New Lumina Station wine bar
Grand Cru Food & Wine will go in the space formerly occupied by the Dirty Martini.
A new establishment in the Lumina Station shopping plaza near Wrightsville Beach promises to pair an extensive wine list with one of the city’s best-known culinary talents.
Owners Steve West and Bill Conely plan to open Grand Cru Food & Wine this weekend in the busy commercial center at 1900 Eastwood Road. Boasting a 300-bottle wine list with extensive Champagne offerings and a focus on French vintages, Grand Cru also features a 20-bottle, wine-by-the glass system.
The kitchen — completely outfitted in shiny new stainless steel — doesn’t have a commercial ventilation hood, but incoming chef Kirsten Mitchell knows a thing or two about navigating unorthodox culinary environments. She’s operated the Vittles food truck since leaving her post in the neighboring Lumina Station business 1900 Restaurant and Lounge in 2014, and welcomes the challenge — not to mention another comfort.
“One thing I’m really excited about, especially after today, is air conditioning,” Mitchell joked after finishing a shift on the food truck on a day where temperatures hovered neared 100 degrees. “And I love Lumina Station. It’s kind of like home.”
Grand Cru is located in the former home of the Dirty Martini, which West and Conely stripped from head to toe. The two have assembled a pristine space lined with pale brickwork, warm colors, a glass bar top, custom furniture and several other creature comforts including a cozy, wall-mounted gas fireplace. Wine drinkers will sip in style with dozens of cases of highly regarded Riedel glassware just waiting to be unpacked.
As for the food, the kitchen limitations mean Mitchell won’t have a conventional range to cook on, but she’s eager to test her skills under the constraints. Diners can expect meticulously plated crudo, tartare, gazpacho, charcuterie and other cold or raw dishes. She’ll have an oven, so flatbreads, brisket sliders, oysters Rockefeller and other hot items will be available. The food will largely be served in a small plates format conducive to sharing — and, of course, pairing with wine.
West said the bar will have full ABC permits, and he plans to offer a menu of craft cocktails. The 2,000-square-foot space will seat about 60 indoors with room for another 20 on a patio overlooking a pond behind the restaurant. Grand Gru will open at 4 p.m. daily, and West said they’re considering adding lunch hours in the future.