As its name implies, a wine-country vibe infuses TableVine, downtown Sacramento’s newest “casual dining” restaurant. But those inspirational vineyards go far beyond California, and TableVine is working on a wine list to match.
“It’s just in its infancy, but it’s a world (wine) list,” explained Dan Sneed, TableVine’s owner. “The food is meant to go with the wine on our list.”
TableVine, which opened Nov. 30, moved into the space that was formerly home to Bistro Michel at 1501 14th St., a block south of Capitol Park. It’s open for lunch and dinner weekdays, dinner only Saturdays and brunch Sundays.
As a restaurant operator and manager, Sneed has a lengthy résumé. Working with Selland Family Restaurants, he served as general manager at Ella Dining Room on K Street. He also was general manager for The Park complex (Mason’s Restaurant, Ma Jong’s Asian Diner, The Park Lounge and The Park To Go) at 15th and L streets. Before coming to Sacramento, he worked with famed San Francisco chef Gary Danko as well as managed The Dining Room at San Francisco’s Ritz-Carlton. Most recently, he owned Pearl on the River on Garden Highway.
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Q: What inspired you to open a wine-country restaurant in the city?
A: We had just sold Pearl on the River and were looking for another restaurant when this opportunity opened up; that was only about one and a half months ago. (Capitol Area Development Authority) was very encouraging. We really love the neighborhood; it’s a beautiful area south of the Capitol.
When we were talking about (what this restaurant would be), I had just got back from Italy, drinking wine, eating great food. I wanted to create the feel of a wine country living room where people could go and just relax, a little escape from the city where you could pop in and have a glass of wine or a quick cup of espresso in a real porcelain cup – not paper – and you could just take your time, take a moment for yourself. And, if hungry, have a good meal at an affordable price in a full-service restaurant with a great staff.
Q: Scott McNamara, who was the executive chef at Bistro Michel, is now your executive chef. How did that happen?
A: The timing was just right. Scott had just left Brasserie Capitale. I knew he was familiar with the kitchen (at TableVine) and he lives in the neighborhood. We were really lucky. … At the Bistro, Scott cooked French, but … he can cook lots of different things. The Portuguese kale and white bean soup has been very well received. So have the clams (served with chorizo, white wine, tomato, garlic and red chili flakes). I’m a big riesling fan, so I love the pork chop with Alsatian potatoes.
Q: Wine plays a big part in TableVine?
A: Definitely. Our wines influence our food. … We have bottles from $20 to $3,500; Old World as well as new. We want people to fall in love with a wine that they never tried before.
Q: What do you like about TableVine’s location?
A. I’ve had a lot of experience in downtown, especially on K Street, but the restaurants up there are aimed at lobbyists. South of Capitol (Park), it’s more cost-conscious. We’re trying to draw 70,000 state workers. We also want to be a neighborhood restaurant. Within 500 feet of our front door are 448 residences; that’s very high density. We want to welcome our neighbors to our casual dining restaurant. We see them walking to work every morning and home again at night – we love the foot traffic.
Longtime restaurateur opens new wine-country-themed neighborhood restaurant in downtown Sacramento.