BY KATHY GIBBONS
TRAVERSE CITY — Downtown Traverse City fans of Nine Bean Rows will want to get their croissant fix now.
Monday is the last day the small downtown Traverse City bakery and eatery will be open. Owners Nick and Jen Welty are looking for a new restaurant location in Suttons Bay and hope to open there by April or May.
Nick Welty said the business is moving from its location at 439 E. Front St. because they need more space. The couple is also trying to avoid the long drives they face from their farm in Omena.
"We never leave the two-county area and we can put 800 miles a week on two vehicles," Nick Welty said.
"If I want to be in Traverse City, I want to be (in a larger facility) on Front Street and there just isn't any availability right now," he said.
Tony Craig, currently at The Boathouse on the Old Mission Peninsula and previously with Fire Fly, has leased the space Nine Bean Rows occupied and is planning to open what he described as a fusion taqueria called Georgina's, named after a much-loved cousin. Craig was born in Nicaragua and moved to Florida as a child, causing him to be influenced by a variety of ethnic cuisines.
Those will be evident at Georgina's. Look for Puerto Rican, Asian (his mother's Chinese), Thai, Cuban, Chilean and other dishes.
"The best way to depict it is street food, but it really isn't," Craig said. "There will be all types of stir fries from Asia, all types of foods from Central and South America. You're going to see street food sold in a whole different way."
Craig's lease begins Jan. 1 and he's hoping to be up and running around Feb. 1. He can't wait to own his own restaurant, especially after employment at corporate chains prior to coming to Traverse City in 2003.
"I didn't want to work for a corporation anymore," Craig said. "But I think corporations are great. I hope to become one."
In the meantime, Nick Welty said he and Jen are still working on pinning down financing for a restaurant in Suttons Bay.
It will have a full kitchen, which will mean they can do their baking there instead of renting space at Black Star Farms like they do now.
Fans of Nine Bean Rows' baked goods can find them at the Saturday morning indoor farmers market at Building 50 in Traverse City, along with other produce the farm grows through the winter. Welty said they'll also be supplying croissants to Brew in downtown Traverse City, Pedaling Beans coffeehouse in Lake Leelanau and possibly some others.
"Our last day downtown will be Christmas Eve," he said. "We'll do all the Christmas orders and holiday kinds of things and close up and basically clean the place out."