an impression. After many years spent honing his skills within the service industry, Rama has found a happy home as a manager of The Blackbird.