The owner of Pinehurst Wine Shoppe says he plans to build an addition on his property and add a restaurant to the store, which is located at the corner of Bellona and Gittings avenues.
“It’s going to be a very fine restaurant for the neighborhood — something along the lines of Johnny’s or Petit Louis,” said owner Bob Schindler, referring to two Roland Park restaurants. “It won’t be shabby, it will be very nice. But a family place.”
He said the area was recently rezoned, which now makes the restaurant possible. He still needs to apply to the city for a liquor license.
But not everyone in the area is on board with the plan.
Patrick Rossello, president of the Bellona-Gittings Community Association, said he personally is remaining neutral for now. But he’s heard from upset residents who are worried about the additional cars parking on the street, the potential for attracting rats, and concerns about noise.
“There are a lot of people who are strongly against it, and a bunch of people strongly in favor of it,” he said.
Schindler said the shop, which already sells some food items, has never had a problem with rats, and he “wouldn’t put up with rats — I don’t want that, either.”
He said he’ll work to come to an agreement with the community — and is even willing to sign a binding agreement — about hours of operation and other issues. For instance, right now patio seating is planned for the front of the restaurant. But, Schindler said, if there is strong opposition, he’ll scrap the patio idea
He plans a 75-seat restaurant with another 25 or so seats in a mezzanine overlooking the restaurant. There will also be a small bar area with about 10 seats. The store will remain as is.
Charlesmead Pharmacy next door will not be affected.
The entire menu hasn’t been worked out yet, he said, but he’s planning on having hamburgers made with Roseda beef; “the best crab cakes you’ve ever tasted;” and “my wife’s spaghetti and meatballs, which are delicious.”
He said he has investors lined up already, including someone who has a financial interest in the Foreman & Wolf restaurant company. He is also urging supporters of the restaurant to add their names to a sign-up sheet at the wine shop.
There will be a community-input meeting at 7PM on Nov. 13 at the Church of the Redeemer where residents can share their opinions and ask questions. Councilman Bill Henry is expected to attend. Schindler said he’ll have representatives there, but he already had plans to be out of state that day.