The owners of Detroit’s beloved Spanish tapas bar La Feria are preparing to expand. Partners Pilar Baron Hidalgo, Elias Khalil, and Naomi Khalil will unveil new wine bar and retail shop called Cata Vino Mercado and Wine Bar in a neighboring Midtown space this fall.
Cata Vino will be an distinct space from La Feria, but also extension of the nearly five-year-old Cass Avenue restaurant. Elias Khalil tells Eater that he and his partners had been casually looking for an opportunity to expand their business over the past several years — even exploring larger buildings outside of the neighborhood for a potential move. However, relocating the business to a new area “didn’t feel right.” As sometimes happens, an ideal opportunity presented itself when adjoining shop Thrift On the Ave. ended its lease last spring. “We knew if we did not take that space, somebody else would and we wouldn’t know how long that new place would be in that space,” Khalil tells Eater. La Feria’s partners signed a lease the 4130 Cass Ave. suite in May.
La Feria’s name is a reference to a week-long festival in Seville, Spain. Keeping in the spirit of that event, the owners decided to name their new project after a catavino — the glass used to sip manzanilla sherry during the festival. Taking it a step farther, when the word is split into “cata” and “vino,” it fittingly for a wine bar means “to taste wine.”
With Cata Vino, the owners are aiming to bring a slice of classic Spanish dining culture to Detroit. Spanish wines including a range of sherries will comprise roughly 85 percent of the approximately 50 bottles on sale and on the menu, rounded out by other international wines. “We want this to become the neighborhood destination for wine,” Khalil says. The bar will offer wines by the bottle and glass as well as flights and occasional tasting events.
Baron Hidalgo, a native of Seville, is particularly excited to finally have space to showcase some of the products she misses most from Spain. Those items include things like high-end imported tinned seafood — things like octopus, tuna, and anchovies — that’s widely served in Spanish wine bars. Cata Vino’s market will also feature gourmet products like olive oil, olives, and paprika.
The wine bar and market will have a look that’s distinctive from La Feria. The space is roughly the same size and shape as La Feria with approximately 30 seats for customers and a long bar running down the wall dividing the tapas restaurant and the wine bar. The opposite wall will be lined with retail shelves and the back of the bar will also feature a small kitchen. “I wanted to stay true to the sherry and the wine bars that you would find in southern Spain,” Khalil says of the design.
Like La Feria it will have exposed brick and open ceilings, with woods, earthtones, and a leathered granite bar to give the space a slightly rustic quality. Khalil also worked with the late Detroit-based artist Jason Huffines to custom-make the shelves and bar stools with a wine barrel design for Cata Vino. Huffines, who was influential in the local design community and assisted with projects at Rocco’s Italian Deli and La Feria among others, died suddenly on October 18.
La Feria and Cata Vino will be connected by a doorway allowing customers who are waiting for a table at the tapas spot to stop in next door for a glass of wine. The bar is on track to open by the end of November or early December. Stay tuned for more updates.
Update: This story has been updated with information regarding Jason Huffines.