By Jessica Stringfield-Eden
There has been a lot of buzz around town about “Grassroots & Vine”,a new specialty food market and restaurant in the Midway District. This new business which features small plates created with food from local farmers/small businesses, a bottle shop and two full service bars with an outdoor patio will celebrate it’s Grand Opening on Saturday, July 21stat 10 a.m. with wine tastings, food pairings and live music. So…what is a ‘specialty food market’? Well we sat down with owner Barb Thomas and Chef Joe Hren to learn more about what inspired the idea.
Concept & Location:
For the past 10 years, Barb and Chuck Thomas have been interested in gourmet market items and local offerings. As they settled in Fort Thomas and Barb opened her first business,Fort Thomas Central, their passion for local food was complimented by the concept of establishing a community meeting place. This idea evolved over time with their participation with Art Around Towne.From working with food trucks to partnering with other businesses, their full idea to highlight food and community became one central concept.“Grassroots is an idea of going back to basics and using local producers, farmers, artisans which intertwines with community”, said Thomas,“I’ve grown to love Fort Thomas. I want to contribute more to the community while supporting it and enjoying it with families.”
When a commercial space near the Midway Historic District became available, the stars aligned and their idea of a speciality market where that very same Fort Thomas community could gather, enjoy music, dine and grab a gourmet basket to take home, was suddenly a launched into reality. Barb and her husband Chuck jumped on the opportunity.
“We investigated other areas with higher foot traffic but for the past five years, I’ve had a business in Fort Thomas and I understand what the Fort Thomas community wants and can support,” said Thomas. “Everything just fell into place and this location made sense for our business concept.”
The building, located at 1011 S. Fort Thomas Ave., has literally been designed as a destination for community engagement and interaction. Guests will enjoy a variety of different dining areas from a lounge-y feel at one of their banquette booths paired with cozy, brown leather chairs to traditional bistro tables and high-top bar areas. There is even a functional seating area where guests can enjoy the view, a glass of wine or a cup of locally roasted coffee, while accessing an outlet to recharge their phone or laptop.
The space is visually exciting as well with bright teal accent walls, rustic bar areas and high gloss, wooden table tops and several industrial accents, this space is sophisticated yet cozy and inviting. Local Artist Lucie Rice, who also created the “Grassroots & Vine” logo, has created the artwork featured inside as well. The exterior brick has been repainted a cheery Goldenrod shade of yellow and a brand new side patio is sure to offer a lovely outdoor dining experience. This impressive renovation has also given a nod to the historic details of the space by highlighting the original beams and rafters and using rustic chandeliers.
Food & Community:
That’s just the space…we haven’t even gotten to the food yet! The menu at “Grassroots & Vine”, created by Chef Joe Hren, will feature small bites highlighting locally sourced fresh produce, cheeses, meats and breads. Chef Hren and Thomas connected through her friend who mentioned her Son-in-law was a chef. In these early stages of “Grassroots & Vine”, Hren was living in Florida but despite the distance, it only took two phone calls for him to understand what Thomas’ goal was for “Grassroots & Vine”.
“I had never met Barb but after talking to her twice, I knew her vision. Everything is starting to connect and come together,” said Hren.“We will be working with local farmers, bakers, and cheesemakers to create this communal table experience.”
Don’t worry Parents – that ‘communal table experience’ isn’t limited to adults. There is also a kids menu with an emphasis on locally sourced, fresh food in a family atmosphere….and of course, an awesome dessert menu!
A Specialty Market, Live Music & More:
The “Grassroots & Vine” concept to highlight local offerings also extends beyond the table. On the specialty market side, guests can browse the bottle shop featuring local beer and wine. They will also love their gourmet gift baskets full of local food items. “People are going to be really excited about our gift baskets,” said Thomas,“These baskets are perfect gifts for a housewarming party or even a work event. They’re going to be a big thing for us!”
“Grassroots & Vine” will also offer live music by local musicians and special events throughout the year. You can even rent the space for small, private events (30-50 people for a seated event / 50-75 for a cocktail event).
They are also hosting a hiring event Jun. 27-29 from 10am – 12pmfor counter service, bartenders, kitchen help and servers.
Be sure to like the “Grassroots & Vine” Facebook Pagefor news on their upcoming events and stop by for their Grand Opening at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 21st. You can also visit during their regular business hours below;
Tues / Wed: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Thur/ Fri / Sat: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sun: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Learn more: https://www.grassrootsandvine.com/