Besides a newborn baby, nothing expresses faith in the future like a garden. That’s why the plantings and progress at Grandiflora Wine Garden, a nascent three-room inn and wine bar in Norfolk’s Chelsea, delivered a pop of optimism during our cloistered spring.
Owners Erin and Jason Edelman and Kenny Gerry had been frantically building out the kitchen and ensuring everything was up to code for a May opening when coronavirus waylaid those plans. But time rewards gardeners. They’ve sown squash, tomatoes, chard, beets, arugula and a passel of herbs while hopefully seeding a paean to permaculture, the principled correlation of sustainability and society.
Time also enabled them to step back and focus on less urgent projects. “We’d been talking a lot about our food, but this has been an opportunity to cook more,” says Erin. She and Jason, Virginia Tech alums who returned to Virginia to be near family after a decade in Seattle, reimagined dishes from their world travels including months in Turkey where Erin’s aunt tutored them in family recipes. Kenny (who also manages The Bakehouse at Chelsea) plumbed his penchant for Italian and Polish cuisine to further inform the unfussy but high-quality vegetarian dishes they plan to serve along with wines supporting natural viticulture.
“The menu will change seasonally, governed by what’s fresh, what’s available locally, what tastes good,” says Jason.
They revised the wine bar’s due date to summer (probably only outdoors to start). Whether or not it’s now open, they’re already achieving their goal of harmony between community and landscape. Just strolling by the butter-colored inn’s garden sparks inspiration. In spades.