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August 4, 2010

Foreman Wolf: a rebrand and a plan

Cindy Wolf and Tony ForemanTony Foreman and Cindy Wolf plan to open "a new concept " in late 2011 in Baltimore. So says the message that popped up in my e-mail early this morning.

There are no further details save for this: When the owners of restaurants Charleston, Pazo, Cinghiale, Petit Louis and wine shops Bin 604 and Bin 201 open whatever it is they're going to open, they won't do it as The Charleston Group.

They'll do it as the rebranded Foreman Wolf.

"Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf unveiled today a new brand strategy that will be instrumental in future developments," the e-mailed news release beings.

"With a strong presence in the food and wine industry, Foreman and Wolf have been actively seeking new opportunities. The new brand will be at the forefront of inquiries, setting a tone of old-world elegance, with a modern, crisp style. The ventures will now collectively be recognized as FOREMAN WOLF, the food and wine of Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf."

The news release continues:

"'Building a company about food, wine and service in Baltimore has been rewarding on many levels,' Foreman said. 'Continuing to build with a stronger brand presence is the logical next step.'

"'Bringing the flavors of different countries and cultures to Baltimore has been a journey that continues, said Cindy Wolf, two-time nominee for best chef, mid-Atlantic by the James Beard Foundation. 'Taking that knowledge and using it to bring new businesses into the fold is a great new adventure for all of us.'"

Sun photo by Kim Hairston

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 8:54 AM | | Comments (28)
        

Comments

How totally self indulgent!

Hilarious!

To the "nameless server" whose comment I just had to zap: This is a no-profanity zone. Your views are welcome. Just keep it clean.

Fantastic! These two already have the best places in town. I can't wait for more options. Good for them and I wish them continued success.

Literally laughing out loud.

So, less grits, more ego. The moon landing was more humble.

Let us now go, even unto Baltimore, and see this thing which is come to pass; which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Cindy and Tony, and the Brand lying in a manger.

Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born, this day, a Brand, which is Foreman the Wolf.

Amen.

"But most people who read this will not care as long as the food is good and the service is good. Again because the people who eat at his restaurants probably have never had to work in a restaurant and serve people. They just want great wine and great food."

Um... yeah!

This guy is the biggest JERK in the restaurant business.

I doubt that.

To nameless server/anonymous whose follow-up comment I had to zap: Thank you for removing the profanity. Now if you could stick to the subject of restaurants and not personal matters, we'll be in business. You are welcome to try again.

And to any confused readers out there: Camille Quelquejeu and sean were responding to the zapped comment.

Building of any brand deals with business ethics. Again you are sheltering Tony from negativity because he spends alot of money advertising with your employer. I can imagine that they treat you, a newspaper critic like royality. Your blog is a joke if you can't take the good with the bad.

See, nameless server/Anonymous? I'll let you say that on the blog. Even though you are misinformed -- I'm not the paper's restaurant critic, I'm not protecting an advertiser and I don't eat for free at any restaurants -- you are not libelous. Welcome to the Sandbox. Try to behave. LV

Bleh. No, this blog would be a joke if it allowed anonymous folks to post libellous slagging.

Love, peace and harmony
Love, peace and harmony
Oh, very nice
Very nice
Very nice
Very nice
...But maybe in the next world

Rebranding something with your name isn't necessarily bad. If they're recognized as food and wine authorities, I could understand why they'd want to add their name to the company.

However, if they are arrogant, I doubt it is justified. I went to Cinghiale recently and was far from impressed. The best thing on the menu was the bread. I experienced overpriced, meager portions which were too salty, and an atmosphere that was entirely too loud.

Ego. But they do deliver some great food if you are willing to pay the price. Correct me if I am wrong, but don't you have to live in the city to hold a liquor license for establishments in the city? Who's name is on the liquor licenses of the "Foreman Wolf" establishments in the city?

See, nameless server/Anonymous? I'll let you say that on the blog. Even though you are misinformed -- I'm not the paper's restaurant critic, I'm not protecting an advertiser and I don't eat for free at any restaurants -- you are not libelous. Welcome to the Sandbox. Try to behave. LV


LV,

Agree to diagree, I have an view from the inside looking out. You have a view from the outside looking in. My main point is that Tony treats his employees unfairly. That's it. Also that his front of being a married couple is played out. Just like that picture.

@Anonymous

I work for Tony and Cindy and they both treat their employees extremely well. Especially for the restaurant industry.

Yes, Tony can be tough but it's their reputation out there every night. Every staff member is important to the structure of service. It's not easy. And when something goes wrong - a lot has to happen to correct it.

