Written by Bill Kopp | Photos by Evan Anderson
Eric Scheffer’s Winding Path to the Top of Asheville’s Food Chain
At first glance, developing skills in prestidigitation, making music videos, and running an advertising agency might not register as useful steps on a path toward becoming a successful restaurateur—but the life and career of Eric Scheffer provide strong evidence that they are. Perhaps best known as the owner of popular Asheville restaurant Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian, at age 61, this energetic entrepreneur seems like he’s just getting started.
Scheffer was born in 1960 in Brooklyn, New York, and raised on the North Shore of Long Island. His father was a well-known advertising executive, “one of the guys they modeled Mad Men around,” he says. Inspired to move even farther into the creative side of things, the elder Scheffer launched a production company, Jenkins/Covington, an industry leader for more than two decades. “That’s what I grew up in,” Scheffer says. “I was a child actor, in TV commercials and such.”
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