Aperitivo slices space at Downtown Market


Aperitivo is co-owned by Kate Leeder, a chef and cheesemonger. Photo via fb.com

Art of the Table has partnered with former employee Kate Leeder, chef and cheesemonger, to open Aperitivo in the indoor Market Hall at the soon-to-opened Downtown Market.

Aperitivo will be a retail cheese shop, a wine and small bites tasting bar and a wine and beer purveyor.

It will span 1,200 square feet in the market with 20 linear feet of cases full of cheese, charcuterie, pate and other similar items.

It also plans to have a 15-person bar with outside seating and will sell everyday wines and small-batch beers and ciders.

“Tasting is a big component of what we do, because we want to introduce cheeses, honeys, nuts, different meats and other stuff to people, and we feel it pairs well with beer and wine,” said Amy Ruis, owner of Art of the Table and co-owner of Aperitivo.

The Downtown Market location will enhance what Art of the Table, at 606 Wealthy St. SE, has already been doing, allowing it to expand its retail cheeses, increase its tasting opportunities and finally give it a designated tasting bar, so that it no longer has to rent out space at area restaurants for tastings.

Ruis said that she hopes businesses will take advantage of the new bar component to host special tasting events.

Though the lease is signed for the space in the market, Aperitivo is still waiting on its much needed liquor license. It’s applying for a Downtown Development Authority redevelopment license rather than a traditional liquor license.

The DDA unanimously recommended the redevelopment liquor license this morning, and the request will now move on to the planning commission and city commission, before reaching the state’s Liquor Control Commission.

The redevelopment liquor license is much cheaper than a regular liquor license, costing $20,000 as opposed to $50,000 to $75,000.

“They are expensive, and that is one of the reasons that the redevelopment licenses exist,” Ruis said.

“The difference between a redevelopment license and a regular license is that with a redevelopment one if I were to leave that space ever, I can’t take the license with me, so the license goes away," she said. "It’s not an asset. If I were to go buy a regular one, then it would be mine to sell the rights to.”

Not getting the license would prompt Ruis and Leeder to switch gears to a backup plan, operating as a retail cheese shop exclusively.

“If we weren’t able to get the license, it would be a huge change to our plan,” Ruis said.

Ruis is confident that the state will grant the license and that Aperitivo will be serving beer and wine as planned.

With the new business venture Ruis said additional part-time staff would be hired for both the market location and Art of the Table.

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