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A new bistro opens in Dillsboro

fr coachsBy Katie Reeder • SMN intern

A taste of Greece arrived in Dillsboro last week with the opening of Coach’s.

Named after one of its owners, Jim Hartbarger, a former basketball coach at Western Carolina University, the moniker of the bistro came easily.

“Everybody knows Jim as ‘Coach,’ so it was natural,” general manager Natalie Thomas said. 

Open from 4:30 to 10 p.m., Coach’s includes a full bar and tables accented with Western Carolina purple tablecloths. Soon, the bistro will boast an outdoor patio, complete with pull-down curtains for patio dining in the cold months, Thomas said. 

The bistro’s menu includes bar food like wings and sliders, but diners can also enjoy authentic Greek food. 

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Pictures of people from the community line the walls, and a picture of co-owner Constantine Roumel’s family in Greece has a place on the wall as well.  

The bistro is adjacent to the Jarrett House, and owners hope it will attract a broader group of people in addition to those who love the Jarrett House’s Southern comfort food. 

Roumel said he and the other owners, Jim and Jean Hartbarger, had the idea of a bar along with patio dining from the beginning of the project, as they believed the area needed an upscale bistro. 

But you don’t have to dress up for Coach’s. Roumel said it’s a place for people to come and feel at home while experiencing something new. 

“This area truly needed something a little different than what it has,” he said. “And Coach’s gives you a little European slash New York touch of something.”

Roumel is originally from Crete, Greece, and he said the mountains and small-town feel of Dillsboro remind him of his hometown. 

“It’s really amazing how much everyone wants to assist and help us out — just a good feeling that you get being in Dillsboro,” he said. 

Once they settled on the menu, Roumel told Jim he would bring in the best chef he knew. Jim laughed, asking who that could be. This expert chef came in the form of Roumel’s mother Aikaterini. She came all the way from Greece and has spent the past two months teaching the chefs at Coach’s how to cook authentic Cretan food. 

The lessons seem to have paid off. Romuel said they have received positive feedback from their patrons so far. 

“We already have repeat customers, and we’ve been open less than a week,” he said. 

Coach’s is located at 518 Haywood Road, Dillsboro. For more information, call 828.586.0265 or follow them online at

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