Right now Veritas Cork & Craft, located at 505 Jefferson in downtown Toledo, is clearly a work in progress. Wires dangle from the ceiling, a work light illuminates the dusty floor and a step ladder sits by a pile of planks that will soon form a bar top. But very soon this space on the ground floor of the historic Commodore Perry Building will be the hottest destination for Toledo wine lovers.
“We’re targeting an opening in early July,” said Nick Kubiak, who is partnering with Franz Gilis on the venture. “Our vision for Veritas is a space where people feel welcomed and comfortable in a very convivial atmosphere.”
Veritas will offer great wines, craft beers and classic cocktails. They will also offer classes for beer, wine and mixology. There will be experienced staff to help patrons navigate the selections.
The establishment will seat about 65 people between the bar, soft seating and tables. It will be laptop and tablet friendly and offer free Wi-Fi.
Nick points out that unfortunate circumstances hitting all at once have caused some area wine shops and wine bars to close. He says the time is right for a new attraction for Toledo wine lovers. “The wine scene here is like the Gobi desert,” he said. “There is not a lack of demand and not a lack of knowledge, so for the area to be so underserved is surprising.”
Veritas will feature areas for wine and beer retail, cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a brasserie eating area for smaller food dishes like tapas, cheese plates and charcuterie. When possible, the foods will be sourced locally.
Inside the palette is a warm gold lit up by large windows looking out to downtown Toledo. There is an industrial vibe thanks to steel girders that not only hold up the building, but add a degree of coolness. Wood for the bar will have history ingrained as it was milled in upstate New York for a bar in 1868.
Nick is a seasoned wine professional well known in the Toledo area. “My philosophy of wine has evolved in three distinct stages of my life,” he said. “My first experience with wine was in the classroom, so when I taste wines, I think about it in a formal sense. I believe that wine should always be correct to where it comes from and what grape varietal(s) it’s made from.
“My second most influential experience was in Europe where I learned that wine should be enjoyed as a part of life and a compliment to meals and good times with friends. I also learned that wines have a personality and can sometimes tell a story decades old. I believe these stories should not only be shared but also inspire new stories to be told by those who drink that wine.
“Lastly, as a seasoned wine veteran, who has sold wine for 13 years, I believe that wines should be accessible to everyone who wants to try it. There are so many wines in the world it can be intimidating. But I would like to show people that wine doesn’t have to be that way. There are great wines available at every price point and in every category. The important thing is to try them.”
Don’t, however, ask him his favorite wine. He never picks them and doesn’t like to favor a particular region, producer or grape. He rarely buys the same bottle twice and wants to keep experiencing all that he is able.
Anticipated hours of operation are Monday through Wednesday 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM and 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM Friday and Saturday. There will be more than 400 choices of wines from around the world including all major growing appellations and grape varieties. Downtown Toledo has free street parking from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and after 5:00 PM and on weekends. Also there is a parking lot and garage attached to the Commodore Perry Building that is open to the public.
There will be two styles of wine events. First, a weekly “flight night” potentially on Wednesday, where there will be a group tasting. The focus will be on the community and will be a great opportunity to interact and meet people. Veritas will also offer seminars on wine, mixology and beer. Nick envisions a 60 to 90 minute class on Saturday in the afternoon. It will be more note oriented and delve into the vinification of the wine and why it tastes the way it does. He hopes to Skype in winemakers.
Veritas is also is applying to become a chapter house for the US Bartender Guild. This will be an opportunity for professional education and networking for area bartenders.
Right now there is equipment to install, floors to polish and a myriad of to do items before Veritas Cork & Craft swings open its doors. Toledo area wine lovers can’t wait until the first bottle is uncorked!