Team Behind Two Grand Award Winners Opens Selby's in Silicon Valley

Plus, RPM Restaurants has a new pizzeria in Chicago, a fourth location of International Smoke comes to San Diego, and more

Team Behind Two Grand Award Winners Opens Selby's in Silicon Valley
Selby's opens with an impressive wine program. (Ed Anderson)
Jul 18, 2019

A glamorous new restaurant with an ambitious wine program is coming to California's Silicon Valley. Set to open July 23 in Redwood City, Selby's is the latest project from Bacchus Management Group, which includes Wine Spectator Grand Award winners the Village Pub and Spruce, as well as Best of Award of Excellence winner the Village Bakery.

Inspired by the opulent Hollywood dining scene of the 1930s and '40s, Selby's will serve modernized American classics, with nostalgic features like martini carts and vintage art pieces. It's opening with a 2,500-selection wine list, which wine director Andrew Green expects to grow by about 1,000 labels by the end of the year. "It's [going to be] part of the identity of the restaurant from day one," Green told Wine Spectator.

Selby's will focus on wines that complement its steak-centric menu, like bold Italian reds and Cabernet Sauvignon. The well-rounded collection will cover the world's key winegrowing regions, such as California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Germany and more. Other program highlights include about 250 aged Barolos and Barbarescos, an extensive Madeira collection, and a 15,000-bottle-capacity cellar.

Value is also important for Green, who will offer between 200 and 300 wines under $100. "Really well-selected, entry-level wines from top producers is something that we're not gonna overlook," he said. "Wines that I drink every day."—J.H.

Another Pizzeria for RPM Restaurants

The team behind RPM Restaurants, which includes Best of Award of Excellence–winning locations of RPM Italian and RPM Steak, opened an all-day pizza spot on the Chicago riverfront July 8. Pizzeria Portofino features an Italian menu of antipasti, pastas, seafood and, of course, plenty of hand-made pies.

Corporate wine director Richard Hanauer created the list of nearly 100 bottles, with 22 wines by the glass, to reflect the regional focus. "We wanted our guests to experience the comfort of the Mediterranean," Hanauer told Wine Spectator via email. The exclusively Italian selections are divided into "classic," "coastal" and "super Tuscans." In addition to big names like Tenuta dell'Ornellaia and cult favorites like Emidio Pepe, you'll also find lesser-known producers like Cascina Praie in Liguria and Cirelli in Abruzzo.

The group will debut another restaurant above Pizzeria Portofino, RPM on the Water, in late fall.—J.H.

Making focaccia di Stefano
Hsing Chen
Pizzeria Portofino serves focaccia di Stefano, the restaurant's take on a Ligurian specialty.
Making focaccia di Stefano
Hsing Chen
Dollops of stracchino cheese are laid out between thin sheets of focaccia dough.
Making focaccia di Stefano
Hsing Chen
The finished product, baked until crisp

D.C.'s Agora Opens New Location

This week northern Virginia welcomed a new outpost of Agora, the Washington, D.C., restaurant that has earned an Award of Excellence since 2012. The new restaurant set up shop on the ground floor of the Nouvelle building in Tysons, Va.

Agora Tysons will offer guests a balance of old and new with their Mediterranean fare, blending popular menu items from the original outpost with dishes exclusive to Tysons. Lebanese chef Ghassan Jarrouj will oversee the kitchen.

The wine program, built by GMDC Hospitality co-founder Cesar Varela, started at more than 80 selections by the bottle, but will reach 200 within a couple months; 22 wines are available by the glass. Strengths include wines from Turkey, Greece and Lebanon, rounded out by more classic regions such as France, Italy, Spain and the United States. The list is organized by style for approachability and discovery. The Tysons space has a bar on the ground floor and on the mezzanine, allowing more guests to indulge in the drinks menu. Agora is now open for dinner, but brunch and lunch will launch July 29.—T.W.

Another International Smoke Opens from Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry

On July 19, two food celebrities will bring the smoke to San Diego. Chef Michael Mina and Food Network star Ayesha Curry will open the fourth location of International Smoke, the duo's barbecue restaurant.

Mina, who has several Restaurant Award–winning restaurants, teamed up with Curry in November 2017 to open the first location of International Smoke in San Francisco, which replaced the now-closed Grand Award winner RN74. Inspired by family and travel, the chain features global interpretations of barbecue. The wine programs follow suit, offering diverse selections from both New and Old Worlds.—T.W.


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