"I realized after a lot of soul searching that while I really loved running a restaurant, I love wine even more," Amdur says. "I really wanted to focus on that aspect of the business."
So, when the space next to Jessica Koslow's Sqirl became vacant, Amdur jumped at the chance to take up residence next to his longtime friend.
His new business, called Lou's Wine and Provisions, will not be a wine bar, but rather a small grocer and wine shop. "We'll be selling cheese, charcuterie, specialty ingredients, and some things that Jessica will be producing for the store. And also a tightly curated wine selection, that will be very democratically priced. I don't think there will be much over $25."
Amdur hopes to be open by mid-August. When asked if this new plan was usurping the previously announced plans for Sqirl to expand, Amdur said "this has always been the plan." Sqirl will shut down for a couple of weeks, and any expansion of Koslow's space and seating will happen simultaneously but separately from the opening of Lou's.
Amdur also has another, "top secret" wine shop location in the works, one that -- if everything pans out with permitting -- will be able to hold tastings in the store. Paperwork is being filed with the city next week, and if all goes well he could be open by the end of the year. "If I'm lucky, it will be December or so," he says. But he's also a realist about everything that can go wrong in the permitting process. "If I'm unlucky, it will never happen."
It's unlikely the Virgil Ave. location will ever have tasting capabilities, though Amdur doesn't rule it out completely. "There are a lot of factors," he says. "The bathrooms, and the parking. I just don't really think it's the right neighborhood for valet parking."