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Eat and Drink: Kurt Gutenbrunner Opens Wine Bar

The popular Austrian toque is adding to his empire with a small-plates and wine bar called The Upholstery Store.

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BrUno isn’t the only Austrian with a notable new project out this week. Kurt Gutenbrunner, the toque behind haute Bavarian eateries Wallsé, Blaue Gans and Café Sabarsky, is adding to his gastronomic empire with a cozy neighborhood wine bar slated to open Wednesday.

Called The Upholstery Store, the space is located next door to Wallsé and owes its curious name to the decades-old sign that still remains from the space’s former incarnation as, yes, an upholstery store.

This story first appeared in the July 14, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

But vino — not textiles — is the house specialty and Upholstery will serve an extensive selection of German and Austrian wines curated by Wallsé beverage director Leo Schneeman. Like Gutenbrunner’s other spots, there will also be authentic Austrian eats, this time in the form of a small plates menu that will change frequently. “I want to treat it like a cool little bar,” explains Gutenbrunner. “I already have a restaurant next door.”

Other “cool” touches include walls decorated with black-and-white photos from Gutenbrunner’s longtime friend Clifford Ross as well as the option for regular customers to open house accounts.

And Gutenbrunner isn’t worried the establishment’s misleading title will be bad for business. “Once people see the bottles in the window they’ll understand,” he reasons. “And they will change their mind from fabric to wine.”

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