Friday, June 22, 2018

Grape and Grain returns under new ownership on 6th Street

[Photos from the soft opening this past Sunday by Brian Boulos]

A familiar operator is behind the Grape and Grain reboot on Sixth Street between Avenue B and Avenue C.

The wine bar quietly closed last fall after 12 years in the space. That's when TJ Provenzano, a general manager and partner of the Mayanoki Sustainable Sushi counter next door, stepped in.

I asked Provenzano a few questions about the relaunch ahead of tonight's official reopening.

On getting involved with the original Grape and Grain space at 620 E. Sixth St.:

To be honest, the reason we got involved at G&G because we really love the location, and the bones of the space. We've been operating Mayanoki, and the opportunity came up to take over Grape and Grain and we had to jump on it. It's such a great block here between B and C. It feels a little off the beaten path, and yet still has a great neighborhood feel to it.

Grape and Grain really just needed a good clean, and some love. We love the community garden next door, and I've had the opportunity to get to know the neighbors over the last year at Mayanoki. I've heard time and time again how much "we love the G&G space so much but I just really wish the food and wine was better." So it seemed like a unique opportunity to hopefully provide the neighbors with exactly what they were asking for.

On keeping the name the same:

We decided to keep the name Grape and Grain for a few reasons. The most important of which is the fact that G&G has been here for over a decade, and I felt had really become part of the neighborhood. I remember one of our guests at Mayanoki told me that she and her husband met at G&G, got engaged at G&G and had drinks after their wedding here as well.

That was the moment where I really started to realize that this place has history, and that I’d love to pay homage to that, while kind of re-alligning it with my own unique background and experience. I grew up in Westchester, and when I was young I would come hang out in the city — the East Village was the only place I wanted to be. Catching an all-ages show at Coney Island High on St. Mark's will always be some of my greatest memories.

I'm humbled and excited to be back 20 years later and to have the opportunity to continue a warm, inviting space that has become part of the neighborhood itself. We are looking to continue the G&G tradition of providing a neighborhood place for locals to grab a bite and a glass of wine, and really for it to feel like an extension of their own living room.

[Sonomi Kobayashi, who created the artwork]

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