The old Champps near Ridgedale has a whole new vibe. Wineside wine bar and market will open next week next to the Top Ten Liquors which is already open in the space.
It’s fully unrecognizable as the place you once ate waffle fries while ignoring your parents/kids or sang karaoke in view of Ridgedale Mall.
The market and wine bar take up most of the front space which was the restaurant. The clean lines and modern feel have nicely opened up the formerly dark space. It’s really a choose your own adventure situation. You can head straight into the market and shop. There are lots of tasty treats, from boutique olive oils and pastas, to global chocolate bars, Japanese sauces and mayo, and tinned fish from everywhere.
There’s a full deli counter where you can order custom slices of cheeses and meats. The cheese case is stacked with truly great finds, they know they have to do better than the Byerly’s just down the block. You’ll also find Dogwood coffee, pastries in the morning, and Patisserie 46 breads to buy. Yes, you could basically make your own charcuterie board and then head into the wine bar if that’s your jam, they fully support that idea.
But there’s another way. You can skip the market, and stop at the wine host when you walk in. Here you’ll receive a glass and register a form of payment. This is a cashless space, so you’ll need a credit card or some form of electronic payment. They’ll also show you how to download the QR code you’ll need for the wine bar. Once you have your glass, you’ll be lead to a seat in the dining area.
All around the seating area are wine kiosks loaded with temperature controlled wines, ready to pour. You simply choose your wine, hold your phone under the scanner, and select the size of the pour you would like. You can choose small sips or healthy pours, your call. The wines will be grouped by varietals, so you could craft your own cabernet franc tasting flight by simply accessing each bottle in one kiosk. You have access to more than 100 wines to sip by the glass.
When you get to your seat, you will be able to snap another QR code to access the full kitchen menu. This is where chef JD Fratzke comes in.
Fratzke and his team have created a very wine friendly menu. Small plates are meant to be easy and shareable, following the Spanish tapas tradition. Tinned seafood with good bread plays a fun role on the menu, more of that in the city would be great. You’ll also find whipped feta, fingerling potatoes, roasted quail with artichoke hearts, crab toast and bigger plates such as grain bowls, braised beef rib, or chicken meatballs on polenta. You’ll also be able to order a few specialty cocktails and a few beers, but the focus is on wine.
The overarching idea for this wine bar is that you customize your experience. You can make reservations and hold seats for a full meal, or you can wander in and get a glass and a snack plate while you laptop. Fratzke has loaded his team with pros, for those in the know, yes: standing behind JD is Ferris Schiffer, local legendary Minikahda chef working the kitchen.
All the wines that you sip in the wine bar will be easy to find in the shop next door, if you fall in love with bottle. The move is that the wine bar is really a tasting bar for you to find what you love to bring home. Also, if you already have something you know you love and want to shop the liquor store before eating, bottles over $50 bought in the shop will carry no corkage fee in the wine bar.
The wine bar will be open early for coffee and pastries, and will welcome people to hang out and work or have meetings until the lunch and beverage service starts. Next week they’ll host a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on November 1st and be open to the public on November 2nd. Get tinned fish ready!
October 27, 2022