Friday, July 19th, 2013
A local catering company with plans for a restaurant and specialty food store have taken over the former Fresh! by Lisa Hemenway in Skyhawk Village.
Sound familiar? It is, and it isn’t, according to Grapevine Catering co-owner Amy Ludwick, who moved her 11-year-old company into the space this week. The cavernous 7,800 square-foot property has been subdivided into several smaller spaces, including a 3,500 square-foot catering kitchen for her growing catering biz, a commissary kitchen which will be rented out to start up food purveyors, a casual restaurant space and retail store.
“Think Oakville Grocery or Dean and Deluca,” said Ludwick.
Ludwick and husband, Christopher (who is the operation’s executive chef), relocated their business from West County due to space constrains and increasing demand from wedding and winery clients. “We’ve been growing 15 to 20 percent each year,” said Amy, noting that the existing business will help fund the new ventures.
The forthcoming restaurant, Earth’s Bounty Kitchen and Winebar is slated to open this fall-the first of their public ventures. “It’s a farm-to-table concept,” she said, focused on wood-fired dishes utilizing the existing oven and family-friendly fare. The retail store, anticipated for later in the fall, will focus on the couple’s line of Earth’s Bounty jams, sauces and nuts, along with small-batch artisan foods and other products inspired by Wine Country.
Offering commercial kitchen space for fledgling producers, however, remains close to the couple’s heart. “In the North Bay, it’s hard to find a good commissary ktichen that isn’t packed to the gills with other people,” said Ludwick. “We want to give back,” she said. Their first tenant will be Alexis Clark of True Love Cheesecakes, with plans for several more specialty producers to sign onto their lease. “We are definitely looking for small batch producers that are just getting started and need a shared kitchen to launch their new concept,” she said.