Northside Social: A Smart Idea Born from a Broken Partnership
This week's Young & Hungry column delves into the coffee-shop-cum-wine-bar-cum-bakery known as Northside Social, which is one of two new projects (the other being Lyon Hall) from the team behind Liberty Tavern.
Northside has a rather painful genesis: Owner Stephen Fedorchak and his partners slowly pieced together their Frankenshop after deep-sixing their original plan, a partnership with pastry chef David Guas to open Bayou Bakery.
So why did Bayou Bakery not materialize in the former Murky Coffee spot in Clarendon? It's a sensitive subject to all parties involved. Here's what Fedorchak had to say recently on the divorce:
"I have a lot of respect for David. We had met in Clarendon, just kind of randomly and had become friendly. When that space became available, he was looking for a venue. We were looking for someone who could bring quality food to a coffee shop environment. I've enjoyed his work for a number of years at all the various Passion Food locations. I thought he was a good guy.
"My decision to move away from the Bayou Bakery and into something like Northside Social was largely based on the fact that I wanted to make sure that Liberty Tavern and our team at Liberty Tavern had a strong role in the development of the project and in the identity of the project and in the execution of the project," Fedorchak adds.
"And David was more intent on it being a business relationship with it being pretty closely identified with him and his culinary vision, and I think David will be successful with Bayou Bakery because I think it's a really interesting idea. I think fresh beignets, I mean people are really excited about those. In ways, I'm sorry it didn't work out because I think it could have been really cool. But as I've said on the record in the past, I think it is a business idea best pursued by David as an individual as opposed to in a partnership with an existing restaurant group."
Last fall, I spoke with Guas about the very same subject. He was likewise hesitant to dredge up the past for public comment.
"I woke up one day and realized we had our eyes set in different directions," the award-nominated pastry chef told me. "It was their decision to part...We didn’t see eye to eye at the end of the day."
Guas said it wasn't any one thing that broke up the partnership. "Stephen's a great guy and had a lot of confidence in my ideas," Guas added. In the end, though, "It may not have been everything they wanted."
The pastry chef is still working on launching Bayou Bakery on his own.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery