Over the past year many of Hoboken’s waterfront operators have upgraded or expanded wine lists. The move stems from a growing familiarly with the sophisticated, 30-plus Hoboken customer and the hope that the new W Hotel will bring more upscale traffic.
“This is definitely a wine customer,” says Kerri Ann Sweeten, general manager and managing partner at 3 Forty Grill, which recently doubled offerings with the addition of reserve reds 3 Forty now serves 50 wines. Reserve reds Domaine Drouhin 2003 Laurene Pinot Noir from Oregon for $99 and Angelo Gaja 2004 Ca’Marcanda Magari from Tuscany for $134. These join Australian, French, American and other Italian wines.
The Melting Pot’s 100-plus Hoboken wine list is one of the chain’s most extensive. Franchisee Nirav Patel, says Kendra Shier, vice president of brand development, “has maximized the capabilities of what we do” by hand-picking additions to the corporate-mandated list.
Nirav’s 10-page list offers everything from $20 wine selections up to those priced at $3,000. The Champagne and sparkling wine page, for example, includes Castello Banfi 2007 Brachetto d’Acqui “Rosa Regale” from Piedmont, Italy for $24 per bottle along with Perrier-Jouët, 2000 Brut Fleur de Champagne Belle Époque for $450.
“This audience is more on-trend and into trying new wines,” adds Bob Margait, Melting Pot’s franchise business consultant for the Northeast.
The W Hotel’s new Zylo restaurant emphasizes Italian wines and food and is run by Chicago-based Cornerstone Group, which operates four restaurants for W. Scott Aseltine, Zylo’s general manager, says that the restaurant’s 100 wines cover “every region of Italy” and include wines from Piedmont and Super Tuscans. Most are priced from $28 to $48. “We’re not looking to offer 1,000 bottles. We want wines to be fun, cool, interesting and approachable. Some lesser-known wineries are doing great things.” Fourteen wines are sold by the glass, priced from $8 to $11. Zylo also serves about 20 Grappas, bitters and Italian dessert wines.
Wines compliment pastas, pizzas, steaks and other Italian-style foods. Dishes are prepared with high quality olive oils and fresh mozzarella, says Aseltine. Entrees average $20. Servers, he adds, go through weekly training sessions. We teach them to evaluate customers. We want them to make it interesting and not just spit out wine facts.”
Well-priced wines are also a focus at Gaelic-inspired Trinity Restaurant. After five years, Trinity believes it can also sell some higher priced reserve wines to the “more affluent” customers who dine in Hoboken on weekends as well as W patrons, says chef and partner David Hawkins.
Trinity’s 70 existing wines are priced from $25 to $30 per bottle. Wines are primarily from Washington State, South America, Italy and France. Twenty reserve wines, priced $100 to $500 are slated to include French, California and Super Tuscan wines, says Hawkins.
The Quay’s Bar & Restaurant features selections from small-lot artisanal producers like Sybille Kuntz and Château Musar from Lebanon as well as from Shafer Vineyards, Caymus and Duckhorn Vineyards. Emphasis is on seafood entrees in the $24 range, says proprietor Richie Brown.
On the Waterfront