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Grand Cru owners plan to sell Belvedere Square wine bar to former employee

Restaurateurs Spike Gjerde and Corey Polyoka plan to sell Grand Cru, a wine bar and wine shop in Belvedere Square, to a former employee, Polyoka confirmed Thursday morning.

The sale between Gjerde and Polyoka’s Foodshed restaurant group and Jayce Flickinger won’t be finalized until the title transfer has been approved by the Baltimore liquor board. A hearing is scheduled for today.

Flickinger, a former employee at Grand Cru, approached Foodshed about the sale, according to Polyoka. They declined to comment on the sale price.

Flickinger also worked at Foodshed properties Shoo-fly Diner as a bartender in 2013 and as the beer manager and general manager at Parts & Labor until he left the company at the end of 2015. Flickinger could not be immediately reached for comment.

“He was great. He was amazing. He cared. He had compassion for what he was in to,” Polyoka said, adding that two have been friends for a number of years. “He helped put together the beer program. He was really good with organizing and managing the team.”

Since Foodshed, which is known for its farm-to-table approach, took over Grand Cru in 2014, the company has enacted a number of changes to the space. (The previous owner, Nelson Carey, died of heart failure, in July 2014.)

“We put a new bar in. We refinished the bathroom. We changed around a lot of retail space in the back to make it easily accessible,” Polyoka said, adding that the changes also included moving the bar experience to the front of the space. “It made it easier to shop.”

Polyoka said Foodshed enjoyed being a part of Belvedere Square.

“It was our first time being part of a market concept. But we are changing our corporate goals,” he said.

Foodshed plans to focus it’s attention on a new concept in The Line Hotel in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington.

The new concept, which is named A Rake’s Progress, will be a restaurant, bar and coffee shop and will open in December,Polyoka said. The hotel will also house a restaurant by D.C. chef Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground and Maketto fame.

“That is going to be a big step for our company,” Polyoka said. “We’ll be able to bring our Maryland growers to D.C. and allows us to bring our products to D.C. and work with new farms in Virginia.”

The planned sale is the latest change for Foodshed. The company’s butcher-centric Remington restaurant Parts & Labor is relaunching this week as a less-expensive, casual concept focusing on soups, sandwiches and snacks.

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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