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Contra Team Plots Lower East Side Liquor Store [Update]

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Of all things, the Contra/Wildair third project might not even be a restaurant

Fabián Von Hauske Valtierra and Jeremiah Stone stand near the entrance to Contra in a black and white photo
Fabian von Hauske and Jeremiah Stone
Nick Solares

Lower East Side renegade restaurateurs Fabian von Hauske and Jeremiah Stone’s next act is an unexpected twist — a liquor store. It will be the third Lower East Side project for the team, behind hit restaurants Contra and Wildair, a go-to for natural wine.

A recent liquor license application shows that the pair has signed a lease at 151 Orchard Street and are seeking a liquor store license. The former design store has been vacant for almost a year, and a new sign in the window caught by Bowery Boogie tipped off this new project headed into the space.

According to the liquor license application, filed under Cubmare LLC with both Von Hauske and Stone’s names attached, the license is pending at that address. Eater has reached out for more information.

Update, July 6 at 12:43 p.m.: Von Hauske and Stone confirmed the plans, saying through a spokesperson, “It’s still a bit early at this point to share much, but what we can say is that we’re looking to do a unique shop that stays true to us, and our very own Jorge Riera [Contra and Wildair’s beverage director] will have a major role in it. More soon.”

Von Hauske and Stone made names for themselves in the neighborhood when they opened tasting menu spot Contra in 2013 to rave reviews. They quickly followed up that success with its more casual, small plate sister Wildair, which landed on Eater National’s list of best new restaurants of 2016.

Eater critic Ryan Sutton noted the unusual yet affordable pours at Wildair in his review:

On a late October weeknight Contra poured 6+ biodynamic Domaine Matassa wines — tough to find Southern French blends that just as easily recall a floral Alsatian gewurtztraminer as a smoky Mexican mezcal. The charge? Just $43 to match with that night's menu, which included a monkfish roasted to the texture of a warm marshmallow and slathered in a bonito foam. Gorgeous.

Fast forward to summer, as the Wildair website lists 12 to 15 spritzy, affordable bottles of pet’nat on the menu: perhaps one of many indications of what to expect at the shop.