|Wildflowers restaurant in New Hope, PA (Photo: Charlie Sahner)|
By Charlie Sahner
New Hope's Wildflowers restaurant has been sold to Nick Gialias, formerly of the Logan Inn, by owner Bob Madrick, the parties confirmed Thursday. Gialias plans to rename the establishment and convert it into an "upscale, comfortable and casual bar."
Wildflowers has been popular with New Hope visitors for more than three decades because it offered an affordable, eclectic menu and intimate back garden overlooking Ingham Creek and South Main Street. Co-owner Grant Waldman passed away three years ago, and partner Bob Madrick has said that he wants to move on.
Madrick and Waldman purchased the building at 8 W. Mechanic St. during a period of rapid growth in New Hope, and began selling cookies. Waldman also wrote and produced local plays and ran a canine rescue facility in Thailand. The cookie shop evolved into a cafe featuring Thai, Mexican and other cuisine, and ultimately obtained a liquor license.
It's that license that is pivotal to the purchase by Gialias, a member of the family that owns New Hope’s famed Logan Inn. Gialias confirmed in January that he had left that business to strike out on his own. Gialias, 35, is also a Republican member of New Hope Borough Council.
A resident of Riverwoods with a wife and daughter, Gialias has a background in biomedical engineering and is a wine expert, among other talents. And therein lies the apparent astuteness of the business move: while Wildflowers sports both extremely limited property space and structural issues, it will make an excellent wine/beer/spirits bar offering specially "paired" menu items (an approach Gialias honed in his Nikolas restaurant at the Logan Inn).
"We're still working on a new name, but there will always be some element of Wildflowers there," said Gialias. "We're trying to revamp, restore, and renovate, so we want to make clear it's a new phase for this location.
"We hope to bring a new, fresh perspective, energy and drive to do something special there," he added. "It's about actually tasting what you're drinking, tasting what you're eating, tasting how they come together, and making that more accessible, fun, and approachable for everyone."
To that end, Gialias' new wine/beer/spirits bar will feature a food menu in which each item is tailored to a specific beverage, along with interesting sandwiches and salads to help entice the lunchtime crowd.
"I love the artisanal energy of New Hope and West Mechanic Street, so I'm looking to incorporate artisanal quality in cheese, charcuterie, and small plates," he said. "I also have a passion for wine and beer -- we had 22 drafts at the Logan Inn's outside bar -- along with scotch, rye and bourbon."
In terms of pricing, Gialias is direct: "We want people to have access to a real gourmet experience. They're looking for higher quality products without breaking the bank. We want to get them in and out for less than $20."
Added Gialias, "Wildflowers is a quirky old New Hope place, and we're looking to maintain that charm while spinning it around into a clean and modern combination of old and new."
The value of the sale was not disclosed, but Gialias is targeting the first week of June for opening. Needless to say, merchants on the block with knowledge of the deal are highly enthusiastic.