Grape and The Grain featured in "Let's Get Down to Business: An Entrepreneurs Journey" Podcast
In the heart of the vibrant Mills 50 District in Orlando, a hidden gem awaits - Grape and The Grain. This backyard winery is unlike any other, offering an exquisite blend of wine, music, art, and community. Join us on a journey through the story of how this unique concept was born.
Meet the Visionaries
Grape and The Grain's success story begins with the dynamic trio of Christian, Alexie, and Maritza. These three entrepreneurs, brought together by their enduring friendship and family ties, embarked on a journey that would transform the local wine scene.
Christian's roots in the bar industry, managing well-known establishments such as Latin Quarter at CityWalk, provided the foundational expertise required for this venture. On the other hand, Alexie's extensive experience in commercial real estate and business development gave the team an edge in scouting for the perfect location. Maritza brought her operational acumen to the table, ensuring the smooth running of the establishment.
A Surprising Union
While their partnership may not have been initially planned, it was a natural progression given their individual strengths and shared passion for creating a unique wine bar. They leveraged the expertise in their respective domains to create a concept that is now central to Orlando's social scene.
Orlando's Hidden Oasis
Grape and The Grain's journey began when Alexie stumbled upon a historic yet neglected building in the Mills 50 District. Previously known as Shack Angel's Antiques, the building had been vacant for seven years, its interior left in shambles.
At first glance, the property was condemned, with broken windows and a deteriorating structure. The challenges were undeniable, but Alexie saw past the decay and envisioned a wine bar like no other.
A Visionary's Blueprint
Turning this dilapidated space into a thriving backyard winery required creativity, determination, and a solid plan. The first step was to convince the landlord, who was initially skeptical about the property's potential. However, Alexie's tenacity prevailed as she negotiated the rehabilitation of the historic building.
In the commercial real estate world, "vanilla box" refers to the stage where the interior has been stripped to bare essentials—unfinished, uninviting. The building at Grape and The Grain, an early 1920s house with a rich history, needed to adhere to historic preservation guidelines. Despite this, Alexie's vision for the space remained intact.
Overcoming Regulatory Hurdles
One of the most significant hurdles the team faced was the property's zoning. Situated within a thousand feet of a school, it wasn't initially zoned for food and beverage use. Thus, the team had to navigate a two-year-long rezoning process and acquire the necessary permits.
Through these challenges, Christian, Alexie, and Maritza persevered, staying true to their vision. Their commitment to transforming this once-dilapidated building into a thriving wine bar never wavered.
The Unique Concept
Grape and The Grain was conceived as an answer to the trio's shared love for outdoor venues with great wine, live music, and local art. A European or South American courtyard atmosphere, with the freedom to enjoy fresh air and vibrant community, served as their inspiration.
Their aim was to create an outdoor wine bar that incorporated wine, live music, food trucks, and art installations. They wanted to offer an atmosphere where patrons could enjoy the unique charm of Orlando's Mills 50 District, often compared to emerging neighborhoods in Europe and South America.
The Success of Grape and The Grain
Grape and The Grain's story is one of vision, perseverance, and collaboration. It reflects the spirit of innovation and creativity that defines the Mills 50 District and the broader Orlando community. As the wine bar continues to flourish, it remains a testament to the power of a shared dream and the potential for transformation in unexpected places.
So, next time you're in Orlando, make sure to visit Grape and The Grain. Experience for yourself the harmonious blend of wine, art, music, and community that defines this unique backyard winery. It's not just a wine bar; it's a destination where good times and great experiences are crafted for all who enter.
In Orlando's Mills 50 District, Grape and The Grain stands as a testament to what can be achieved when passionate visionaries breathe life into forgotten spaces.