'Aficionado' plans The Handsome Cab wine bar for York City


Robert Godfrey would know as well as anyone what York is missing.

In the health care business, Godfrey has spent years traveling the country and the world. He's earned more than a few frequent-flyer miles and the status of "wine aficionado."

Drawing on inspiration from the places he's been, Godfrey and his business partner have spent the past three years building a plan for a wine bar in York City.

"It's going to be an interesting space. Nothing else like it exists in York," Godfrey said.

The Handsome Cab has existed on social media for years, and its website is more sophisticated than the websites of many restaurants that have been open for years.

For example, its owners have designated happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Each day has a theme, including Monday Funday and Tasting Tuesdays.

Economic challenges have slowed the process of opening The Handsome Cab, and there are still several hurdles to jump. But there is finally a path ahead to bring the wine bar to life.

"We just kind of hung in there. We persevered," Godfrey said. "We're going to add something new to the town."

Necessary work has begun to gut and renovate the wine bar's future home at 104-106 N. George St. in York City, a former dry cleaners that's been vacant for years.

"When it rains outside, it rains inside," Godfrey said.

"We have a lot of volunteers that have been coming to help us because so many people are excited about the project."

The York City Council has scheduled a public hearing for 6 p.m. Wednesday to consider a liquor-license transfer from North York.

Construction will likely take about six months, Godfrey said.

That means The Handsome Cab could open for business in early 2016.

The business plan is built on wine, but there also are plans to serve small plates of food and craft beer. Above the restaurant will be several artist studios, Godfrey said.

Godfrey, 49, said he and his business partner, Andrew D'Agenais, are active in York City's downtown revitalization.

With friends all over the world, they expect The Handsome Cab to attract more far-flung tourists to York City, Godfrey said.

"We're full speed ahead. I'm sure there's going to be this delay or that delay or things we didn't expect," he said. "But at this point, there really is no turning back."

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.