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11 Great Family-Owned Restaurants with a Tradition of Wine

At these spots, wine and dining are close to home
Photo by: Amy Mikler
"Does a wine program this big make sense for a small family restaurant? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. But we love wine." —Diane Fiorentino, co-owner with husband, Marcello, of Marcello's La Sirena

Posted: May 17, 2016

Updated: Nov. 8, 2018

For many, food and wine mean family time, whether that's preparing a meal together in the kitchen, dining out for a special occasion, treasuring a recipe passed down through generations or enjoying a glass at the end of the day. But for restaurants that are also family-owned businesses, that connection takes on an even deeper meaning. Here are 11 dining destinations that are the life's work and pride of a family, be it husband and wife, brother and sister, one generation or multiple.

This is only a partial guide to family-style ownership. Others with great lists have appeared in past restaurant guides, including Grand Award winners Acquerello in San Francisco, Bern's Steak House in Tampa, Fla., Bleu Provence in Naples, Fla., Canlis in Seattle, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas and Houston, and Commander's Palace in New Orleans.

To check out more great wine-and-dining spots across the globe, see Wine Spectator’s more than 3,700 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including our 91 Grand Award recipients.

Do you have a favorite family-owned restaurant you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com—we want to hear from you!


Marcello's La Sirena

6316 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Telephone (561) 585-3128
Website www.lasirenaonline.com
Open Dinner, Monday to Saturday
Grand Award

Andrew Meade
Dine in the wine cellar at Marcello’s La Sirena, surrounded by some of the 6,425-bottle inventory.

In 1996, following his father’s death, Marcello Fiorentino was helping out in the dining room of his parents' Italian restaurant in West Palm Beach when he realized the wine program’s potential for growth. At that time, the wine list he inherited offered just 12 reds and 12 whites; today, the list at Marcello’s La Sirena has 1,440 selections, including 75 choices under $50. While Marcello captains the cellar and kitchen, his wife, Diane, is the general manager, and the two co-own the Florida institution, which earned its first Restaurant Award in 1999 and its first Grand Award in 2015 for strengths in Italy, especially Tuscany, as well as California and Bordeaux.


Opus Restaurant on Prince Arthur

37 Prince Arthur Ave., Toronto
Telephone (416) 921-3105
Website www.opusrestaurant.com
Open Dinner, daily
Grand Award

Opus Restaurant on Prince Arthur
At Opus Restaurant on Prince Arthur, a Grand Award–winning list complements the European menu.

Brothers Tony and Mario Amaro opened Opus Restaurant on Prince Arthur in 1992 in Toronto’s upscale Yorkville neighborhood with the goal of making it a wine lover’s destination. It’s safe to say they achieved their vision: With an ambitious list from the start, the restaurant earned its first Best of Award of Excellence in 1996 and its first Grand Award in 2002. Today, diners can choose from 2,100 selections backed by an inventory of 52,000 bottles, with strengths in Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, the Rhône, Tuscany, Australia and Spain. There’s also an impressive Port collection and a page devoted to local Ontario producers, to pair with chef Jason Cox’s continental cuisine.


Columbia Restaurant

2025 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, Fla.
Telephone (813) 248-4961
Website www.columbiarestaurant.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Columbia Restaurant
Richard Gonzmart is the fourth-generation owner of Columbia Restaurant.

Since it opened in 1905, Columbia Restaurant has grown from a modest café serving Cuban sandwiches and coffee to a Best of Award of Excellence–winning restaurant with 1,000 wine labels. Today the eatery is operated by the founder's great-grandchildren, Richard and Casey Gonzmart. Diners can still enjoy the classic sandwich made with Columbia Restaurant's original recipe, alongside other Cuban and Spanish dishes from chef Geraldo Bayona. Jim Garris manages the wine program, which offers an extensive collection of Spanish wines and standout picks from California.


Five Fifty-Five

555 Congress St., Portland, Maine
Telephone (207) 761-0555
Website www.fivefifty-five.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Jeff Roberts
California wines shine on the 350-selection list at Five Fifty-Five.

From husband-and-wife chef-and-wine director team Steve and Michelle Corry, Five Fifty-Five in Portland, Maine, boasts the city’s most expansive Restaurant Award–winning wine list. Curated by Michelle, the 350-label list is moderately priced and strongest in California and France, particularly Burgundy and Bordeaux. When it comes to food-and-wine pairings, chef Steve’s contemporary cuisine opens up a bevy of possibilities, with dishes such as Maine mussels and pan-seared swordfish.


The Hobbit

2932 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, Calif.
Telephone (714) 997-1972
Website www.hobbitrestaurant.com
Open Dinner, Wednesday to Sunday
Best of Award of Excellence

The Hobbit
Husband-and-wife team Michael and Debra Philippi own the historic Hobbit Restaurant.

A restored, three-story home in Orange, Calif., serves as the backdrop for a unique dining experience at the Hobbit. The evening takes place in three "acts" and costs $92 per person. The French cuisine is prepared by chef Michael Philippi, who bought the restaurant from his parents in the late 1970s and now owns it with his wife, Debra. It all starts in the wine cellar, where guests enjoy small bites and a glass of Champagne. Act II consists of three courses in the dining room. Then there's a brief intermission, during which guests are invited to roam the property before returning to their seats for Act III, a palate cleanser and entrées, followed by dessert. For an additional $50, pairings are available from wine director Matthew McKinney's list, which is strongest in California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy and Germany.


