Since purchasing Grady's Fine Wines in Rocky River almost three years ago, owner Manny Nieves has transformed the formerly sleepy little carry-out into a bustling neighborhood market. The chef and wine pro — he was the sommelier at the ultra-posh Classics restaurant — stocks every square inch of his west-side shop with the best beer, wine, meat and cheese that he can get his hands on.
His efforts have not gone unnoticed. When local developer Brad Kowit was looking for a quality-minded tenant for an open space in Lakewood, he checked out Grady's — and then offered up the space. If all goes as planned, Nieves will open Bacchanalia Cleveland (14717 Detroit Ave.) this spring in the INA Building, in the space immediately east of World of Beer.
"Bacchanalia will be a lot like Grady's, only bigger and with a lot more variety," Nieves explains.
The roomy 3,100-square-foot space will feature 24 feet of refrigerated meat and cheese cases, shelving and coolers stocked with beer and wine, and a wide-open demo kitchen complete with tasting bar. A focal point of the open kitchen will be the walk-in cooler with floor-to-ceiling, see-through walls, so guests can peer right inside.
In Rocky River, Nieves hosts well-attended wine tastings, happy hours and demos, but the expanded footprint in Lakewood will allow him to offer larger cooking classes, chef events and wine education classes. On other nights, guests can belly up to the bar for meat and cheese boards, or a wine flight paired with small plates.
"I don't want to compete with the restaurants, but instead be a place to go before or after dinner to grab a wine flight and a small plate," he says.
In the coolers, shoppers will find an expanded selection of fine meats, cheeses and prepared foods cooked on site. Hanging behind the counter will be whole prosciuttos, salamis and wheels of cheese. On the counter, a whole leg of jamón ibérico will be hand sliced to order. Creminelli charcuterie and Certified Angus Beef products will be sold at retail.
Nieves will more than double his wine selection at the new spot, while still scouring the globe for the best finds. "It's not the label or the price that matters, but what's in the bottle," he offers. "I look for great alternatives to popular brands. These are the wines that people should be drinking."
Bacchanalia will stock an extensive selection of craft beers, including entire product lines from breweries like Delirium, Rogue, Dogfish Head and Breckenridge.
Fear not, River residents, Grady's is going nowhere, says Nieves.
"We just had our best week of the year last week," he says.