While midtown's L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen remains closed and seeks a new tenant for the space, co-owner Marcus Marquez recently landed a new job on the wine sales side. He's now working for the distributor Epic Wines, meaning he's now on the other side of the business and will be trying to get Epic Wines' selections placed at restaurants and wine bars. Epic Wines' portfolio includes such Napa producers as Darioush and Cliff Lede, along with the local wineries Amador Foothill and CG DiArie. Marquez will also be representing Epic Wines' spirits offerings, including Corazon de Jalisco tequila and Cognac du Peyrat.
The move brings Marquez back to his roots. Before opening L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen four years ago with wife Kolea, Marquez was a representative for Paul Bullard & Associates, which sold such boutique wines as Marcassin and Karl Lawrence. Now, he's pitching some of his former employees who are now at new restaurants to try and get placement for Epic Wines' selections.
Meanwhile, the L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen remains closed, following a shut down in July due to legal and money issues. Marquez and his ownership group are being sued by J.C. Builders contracting firm, claiming it hasn't been paid for more than $50,000 worth of work. The restaurant filed a countersuit for "faulty and defective work" in its heating and air conditioning system.
Some restaurateurs, both local and in the Bay Area, have since shown interest in taking over the L's space at 1801 L St. but so far there are no takers. Marquez hopes this changes soon.
"If someone wants to go in and make it work, I would love for it to be open," said Marquez. "The neighborhood deserves it."