Village Vintner uncorks new winery-brewery-restaurant
By Emily McFarlan email@example.com July 2, 2012 3:52PM
The Vanilla Cream Ale at The Village Vintner in Algonquin, Ill., on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media |
Winery & Brewery
2380 Esplanade Drive,
Updated: August 4, 2012 6:04AM
ALGONQUIN — The Village Vintner Winery & Brewery got its occupancy approved at 3 p.m. Friday, May 25, Bob Boyer said. It got its liquor license at 3:30 p.m. that day.
It posted all this on its Facebook page, and at 5 p.m. that day, it had a full bar, he said.
“We’ve been crazy ever since,” he said.
Village Vintner Winery added “brewery” behind its name when it expanded in May from a winery in Carpentersville to the winery, brewery and restaurant just up Randall Road at 2380 Esplanade Drive, near Algonquin Commons. That makes it just the third combination winery and brewery in Illinois — and the only one in the Chicago area, Steve Boyer has said.
It also added a menu incorporating many of its wines and beers and a wood-fired oven, on view from the restaurant.
The cheddar ale uses stout from the brewery and the sweet and savory cashew and pear woodfire pizza, port from the winery, Bob Boyer said. The cheesy Western Mac, topped with beef brisket and jalapenos, is the most popular, he added.
All this, in a warm, earth-toned space, part pub and part industrial, that can seat more than 100 inside, on the patio or around a large bar at the center of the restaurant. Back are the familiar barrels from the winery, which will begin production again soon in the empty space across the patio from the restaurant.
Steve Boyer went from brewing 10 gallons of beer at a time as a hobby, something he started before he was laid off from his corporate job and started the winery years ago, to two 100-gallon batches a day. That fills the brewery’s three 200-gallon fermenters, on display behind the small wine-tasting bar in the new restaurant.
The grains used in that process go to area farmers afterward, Steve Boyer said.
“Nothing here goes to waste,” he said.
And almost all of the food from Chef Rob Wurster, formerly of Martini’s on Main in Algonquin, is fresh, including the mozzarella made daily, and fired in the wood-fired oven, he added. Nothing is frozen.
The idea for that oven came from the fact, Steve Boyer said, he “loved food that I’ve had at other places that came out of a wood-burning oven like that.”
And Bob Boyer added, “It’s unique.”
Steve Boyer had closed his Carpentersville winery on Dec. 31. At the time, he noted a gloomy economy, a drop in production and an idea for a winery-brewery-restaurant he’d been aging a while.
Enter some private investors and his brother Bob Boyer, who previously ran a 300-seat restaurant.
“We had a lot of responses from people saying, ‘If you had beer, my husband would be here,’ or they’d come in for a tasting and then go out for dinner,” said Bob Boyer, who now oversees the restaurant.
Now that response is “good” on weekdays and “crazy” on weekends, he said. The restaurant runs through 132 pizzas and 20 slabs of ribs on a Saturday, he said.
And, Wurster said, “Eventually, we’ll be named the best ribs in the area.”