Before Saint’s Pub opened in 2010, Kristen Vails struggled to find a restaurant to open in the 16th Street Plaza District just west of downtown.
Four years later, the district is home to four restaurants, a dessert shop, a wine bar, coffee shop and sports bar. And after David Wanzer bought the former Blair’s Upholstery building at 1732 NW 16, he didn’t even bother putting up a “for lease” sign.
Instead, Wanzer joined up with retail specialist Allison Bailey and chose what operators they thought might make the best next addition to the district.
“The Plaza District has a special mix of tenants already,” Wanzer said. “We wanted to carefully curate and cultivate our tenant mix to add more life into the district.”
The first tenant, Wanzer admits, was determined before he ever bought the building. Oak and Ore, to be operated by Micah Andrews, will add a craft beer restaurant inspired by Andrews’ travels to Chicago. The second tenant, Roxy’s Ice Cream Social, was sought by Wanzer and Bailey after determining it was the one and only candidate they wanted to consider.
Raena Mutz, owner of Roxy’s, is as flattered by the attention as she was when her ice cream truck became an immediate hit with food truck fans when it launched a couple of years ago.
Mutz said Roxy’s will continue to operate its truck, and will add a second truck this summer. And when the shop opens this summer, it will boast an old-fashioned counter where customers will be offered not just Roxy’s mix of fresh made ice cream, but also fountain drinks, shakes and sundaes.
Andrews, meanwhile, has 11 years of experience in the food and beverage industry and began what he calls a love for the craft beer community several years ago. It was during a trip to Chicago that he saw the potential of a craft beer restaurant.
The Plaza District has a special mix of tenants already. We wanted to carefully curate and cultivate our tenant mix to add more life into the district.”