Knife and Fork Inn

3600 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City, N.J.
Telephone (609) 344-1133
Website www.knifeandforkinn.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Knife and Fork Inn
Knife and Fork Inn has been an Atlantic City wine destination for decades.

Atlantic City's then-mayor William Riddle and his friends opened a men's club here in 1912. After federal agents raided the club for openly serving alcohol during Prohibition, it was sold to locals Milton and Evelyn Latz, who converted the space into the Knife and Fork Inn. It stayed in the Latz family until it was sold to Frank and Maureen Dougherty in 2005, so it's been family-owned for more than 90 years. Today the restaurant features a 780-selection wine list managed by wine director Ryan Bray and a menu of steak-house and seafood classics by chef Jim Huntzinger. Guests will find plenty of outstanding labels from California, France (especially Burgundy) and Italy.


The Manor

111 Prospect Ave., West Orange, N.J.
Telephone (973) 731-2360
Website www.themanorrestaurant.com
Open Lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Sunday
Best of Award of Excellence

David Verdini
Twenty acres of manicured gardens provide a stunning backdrop to a meal at Best of Award of Excellence winner the Manor.

Owned by the Knowles family in West Orange, N.J., Best of Award of Excellence winner the Manor has held a Restaurant Award since 1986. Founder Harry Knowles opened the restaurant in the 1950s as the supper club Bow & Arrow Manor before transforming it into the fine-dining establishment it is today. Now, the list is managed by wine director Michael Cammarano and offers 730 selections, with a focus on California, France (especially Burgundy and Bordeaux) and Italy.


The Pointe Restaurant

Wickaninnish Inn, Osprey Lane at Chesterman Beach, Tofino, British Columbia
Telephone (250) 725-3106
Website www.wickinn.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Kyler Vos
Charles and Bruce McDiarmid are part of the family that's owned the Wickaninnish Inn since 1996.

Inspired by the rugged natural beauty of Tofino, a small peninsula in British Columbia with sandy beaches, lakes and a wild rainforest, Howard McDiarmid helped establish the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in 1971. With its opening, the original Wickaninnish Inn was converted into the park’s marine interpretive center, sparking McDiarmid’s vision of building a modern hotel at the site. In 1996, the McDiarmid family helped bring this dream to reality, opening the Wickaninnish Inn and the Pointe Restaurant, which has earned Restaurant Awards every year since 2002 and a Best of Award Excellence since 2007. Sommelier Ike Seaman’s 620-selection list continues the McDiarmid legacy of championing local producers, shining a spotlight on Canadian wines, as well as California and France.


The Red Lion Inn

30 Main St., Stockbridge, Mass.
Telephone (413) 298-5545
Website www.redlioninn.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

The Red Lion Inn
The Fitzpatrick family has owned and operated the Red Lion Inn for four decades.

Owned by the Fitzpatrick family since 1968, the Red Lion Inn is now led by Nancy Fitzpatrick, the landmark’s second-generation owner. With a rich history dating to the late 18th century, the restaurant boasts a 535-selection wine list, offering favorites from California, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Italy. Chef Brian Alberg’s menu features contemporary American cuisine inspired by the inn’s history, focusing on local, seasonal ingredients.


Toscana

11633 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles
Telephone (310) 820-2448
Website www.toscanabrentwood.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Rob Stark Photography
Toscana serves northern Italian cuisine in a trattoria-inspired setting.

In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood, Toscana aims to treat every guest like family. Owned by husband-and-wife team Michael and Kathie Gordon, this hot spot combines Tuscan influences with a California setting. Wine director Samantha Johnston’s 340-selection wine list shares this dual emphasis, highlighting gems from both Italy and California.


The Dundee Bistro

100-A S.W. Seventh St., Dundee, Ore.
Telephone (503) 554-1650
Website www.dundeebistro.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

The Dundee Bistro
Some of the Dundee Bistro’s 1,550-bottle inventory is on display in the dining room.

One could say that the wine program at the Dundee Bistro, owned by the Ponzi family of acclaimed Willamette Valley winery Ponzi Vineyards, was destined for success. The restaurant’s moderately priced, Award of Excellence–winning list is overseen by wine director Mark Jacobsmeyer, with guidance from the Ponzis, and provides a special focus on local Oregon Pinot Noirs, offering over 60 options. Guests can also choose from local Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling. Chef Ryan Clark’s menu blends Pacific Northwestern and Italian influences, using locally sourced and sustainable ingredients to create a variety of pastas, pizzas, meats and salads.


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John Eagan
Beverly Hills  —  May 17, 2016 12:27pm ET
Toscana wile a very good restaurant has a price - not just a lot of $'s but a lot of attitude. San Vincente has probably a dozen Italian restaurants that are worth trying From Amici to Pecorino; Goran at Divino (formerly with Toscana) is the most gracious owner of any Italian restaurant in the area. Remember it's a TOTAL dining experience!
Dr Steven Krouse
Osprey, Fl —  May 23, 2016 6:46pm ET
I was pleasantly surprised to see Roessler's restaurant mentioned. It has been a long time favorite and I agree with your assessment of the moderate pricing of their wine. Very traditional menu that is consistently excellent and the property that it is located on is spectacular.

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