This summer, restaurateur Danny Meyer will open Manhatta, a sky-high restaurant on the 60th floor of a skyscraper in New York's Financial District. His Union Square Hospitality Group owns six Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners in New York: the Modern (Grand Award), Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, Marta and Untitled.
Manhatta features spectacular panoramic views of the city, but the team wants to create a relaxed, neighborhood feel. Beverage director Matt Whitney will reflect that atmosphere with a diverse, approachable wine program. The list will be rooted in classic French regions, with focuses on Burgundy, the Rhône and Bordeaux, but California will also be well-represented. He aims to provide a range of prices, styles and regions to suit any guest, from newbies to wine pros.
"At the end of the day, I want to share wine, I want to open wine, I want people to be able to get two bottles without really having to think about the price," Whitney told Wine Spectator.
Manhatta will open with about 250 to 300 wine selections, and will likely grow by several hundred labels, with 16 wines by the glass. A wine wall in the center of the dining room serves as the focal point of the restaurant and a working cellar during service, holding about 2,000 bottles.
Chef Jason Pfeifer of Maialino will serve a three-course, prix-fixe dinner menu with à la carte options available at the bar and for lunch. The cuisine draws inspiration from Pfeifer's global travels, backed by French techniques.
Also on the 60th floor is Bay Room, a private-events space now available for booking. And in early June, USHG opened Tacocina in Brooklyn's waterfront Domino Park, which serves casual Mexican fare and a beverage list that includes a few canned and draft wines.—J.H.
From owners Rick and Ann Yoder, a new location of Asian fusion restaurant Wild Ginger will open late July in Seattle, a five-minute drive from the concept's Grand Award–winning flagship, and not too far from their Award of Excellence winner in Bellevue, Wash.
"The theme and focus of the wine list will mirror that of our flagship location, but greatly pared down to work within our new space," wine and beverage director Robert Labuda told Wine Spectator. "Strengths will include mature vintages of German and Alsatian Riesling, Oregon Pinot Noir and Washington reds." The initial list will include just under 100 selections, with plans to grow over time.—L.W.
Chef Danny Grant of Maple & Ash is opening a restaurant in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood this month. Called Etta, the concept will have a more casual atmosphere than Maple & Ash, which holds a Best of Award of Excellence for its 815-selection wine list.
"I want it to be like a chef throwing a dinner party," Grant says. The seasonal menu will change daily, featuring housemade pastas, salads and pizzas from a wood-fire hearth. He plans to later incorporate a retail component to Etta, where guests can order from a take-out window.
Bar manager Aaron Pollack will oversee the wine program of about 80 selections, a shorter version of the Maple & Ash list, highlighting regions like the Loire Valley, Paso Robles, the Finger Lakes and Willamette Valley. "What we're trying to do is just no pressure, no frills, just fun, affordable, approachable, but still elevated," Pollack says. There will be 13 wines available by the glass, in addition to three canned wines. No bottles exceed $65 on the opening list.—J.H.
June 27 marked chef Michael Sichel's last day as executive chef of Galatoire's in New Orleans. The Best of Award of Excellence winner is known for its classic New Orleans fare and an extensive 970-selection wine list with strengths in California and France, particularly Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
"We are currently looking for the right candidate for Galatoire's next executive chef," president and CEO of Galatoire's Melvin Rodrigue said in a statement. "This is a rigorous process and we do not have a timeline for making an announcement until we find the perfect fit for our kitchen and culture." Sichel will be heading a new restaurant in Charleston, S.C.—K.K.
The new location of Best of Award of Excellence–winning Madeo in Beverly Hills has started service. It seats 145 guests and features a semi-open kitchen, outdoor dining and private events room. "[We] love the new space and think it is nicer than expected," Madeo co-owner Gianni Vietina says. "Clients are enjoying the new space as well." Madeo will remain in Beverly Hills until the end of 2019, while the original West Hollywood outpost undergoes remodeling. The 1,255-selection wine list and food menu remain the same.—B.G.
Changes are on the horizon for Award of Excellence winner Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Come September, the restaurant will be parting ways with their opening chef, Michael Fiorelli.
"The opportunity to open Love & Salt with [owners] Sylvie and Guy Gabriele was a dream for me, and I'm proud of what we accomplished together during these past few years," said Fiorelli in a statement. He will be opening a new restaurant in Los Angeles; his replacement at Love & Salt will be announced at a later date.—K.K.
Helmed by the Greystone the Steakhouse team, Route 29 will open next week in San Diego's Gaslamp neighborhood, offering farm-to-table, European-inspired cuisine by executive chefs Daniel Bear and Jesus Villa.
The restaurant is named after Napa Valley's primary road, but "the Napa influence will be solid without dominating the list," says sommelier Nemanja Pejcic. The 157-selection wine list will have a strong emphasis on U.S. regions like Washington, Oregon and California, as well as a variety of global offerings from France, New Zealand, Israel and beyond.—B.G.
As West Coast Wine & Cheese continues to prepare for the late August opening of its second location in Mill Valley, the Award of Excellence–winning San Francisco location is going through some changes too. The team welcomed chef Paul Chaysawat to the kitchen, who brings Japanese inspirations to West Coast's selection of cheese, charcuterie and small plates.
In the dining room, several staff members are taking on more responsibilities to accommodate the exit of sommelier Thomas Renshaw, who will not be replaced. "After being open three-and-a-half years, the [wine] list has never been better than it is right now," says owner and wine director Chris Wanner. The 325-selection list will not change, but guests can expect new pairings.—B.G.