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Closing in on the sale of the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar

Closing in on the sale of the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar
Bar none: Jamie Kennedy’s sale of his Wine Bar appears to be near completion (Photo by Kate Allen)

The much-anticipated sale of the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, which has been in the works for several weeks, is slated to close mid-October. Two foodie power couples are poised to take over the hot spot, which is not expected to retain Jamie Kennedy’s name. Former Joy Bistro owners Ted Koutsogiannopoulos and his wife, Mary, have teamed up with newlyweds Scott Vivian and Rachelle Caldwell (former executive chef and pastry chef of Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner, respectively) to breathe new life into the downtown classic.

When Kennedy first announced plans to sell the Wine Bar back in June (after news of his bum financials broke), the restaurant was offered to senior staff, but those prospective buyers reportedly didn’t pan out. Koutsogiannopoulos confirms that his quartet is currently negotiating the purchase, but he prefers to stay tight lipped until the ink is dry. A press release has been promised for this week.  “We still haven’t passed all the hurdles,” says Koutsogiannopoulos. A source close to Toronto Life says that the deal is tied up with government red tape, including the tax complexities of passing a restaurant from Kennedy’s hands to new owners.

While there has been speculation that sommelier Jamie Drummond would stay on, the man who made sure the Wine Bar lived up to its name will decamp for a full-time position as director of programs with the new not-for-profit Good Food Media, started by Gremolata’s Malcolm Jolley. “It feels like the end of an era,” says the restaurant’s wine guru of almost six years, who still plans to be professionally associated with Kennedy. “Everybody is looking forward to seeing what Scott’s going to do with the place and how it’s going to evolve.”

Um—need we say it?—ditto.

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