He is willing to wait until redevelopment is done, he said.

"We had that discussion with the developer already," and with Clarke, he said.

Graul said his grandfather opened the first Graul's in east Baltimore in the 1920s, and in the 1960s had one where the Pinehurst Wine Shoppe in Bellona-Gittings is now.

"We have a history in Baltimore City that goes back years," said Graul, 49, of Ruxton. He said he worked in Graul's stores as far back as middle school.

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Small box

Graul said he envisions Graul's being "a small box" in the Rotunda.

"Our tag line is, 'We'd rather be good than big,'" he said.

Now, Graul is waiting for Hekemian's decision, which is expected by the end of the year, when Hekemian hopes to pull permits for the redevelopment project..

When asked to assess his chances, Graul said, "We've gotten some positive feedback from (Hekemian), but I don't know. I think we're in the running. I'm as anxious as anybody."

Hampden Village Merchants Association President Benn Ray said he doesn't know much about Graul's.

"I think if they're a boutique grocer and they can fit in, that's great," Ray said. "We're excited that there is somebody that wants to move into that space, hopefully sooner than later."

"He's local. He's full-service. He's high-quality," Clarke said of Graul. "It may be a good fit."