Downtown Goldsboro will have the opportunity to tour the world through wine in September with the grand opening of Barrique -- a new wine bar and boutique steakhouse.
After more than a year and a half of renovations, Eli Wuest, owner and wine specialist, is looking forward to finally presenting the new establishment to the public.
Since November 2016, the Ohio native has been carefully planning out and detailing what he could offer Goldsboro with his cousin, Chris Mohr, who owns Blue Yonder Properties LLCs.
Barrique's building and the adjacent Goldsboro Brew Works are just a few of the renovation projects the real estate agency has purchased and worked on over the years.
After some convincing, Wuest and Mohr began discussing plans to open a wine retail shop, then a wine bar with two floors and then a cocktail lounge before landing on a blend of the three.
"The project just got bigger and bigger and bigger, and it was just like, well, how about we get this building with two floors? Why don't we have a great cocktail bar?" Wuest said, laughing.
Wuest's goal has always been to have his own place, whether it be a restaurant or wine retail shop or bar.
After attending the American Sommelier Association in New York City in 2004, the then 25-year-old wine steward went on to work in restaurants in Chicago, Miami and San Francisco for the next several years. He even had the chance to work under Michael Mina, who is an American celebrity chef, in his Miami restaurant Fontainebleu.
The 40-year-old has his sights set on helping revitalize downtown Goldsboro and bring in new business opportunities.
"That's just my goal. I really believe in downtown Goldsboro, and I really think that we can help elevate it a little bit and hopefully set the bar for businesses to come down here," Wuest said.
"I really want to see the community grow. I believe this downtown is growing, I believe Goldsboro has been growing recently, and I'm pretty excited about it, and I just want to be a part of the solution."
Wuest also hopes to have a variety of fresh local food, including produce, dairy, bread, meats such as pork and chicken, ice cream and sorbet and seafood. He believes that it is important to offer food from local farms because it contributes to the growing community.
"It's not going to be a huge menu, but everything that we serve is going to be top quality and amazing. I'd rather do it small and right and in the right way than have a menu that's three pages of stuff that you're not executing properly," Wuest said.
"... I want to see the community flourish and grow. What's better for the community is better for me."
Barrique is set to open in early September, with a downstairs dining area with a wine bar and an upstairs cocktail bar.
Wine, coffee and appetizers of cheese and charcuterie boards -- dried, cured meats such as prosciutto and salami -- will be served starting at noon in the downstairs dining area.
Wine flights -- samples of three different wines of the same family -- will be offered starting at $12 throughout the day. Every week there will be a new theme for the flights, which will likely feature three types of wine from Italy, France, Spain and other countries.
Entrees will be served starting at 5 p.m. in the dining room, with prices ranging from $18 to $45.
The upper level, which is a whisky and cocktail lounge, will open at 4 p.m. Wuest also hopes to feature live Jazz music Wednesday through Saturday in the lounge area, and is considering bringing in other types of music and bands to the venue.
"My goal is just to provide that [atmosphere] for people. I don't want people to feel like they have to go to Raleigh to go have a nice dinner, to go have a nice bottle of wine," Wuest said. "I want to bring that to people's back yards, and I'm pretty sure we're going to fulfill that."