All words: Phil Chevalier
All photos: Stephanie Breijo
When settling on a floor plan for the outdoor space behind Vinoteca, owner Paul Carlson had some decisions to make. Whether or not to include a bocce ball court, he assured me, was not one of them – it was the only aspect of the design that he didn’t think twice about. When you first find yourself playing among friends on a beautiful spring or summer evening this year, be sure to thank him for sticking to a fantastic idea.
BYT got the chance to go see what Vinoteca’s plaza is all about last week, and we are pleased to report that it seems to be all about three things:
1) Seriously well-made drinks: Mixologist Horus Alvarez isn’t your average barkeep – he’s a fucking scientist. Order an old fashioned from him and thank me later.
2) Delicious housemade food: I don’t know if chef Lonnie Zoeller has been made aware of this, but there isn’t a minimum for how many items on the menu need to have been personally crafted by him – please, no one pass along that memo. Almost nothing on the menu is outsourced, whether we’re talking about the hot dogs themselves (the options for which are a classic frank, a tender half smoke, and a veggie dog), or the assortment of available toppings (pimento cheese, and sauerkraut w/ caraway mustard to name but two). His creations taste even better than they look, and they look pretty damn tasty.
3) Having fun at whatever speed you feel best suits the night: Whether it’s playing bocce with friends and talking the occasional smack, getting close to that special someone away from the hustle and bustle, or getting Euro-style trashed and even breaking out the porron pitcher for some good old vino-guzzling, this space was built for you to explore in whatever way you see fit.
What all of this points to, is that you, reader, drinker, person, should absolutely make it out to Vinoteca at least a couple nights this spring. What you’ll find is a lively, well-executed back patio space, and a staff of highly skilled, friendly people that happen to be dying to make you delicious foods and drinks. Wear a blazer or a dress if you want to – it would certainly fit the tone Carlson has set – but no one said there’s a rule against jeans and a tee shirt: this is one of those few, special places where it’s hard to feel out of place.