What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Brewery Bhavana, Bida Manda reopen with new management

Posted October 22, 2020 2:39 p.m. EDT

— After briefly opening for takeout service in September, award-winning restaurants Bida Manda and Brewery Bhavana are reopening again - this time under new management.

Courtney Osgood, a spokeswoman for the restaurants, told WRAL that the Brewery Bhavana is currently offering a limited combined takeout menu featuring food from both restaurants. On Tuesday, Bida Manda will be reopening for curbside pickup.

Osgood said that both restaurants are under new management.

“There are no former management – at any level – that are currently working at either restaurant. Frederique Leonard has been brought as the new CEO overseeing both locations and Jeremiah Ramos has been brought on as the General Manager, managing the operations of both restaurants,” Osgood said.

Last month, Brewery Bhavana co-owners Patrick Woodson and Vanvisa Nolintha announced that they would be stepping away from their current roles and hiring Leonard to lead both restaurants.

Osgood declined to comment on whether the co-founder of both restaurants, Vansana Nolintha, who is Vanvisa’s brother, has divested his shares in the businesses, as he indicated he would be doing in a letter written to staff members in June following allegations of misconduct.

Osgood also declined to comment on whether the Nolinthas and Patrick Woodson were remaining owners of Brewery Bhavana.

WRAL spoke with 14 former and current employees of the restaurants. Staff members said it was common for then co-owner Van Nolintha to engage in inappropriate relationships with younger male employees. Former employees also alleged sexual misconduct by beverage director Jordan Hester.

“The steps that are being taken right now with both restaurants, led by the new team, are to create a better future not just for the spaces themselves, but for the community that has come to know and appreciate the vibrant food scene and culture in Raleigh,” Osgood said. “We understand and respect that there will be some that choose to not support the work that the new team is putting in or the new direction of the restaurants, but we do hope that in time, we’ll have the opportunity to show the community the changes that we’re making through our actions and not just words.”

Since opening in March 2017, Bhavana has received numerous awards including being named one of the 10 Coolest Places to Eat in the World in 2018 by Forbes and one of Bon Appetit's 10 Best New Restaurants in America.​ The restaurant was also named a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award in 2018.

Both restaurants had been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The restaurants were granted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans in April. The loans were designed by the Small Business Administration as an incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.​​​

Both restaurants reopened briefly in September for limited curbside takeout service. A few dozen former employees and their supporters protested outside Brewery Bhavana during the reopening.

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