Four months ago, Crestwood Shops’ Cafe Europa announced plans to expand with a new Union Hill restaurant.
The owners are taking a 3,100-square-foot space in the McGee Building at 30th and Gillham Road for a late October or early November opening.
They heard about the space from Underdog Wine Co., a neighboring business in Crestwood. Now Underdog also will expand with a location at 2984 Gillham Road, next to Cafe Europa in the McGee Building.
“I knew (the landlords) were looking for a restaurant for that location and in the middle of the night I woke up and said, ‘Wait a minute, what about Cafe Europa?’ ” said Ryan Sciara, who owns Underdog with his wife, Jenny Sciara, and was a former partner in Cellar Rat Wine Merchants in the Crossroads.
Sciara has been working on a liquor license for the McGee Building since May 2015, and it was approved in late August. He is hoping to open there by early-to-mid November.
Union Hill has more than 1,000 residents and also is home to nearly 40 businesses and two hotels. Both Cafe Europa and Underdog will have access to 150 free parking spaces in the street-level garage in the building, as well as street parking.
“Ryan is such a fantastic neighbor so it was a draw for us knowing he was looking at that spot. I would follow him anywhere,” said Nate Feldmiller, chef and partner in Cafe Europa. “Now we’ll see who gets open first.”
Sciara said: “We have to wait 45 days after we turn in the consents for our liquor license and the retail shelving is going to be custom built. So it will be a race to the finish.”
A 1,400-square-foot retail space is still available on the first floor of the McGee Building.
Ryan Sciara was a founder of Cellar Rat Wine Merchants in the Crossroads Arts District in 2006. He left in mid-2013 and was a stay-at-home dad for seven months to his two young daughters while mulling job offers, including one as a regional manager covering 14 states.
But he was drawn to a space at 319 E. 55th St. in the Crestwood Shops near his home and signed a lease for Underdog Wine Co., which opened in spring 2014. It specializes in wine from “underdog” vineyards, but also carries craft beers and spirits.