Updated Aug. 3
Bar Ramone will open mid-August in a small, rustic space in Chicago's River North neighborhood. The wine bar is Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises' (LEYE) newest joint, the group behind Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners RPM Steak, RPM Italian and Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab.
LEYE wine directors Ryan Arnold and Richard Hanauer worked together to create the concise wine list of under 100 selections, with about 25 wines by the glass. The offerings will change often and the list will be reprinted every day. "We want it to be very approachable," said Arnold. It's a demanding format, but one Arnold feels will expose guests—and his wine team—to exciting selections they may not have encountered otherwise.
The list will maintain a balance between classic and up-and-coming wines from Tuscany, Burgundy, Bordeaux, California and more. There will be a considerable amount of Spanish wines to complement the Spanish small-plates menu, such as Rioja and Txakoli. Chefs Hisanobu Osaka and Doug Psaltis will serve dishes like bloody mary shrimp and marinated goat cheese with housemade tomato bread.—J.H.
Del Frisco's Restaurant Group (DFRG) opened its newest Double Eagle Steakhouse in the Prudential Center of Boston's Back Bay area. It's the city's second location, joining the Best of Award of Excellence winner in the Seaport District. The group fields a total of 51 Restaurant Award–winning locations across three dining concepts.
With more than 2,000 selections and a 15,000-bottle inventory, the Back Bay steak house is home to the largest wine cellar in the DFRG family. "It is the most comprehensive wine list we have opened with to date," said David O'Day, director of wine for Grand Award winner Del Frisco's Double Eagle in New York, who also consults on wine lists at new locations.
DFRG director of wine Jessica Norris says the list has strengths in Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône, Italy, Spain, Australia and California, and includes ample half-bottle and large-format selections. It also features deep verticals of world-class producers, including 40 vintages each of Gaja and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, 35 vintages of E. Guigal, and dozens from Bordeaux first-growths, among many others.—B.G.
Legal Sea Bar, a bar concept from seafood chain Legal Sea Foods, has opened its doors in Washington D.C.'s Union Station. The group includes 10 Restaurant Award–winning locations, most of them in Massachusetts.
The seafood-centric bar will focus on small plates and appetizers, such as crab cakes, fresh oysters, fried clams and an array of sandwiches and salads. As for the wine list: "It's kind of our greatest hits," said Sandy Block, vice president of beverage operations at Legal Sea Foods. With around 14 wines, which are available by the glass, bottle or carafe, the list has good regional diversity, with staples like Sancerre, California Chardonnay and Cabernet, as well as offbeat picks like an Austrian rosé from Pratsch.—K.K.
Houston Best of Award of Excellence winner Vallone's Steakhouse closed July 20. The 700-selection wine list had strengths in California, Italy and France, complementing the menu's steaks, which were butchered and aged in house. The floor-to-ceiling wine wall, which stored part of the 3,500-bottle inventory, was a focal point of the dining room.
The restaurant was owned by Tony Vallone and wine director Scott Sulma, the team behind Restaurant Award winners Tony's. On Aug. 1, their other Houston Restaurant Award, Ciao Bello, also shuttered.—J.H.
Keep up with the latest restaurant news from our award winners: Subscribe to our free Private Guide to Dining newsletter, and follow us on Twitter at WSRestoAwards and on Instagram at wsrestaurantawards.