Winston Blick of Clementine restaurant introduced Green Onion, his greengrocer market, or "bodega" as he calls it, this afternoon after a two-year wait while the building was being restored. And this evening, he will be opening Clementine at the Creative Alliance, a smaller version of his Hamilton restaurant.
"It's very daunting," said Winston, pictured at Green Onion, who owns the restaurants and market with his wife Cristin Dadant. They opened the original Clementine four years ago, eventually expanding the space to accommodate the crowds.
Now, Winston will be concentrating more on the business side of these ventures. To accomplish that, he put Jill Snyder, recently of Woodberry Kitchen and a former Top Chef contestant, in the kitchen at Clementine, and Jeremy Price, Clementine's sous chef, at the helm of the Creative Alliance restaurant, a cozy 49 seater in Highlandtown.
Winston describes the food at the new restaurant as "a little more fancy and smaller plates" than what's offered in Hamilton. But diners can expect the same quality of food. His former sous chef knows his "food philosophy," Winston said.
At the market, Winston brought on longtime friend and restaurant buddy Bill DeBloom as the manager. James Wilson, who formerly worked at Ceriello in Belvedere Square, is the resident butcher.
Today, the men were stocking shelves and produce bins, filling the meat and cheese cases, and prepping for customers. The market has a rustic, old-fashioned feel with its weathered wood and tile floor, but is filled with modern-day goods, many of them local.
Here are a few: Prigel's ice cream and milk, Andy's eggs, Zeke's coffee (a special Green Onion blend), Hamilton Bakery bread, Rumbleway Farm chickens, Cedar Hill cheeses, and much more.
There are also products from other areas of the country, like corn from Florida and hot-house tomatoes from Pennsylvania. "But they're fantastic," Winston said.
As the store gets established, Winston also plans to offer prepared foods. And his chef Jill will be holding cooking classes there.
"We're going to be making a lot of our own inventory," Winston said. "We'll be making our own salsa and Green Goddess dressing."
The future sounds bright for Green Onion—and its shoppers.
Photos by me