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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

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Mangione’s Monday Munchies: BattleCat Coffee Bar


Located on Haywood Road, BattleCat Coffee Bar is roughly four miles away and a seven minute drive from the University of North Carolina at Asheville campus. It is also where I found myself enjoying the vibrant scenery of West Asheville and BattleCats delicious coffee. 

Founded in 2008, BattleCat is owned by Amber Arthur, cofounder of PennyCup coffee. Arthur was also co-founder of Izzy’s coffee house on Haywood Rd. 

“Amber, along with the owners of Izzy’s in downtown, they founded Izzy’s together and the original location was in this building. So whenever both of them wanted to split and have their own brand , Amber took BattleCat and made that her own and Izzy’s moved downtown to where it is now,” said Hayley Lusk, a barista at BattleCat as well as the soon to be general manager of BattleCats new and upcoming location, BattleCat East. 

Lusk has been working as a barista for BattleCat since 2021 but has been a regular for over a decade, first visiting the cafe back in 2010. And as a long time regular herself, Lusk says the vibe of BattleCat is what kept herself, as well as regulars and tourists, from choosing BattleCat over the plethora of other cafes here in Asheville. 

“I know this is gonna sound really cliche, but I think we offer a very unpretentious vibe. Everyone who comes here just feels like they don’t have to act or perform or look a certain way because I feel like our staff reflects that like we’re all one, a really good crew. We all really get along we love each other and then we project that onto our customers. It’s just a good vibe here,” said Lusk. 

BattleCat also operates with TigerBay cafe, another business operated within the building of BattleCat that provides baked goods, breakfast and lunch. 

“Tiger Bay is a business that opened up a few years after bc established itself as BattleCat. Amber wanted to offer that to specifically a Black owner so it could be a Black owned business and so the kitchen was all set up back there and she was just like ‘hey this is all outfitted, I just want a strong business owner, business minded person to come in and take over’. So we’ve been sharing the building with them ever since and they have their own thing,we have our own thing but we’re mutually beneficial to each other.  They do breakfast and lunch all day, they’re so good. vegan and gluten free options too,” said Lusk. 

BattleCat’s hours of operation are every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 


Drink quality: Hayley made me an iced pistachio rose cardamom latte with whole milk and it was the most interesting drink I have had so far in this series! The flavor of the pistachio added a bit of sweetness, nuttiness and a touch of earthiness. The rose gave the drink very nice floral notes and the cardamom provided a nice warmth and slight spice. Paired along with the espresso, the flavors blended well together. The floral notes were front and center of the drink but definitely didn’t overpower the rest of the flavors.

Pricing: Both food and drink are affordable at BattleCat and won’t hurt your wallet. The most expensive drink menu item is their largest sized latte (20 ounces) at $5.59. Breakfast and lunch food items from Tiger Bay range from $7-13. With the quality of both the food and beverages, the pricing is reasonable and well worth it. 

Service: Service was outstanding. Hayley was my barista as well but the other baristas at the bar were very friendly and welcoming. When I asked for Hayley to surprise me with a drink creation of her very own, she was very willing to do so and made something on the spot for me which I appreciated greatly. 

Atmosphere: BattleCats atmosphere can best be described as unique, cozy and vibrant. There’s plenty of seating as well as art on decor on the walls to look at and it’s clear Arthur put a lot of effort and thought into the design choices made into the cafe. However, for myself personally, I feel that because the atmosphere of BattleCat is so vibrant, it benefits more as a hang out spot rather than a study spot. 


Final thoughts: Just as Hayley said, the vibes of BattleCat are truly unpretentious. Just being there was a refreshing experience and felt so lively. The only true downsides is it is a bit further from campus (but not too far) and there really isn’t a designated parking area that I was able to find. Other than that, my experience at BattleCat was great.


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