Meet the Speakers: Wesley Stuckey & Andy Gruver

The worlds of design and fine dining seem to be colliding more and more. Baltimore designer Wesley Stuckey and restaurateur Andy Gruver both have experience in this particular design trend.

A successful restaurant is one that not only serves delicious food but also serves up a visually stimulating experience. Thus have many designers and restaurateurs around the country developed a working relationship.

Wesley Stuckey is one such designer. Originally from Mississippi, he graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in the Graphic Design MFA program, and has since made a home and career in Baltimore. Stuckey has done design and branding for several Baltimore restaurants, including The Owl Bar, Dooby’s and Milk & Honey. Last year, Stuckey was a featured speaker for Baltimore’s Creative Mornings’ series on color.

Mural at Doobys, by Wesley Stuckey

Mural at Doobys, by Wesley Stuckey

Stuckey’s work has been shown in exhibitions across the country, and he was invited to design temporary tattoos for He has been featured in publications such as HOW Magazine, Focal Press, Princeton Architectural Press, and Graphic Design Thinking by Ellen Lupton, whom he studied under at MICA.

In addition to design, Stuckey also works as a printmaker and educator. Currently, Stuckey runs his own studio in Baltimore, where he “gets to dabble in a little of everything related to design.” Outside of his work as a designer, he teaches design at both the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and MICA.

The Fork & Wrench, located in Canton, is one local restaurant that has embraced the world of design. The restaurant has been described by co-owner Andy Gruver as way to combine a dive bar aesthetic and a four-star attitude. Gruver used his background in visual art to help design and build The Fork & Wrench’s interior space. Built in two connected commercial properties using salvaged and reclaimed materials, the restaurant’s design mixes comfort and elegance.

Lounge seating at Fork & Wench

Lounge seating at Fork & Wench

The food at The Fork & Wrench also shows an obvious appreciation for design. Much of it is locally sourced, and the presentation speaks for itself.

Presentation speaks for its self

The obvious appreciation for design shows in all food courses at the Fork & Wench

The Fork & Wrench quickly caught the attention of foodies in Baltimore and beyond. The restaurant was even named on the Travel Channel’s Best Places to Eat in Baltimore.

On Monday, October 19 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM, The Fork & Wrench will host Design & Dine: A Hand-Crafted Experience for Design Week 2015. Wesley and Andy will both speak about their work in bringing together design and food.

Mitchell Cole is the web sales manager at Service Photo Supply. Most of his free time is spent indulging in some sort of gaming, controller or dice never far from reach. Find him on Twitter at @mc_mittens.

By Mitchell Cole
Published September 20, 2015