On Thursday, March 29, Shirlington wine emporium the Curious Grape reopens officially with a new wine bar, retail shop, and private event space. "We wanted everything under one roof," says co-owner Suzanne McGrath, a trained pastry chef who serves as the Grape's general manager and will be making desserts. The retail section will continue to stay global in its selection, stocking the wines McGrath believes are the best values at their price points.
The Curious Grape will open with its winter menu, which includes dishes such as chicken thigh with cannellini bean stew and braised lamb shoulder (see the slideshow for pictures of the food). McGrath says she selected executive chef Eric McKamey--who has previously toiled at Passionfish and Local 16--in part for his versatility and willingness to toy with different styles and cuisines. In addition to the regular wine-bar menu, he'll be creating meals for special events. The Curious Grape will work with diners to put out meals focused on wine regions, varietals, etc., as well as events and classes that showcase its carefully curated cheese and chocolate inventory. Public wine tasting and pairing classes will also be offered in the back dining room.
For bean nerds who wander the Washington area in search of a really good cup of coffee, the cafe will be worth a try. Coffee manager Chris Phair will be pouring drinks made with Counter Culture and Novo coffees, and there will be beans on hand from the likes of Stumptown and Intelligentsia. The new wine shop is tucked into the retail level of a 600-person office building, and there's a grab-and-go counter with sandwiches and other lunch items. Customers who just want to pop in for a bottle of wine can still do that, too: The shop stocks between 250 and 300 bottles at a time, and most of the selections on the wine-bar menu will be available to go, as well.
The Curious Grape. 2900 South Quincy St., Arlington; 703-671-8700; curiousgrape.com. Wine shop open Sunday and Monday 11 to 8; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 11 to 9; Friday and Saturday 11 to 10. Cafe open Monday through Sunday 7:30 AM to 8 PM. Wine Bar open Tuesday and Wednesday 5 PM to 9 PM; Thursday through Saturday 5 to 10; Sunday 5 to 9.