Wine Kitchen Announces New GM, Catering Menu

Under the helm of a new general manager, Wine Kitchen’s downtown Leesburg location is rolling out a new catering menu with the lunch crowd in mind.

Erich Bluefeld, who stepped into the post in December, said a lot of the downtown workforce wants a great, fast lunch at a good price.

“WK Catering is an excellent option for our local businesses to enjoy our food without leaving the office,” he said. “Our goal is to provide a delicious alternative for office gatherings, meetings, and parties.”

The menu offers platters with three choices of sandwiches: roasted squash grilled cheese ($7 each), croquet monsieur ($7 each) and charcuterie sandwich ($9 each). It also features soups and salads, with quantity options that can serve as few as four or as many as 12, starting at $20, as well as $16 pastas to share, including braised pork Bolognese and ricotta gnocchi. Looking to cater to an office party, the menu also lists various sizes of charcuterie and cheese plates, ranging from $17 to $22, that can serve up to 12.

Bluefeld worked with Wine Kitchen Executive Chef Tim Rowley and assistant manager Whitney Berry to execute the catering idea.

Now two months into his new gig at Wine Kitchen, Bluefeld said he’s enjoyed being a part of a small, but talented team dedicated to providing an exceptional customer experience. His résumé includes working in the kitchen and the front of the house at some of the region’s top restaurants. He earned his associates degree in occupational studies/culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America, before going on to work at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants; Tallula Restaurant in Clarendon; and then José Andrés restaurants, including Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, American Eats Tavern and Jaleo.

Late last year, he got a text from Rowley, who he’d worked with at Tallula, saying that Wine Kitchen was looking for a new general manager, after Andrew Grantz took a job in California. “I said, ‘absolutely. I’d love to,” Bluefeld said.

After working at restaurants that serve as many as 1,000 people on a Saturday night, Bluefeld said he loves the care that Wine Kitchen can pay to each patron, with just room for nine tables and eight bar seats.

“José Andrés has a great brand, but when you get that large, it gets away from that personal experience. My job became managing problems,” he said. “Working at Wine Kitchen is about managing experiences. Their dedication to hospitality is what drew me to this restaurant.”

Jason Miller and Michael Mercer opened Wine Kitchen in downtown Leesburg in 2008. They’ve since opened two other locations, WK Hearth in Purcellville and the Wine Kitchen on the Creek in Frederick, MD.

Learn more about the catering options at thewinekitchen.com/leesburg/catering.

dnadler@loudounnow.com
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