Veritas Cork & Craft wine bar opens DowntownWritten by Nate Pentecost | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A number of new bars and restaurants have emerged in Toledo’s Downtown in recent years, but the area’s first wine bar splashed onto the scene this week.
Veritas Cork & Craft opened its doors to the public for the first time Aug. 11. The privately funded establishment is located in the first floor of the Commodore Perry Apartments on Jefferson Avenue. The watering hole’s grand opening is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 21.
“We want to have some time to get all our ducks in a row before we make things too public,” developer Franz Gilis said. “We’re trying to bring to Toledo something it didn’t have before. It’s a unique opportunity.”
Gilis is a longtime fixture in the area’s restaurant scene, having spent time as regional manager for Marco’s Pizza and vice president of Zoup! in Maumee. To open the shop, he partnered with Nick Kubiak, a 13-year veteran of the wine industry with a background in retail, wholesale and importing. Acquaintances since childhood, the pair are both 1997 graduates of St. Francis de Sales High School.
“With his restaurant and management experience and my time in the wine industry it seemed like a perfect fit,” Kubiak said.
Veritas has a room for about 80 customers in a 2,300-square-foot space. It features soft seating, tables, a granite bar and repurposed woodwork. The space is intended to have a contemporary but classic appeal.
The 19-story building in which the wine bar resides opened in 1927 as the Commodore Perry Hotel, one of Downtown Toledo’s premier locations that included small shops lining the street level. The building is between Fifth Third Field and the Huntington Center, and just down the street from the SeaGate Convention Centre. It also has a connected parking garage.
Renovated and turned into apartments in 1999, a number of bars and restaurants have come and gone since then, making the wine bar the only business in the first floor storefront of the Commodore Perry. The significance of the building and the opportunity for its revival are not lost on Gilis.
“The Commodore Perry has a lot of history,” Gilis said. “In Toledo this was the place to be seen in ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s, all the way up to the ’70s and early ’80s. I mean, my parents had their honeymoon here. It’s a great place.”
Now within the confines of the storefront are food and wine that have been carefully selected to acknowledge what various regions of the world have to offer, Kubiak said. The wine bar includes a kitchen serving small plates and appetizer-style dishes, with artisan and locally made products such as cheese, olive oil, vinegar and bread.
“There’s nothing like this concept currently in Toledo that I know of,” Kubiak said. “There are other wine bars in the area, but none that offer wines and drinks like we have.”
In addition to its bar and lounge, Veritas also features a full-service retail store with 400 wines and over 150 craft beers available for purchase.
“To me the retail store is something Downtown really needed,” Gilis said. “There’s 3,000 people that live down here and nowhere to go to buy a bottle of wine or six pack of beer if you want anything besides Bud Light or Coors Light.”
The name was inspired by the Latin phrase “In vino veritas,” meaning “There is truth in wine,” Kubiak said.
Both partners believe that while the venue has an upscale atmosphere, the environment is such that it allows for a more casual experience as well.
“If you’re in jeans and a T-shirt before or after a game or you’re in a three-piece suit after leaving work you can come in here and feel comfortable in the surroundings,” Gilis said.
Since Veritas’ opening, Kubiak said he and the staff have encountered overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers as the establishment finds its bearings. Early success has given him confidence heading into the store’s grand opening.
“There’s something for everyone,” he said. “If you want to have something you know and are comfortable with we have it and if you want to try something new, you can do that here.”
Veritas is open Monday through Saturday with the retail area opening at 11 a.m. and the lounge seating at 4 p.m.