It's clear you had a bad experience. There are a lot of us working for them that have been there for years and plan on remaining.

Why get personal? What do you hope to gain from that?

It may be ego, but I think it's deserved. I've never had anything less than stellar at one of their restaurants, and when my husband and I went to Charleston a few years ago, Tony Foreman spent considerable time with us and wrote me an extremely gracious letter two days letter, thanking me for coming - and noting specific details from our conversation. Won my loyalty with that. Can't wait to see what they do next.

It may be ego, but I think it's deserved. I've never had anything less than stellar at one of their restaurants, and when my husband and I went to Charleston a few years ago, Tony Foreman spent considerable time with us and wrote me an extremely gracious letter two days letter, thanking me for coming - and noting specific details from our conversation. Won my loyalty with that. Can't wait to see what they do next.

Unless you have worked for the Charleston Group or have a relationship with them, everyone's opinion is just that, an opinion. Their rebranding does represent some of their personal issues and how they can keep their business afloat. From a former employee's perspective, some of the treatment of how work issues are handled leave plenty to be desired, but they are very forward thinking in growing their concept too. Do I believe that sometimes there is too much praise given to them when it is not warranted, absolutely. But do I also feel that they have changed the impact of how Baltimore's Culinary lanscape has shaped up, that is something you also cannot deny. When you think of the Charleston Group, other restuarant such as, Tapas Adela, Talara, Jack's Bistro, Salt, Blue Hill Tavern, Milan, Volt, b Bistro, etc. come to mind because of what they represent. This is not to say that these places are riding the coattails of the Foreman Wolf restuarants, but they have shown that Baltimore does have a sophisticated and adventourous attitude when it comes to food. I will have discussions with people who personally know Tony Foreman and will not dine at his concepts because of how he treated them in the past either as being his neighbor, him patronizing their business. Too me that is an immature attitude for that person, but it also shows something that everyone here in Baltimore already knows. Always be nice to strangers, because you never know when they may patronize your business(es). So I am interested to see what their concept will be or bring. It is exciting and it something you have admit, like it or not, the Foreman Wolf brand is something that allows for their businesses and concept to grow no matter what personally struggles happen behind the scenes.

In reference to the individual who posted “people who eat at his restaurants probably have never had to work in a restaurant and serve people. They just want great wine and great food”. I disagree strongly, I have served food, bagged groceries and various other non-glamorous jobs just to make it to where I am today…still working hard to do better and better- And I eat at Petite Louis and I would like to try the other restaurants the Charleston Group owns. To me they have many price points with the various restaurants they own, and they offer quality food and services. I am not saying I can eat at the Charleston every day, but for a special occasion I could and would.

Think about it, you can go to a chain restaurant like Olive Garden and get a meal that is anything from gourmet or you can spend the same amount of money at a restaurant like Petite Louis or Cinghiale and have a meal that was prepared with expert care.

It is as if you are applying the elitist idea to the restaurants, not Ms. Wolf or Mr. Foreman.

I would hope that they are not miss treating the employees, but I imagine if they were I would not see the same employees time and time again…the turnover rate would be much higher.

I commend them for starting another business, may it bring more jobs to our area in this time of hardship for many.

", Tapas Adela, Talara, Jack's Bistro, Salt, Blue Hill Tavern, Milan, Volt, b Bistro, etc"

Nice. Never thought I would see Milan get top billing over Volt.

go to a chain restaurant like Olive Garden and get a meal that is anything from gourmet or you can spend the same amount of money at a restaurant like Petite Louis or Cinghiale

REALLY?

Now if Cianghiale would change their Never-Ending Hummus Bowl to pasta, we have a deal.

Hummus? I think he means hubris. Jeez, public schools.

I was not really billing Milan over Volt, when you think about the stylish scene at Pazo, Milan would be in that category. Volt's food is not what I am comparing in that case. That was really just a list.

Wait, "How totally self indulgent"?

I don't get what the big deal is here. They are successful business owners and they are making their name their brand. Would you say the same thing to McDonalds, Anheuser- Busch, Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson and Tiffany? Would you dare call Chef Voltaggio "self indulgent" for naming his restaurant Volt? Doubt it. You have a successful company, I say good for them. Put your name on it.

I totally agree with V. Why can't we all be happy for a couple of people who have brought some needed recognition to the area dining scene. Although I can't afford regular visits to Charleston, the occasional foray into Chef Wolf's wonderful cuisine is never less than a total delight.
Continued luck to both of them.

Ugh. You guys really miss the point. It's the pompousness of a press release to announce that when they announce something it will be under a different name. It was an announcement of nothing.

Annoying!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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