1 year after opening, Gather GVL is adding new tenants and losing others

Posted on 02/22/2021 by Gather GVL

By Lillia Callum-Penso, Greenville News

Much can happen in a year, and especially a year wrought by opening a new business and by a global pandemic. One year after it opened, Greenville’s first outdoor food hall, Gather GVL, continues to adapt and change.

Come spring, the food hall will see the closing of some of its original concepts and the opening of some new ones, said Gather GVL co-owner, Doug Cross, who conceived of and created the food hall with his son and partner, Mack Cross.

Among those concepts that have, or will be, closing their doors, is West End Coffee, Rocky Moo, the ice cream sandwich concept, Sweet Sippin’, the wine bar concept, which will be opening a brick and mortar location in the West End later this year and Prost!, the authentic German food concept.

West End Coffee and Rocky Moo have already moved out, while Sweet Sippin’ and Prost! will move out at the end of March, Cross said.

Prost! owner Harald Schmidt expressed sadness at the closing of his first location and his first restaurant. The native of Germany put all of himself into his concept, he said, and was pleased to gain a following over the past year.

“I’m sad not to have future opportunity to serve the clientele,” Schmidt said.

For now, Schmidt said he is trying to figure out next steps and if and how they might include Prost!

The year has been a long one, Cross said, but he is happy to see Gather continue to be a space for interesting food concepts and for the community to gather safely.

The opening of Gather on Feb. 18, 2020 was a challenge, Cross said. Construction on the food hall had taken over two years, making the opening feel welcome but long overdue.

There were also disputes among some of the tenants and the Crosses about rent commitment and specifics of lease agreements, which led to legal action in August. All four tenants leaving Gather were part of the lawsuit. The case ultimately went court-ordered mediation.

And, there was, and still is, the pandemic, which forced all restaurants in the state to close on-site dining.

New concepts will open in the spring

Cross is keen to focus on some positive news, he said. This includes a number of new concepts at Gather, including that of The Pasta Addict. The homemade pasta concept filled Gather’s incubator space this past year. The space is designed to help people with a good idea test the waters of business at a lower cost. The space is a short-term lease and is a reduced cost with equipment provided.

The Pasta Addict grew a following and will be moving into a long-term home inside the food hall, in the former Rocky Moo space.

“Our hope is that folks will get their feet under them and be able to spread their wings either in a brick and mortar outside of Gather, or if there is a space available, to another space within Gather,” Cross said. “Anthony and Jennifer (Pepe) were a perfect example. The purpose of it is to let them get their feet on the ground.”

Filling the incubator space will be Myami Bites. The concept will be a spinoff of Owners’ Lynda and Tomas Prado’ Charleston-based Spanglish Cocina+Bar. Myami Bites will bring Cuban-American flavors and a menu that among other things include Cubanos, empanadas, and other inspired sandwiches.

Moving into the space where Prost! currently is will be Yolo Pizza Kitchen, a new concept from Amy Rinkoski, owner of Tacozzini. While the menu is still under development, Rinkowski shared that it will likely consist of some standard pizzas, along with some unique ones, creative salads and a few appetizers. Plans call for offering a 10-inch size pizza, along with a 6-inch size for kids. And, Rinkowski also plans to offer standard crust and a cauliflower crust, which has become hugely popular.

“We sold like 15,000 cauliflower crust pizzas last year,” she said with a chuckle.

While Rinkowski had considered opening another location of Tacozzini, she feels at home at Gather, she said.

“I like the energy,” she said.

Going into the Sweet Sippin’ space will be another wine bar concept, Juice Box, the brainchild of Devin Cox, owner of the Greenville Beer Exchange, which sits just across the courtyard at Gather. Cox, who also owns the original GBX brick and mortar shop in downtown Greenville, had been toying with expanding that space and with adding wine.

When Cross approached him about the Gather space coming available, Cox said, it felt like a perfect opportunity to take his wine program further.

Cox is now growing in many directions. He signed a lease to take over some empty offices behind GBX downtown a day before signing the lease for Juice Box. The expansion will add nearly 3,000 square feet to the 1,000 square-foot retail space, allowing Cox to add a bar and a lounge area.

Cox has hired Evan Rutter, former owner of The Tasting Room in Travelers Rest who has deep knowledge of wine, to direct the wine program for both outposts.

Initial plans for Juice Box call for offering a variety of wines at a variety of price points, along with wine flights, mimosas and seasonal sangria. Cox is also toying with a fun resealable pouch that would further the theme of juice box with a Capri-Sun-like packaging as well as bringing in kegged wine.

“We’re going to find wine that anyone can enjoy, anyone can understand, anyone can buy,” Cox said. “We wanted everyone, no matter your wine knowledge to be able to come and enjoy something."

Both the expansion of the downtown GBX location and the opening of Juice Box is slated for April.

Thus far, the West End Coffee space at Gather is not filled, but Cross said he is hoping to find a complementary concept soon.

Gather GVL is located at 126 Augusta St., Greenville. Current hours are 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. Friday – Saturday; 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday. 

Lillia Callum-Penso covers food for the Greenville News. She loves the stories recipes tell and finds inspiration in the people behind them. When she’s not exploring local food, she can be found running, both for pleasure and to keep up with her 5-year-old twins. Reach her at lpenso@greenvillenews.com, or at 864-478-5872, or on Facebook atfacebook.com/lillia.callumpenso.

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