Usher, above is pictured with business manager Solomon Smallwood and Grape CEO Jack Mazur, just prior to the wine bar’s opening in December 2006.
The Inman Park franchise of the Grape that pop star Usher opened to widespread publicity in late 2006 has closed, according to the parent company. The shop — a wine bar, bistro and wine retailer rolled into one — did not reopen in the New Year and did not renew its liquor license with the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Currently, there remain three local branches of the Grape: in the Vinings Jubilee shopping center, Phipps Plaza and Atlantic Station. The Atlanta-based Grape Enterprise Group Inc., which both owns and franchises shops mostly throughout the Southeast, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November. Its franchise locations, such as the one in Inman Park, were not party to the filing.
When Raymond Usher IV first met with reporters at the opening of the Inman Park branch wearing a cabernet-purple blazer, he spoke of opening franchises in locales as far flung as Shanghai and South America. Those plans never came to fruition.
A request for comment from Usher’s publicist was not returned by the time of publication.