Restaurateurs Ilyssa Satter and Joe Campanale have uncorked their new Park Slope wine bar.
Bar Vinazo, the new Spanish wine bar, is officially open in Park Slope, and comes as the brainchild of the couple who previously brought the tastes of Europe to Prospect Heights — feeding hungry customers at Fausto and LaLou.
Located at 158 7th Avenue, right off the corner of 1st Street, the new spot offers a variety of biodynamic wines, authentic tapas and Spanish dishes, carefully sourced products, and a walk-in-friendly back patio.
The name, Vinazo, can be translated directly as “great wine.”
And, to make sure the place lives up to its name, the restaurateurs put together a dream team to create their new spot.
Spanish chef Silvia Garcia-Nevado, from Manhattan’s three-decades-old staple restaurant, Prune, designed a menu including her grandmother’s recipe for pollo en pitoria, classic bites like Spanish tortilla, traditional fideuà to share, a long list of tinned fish, and other food thought out to work with the wine menu including cheeses.
Sylvia was born in Barcelona but grew up in Brooklyn. She insisted on having a leg of Cinco Jotas, acorn-fed dry-aged ham from Andalucia at the bar to offer fresh cuts. The scraps from it end up in the croquetas with manchego cheese.
James Beard Foundation Award nominee for Outstanding Restaurant Design Matthew Matty and 2014 Eater Award finalist for best-looking restaurant Nico Arze, co-founders of Walk and Talk Consulting, a design-and-build firm that specializes in custom-made hospitality joints, took care of the space. The former toy store is now unrecognizable. Light-colored pine wood covers the walls from floor to ceiling, exhibiting the bottles of wine behind a terra-cotta bar and giving a minimalistic and zen vibe.
Leaving its past life behind allowed for a hidden gem to be revealed. A two-level back patio, with enough space for 40 seats, half of them designated for drop-in wanderers, is framed by a growing vine, one of Satter’s favorite features of the bar.
The true axis, the wine menu of over 150, was curated with one criterion — they are produced by “young and dynamic” lesser-known winemakers, said Campanale. Vinazo will feature 15 to 20 natural wines by the glass.
“Spain has been having a revolution for the last 10 or 15 years,” said the sommelier. “Every wine we choose is made by an artisan, with indigenous grapes. Those make the wine with the most amount of identity, grown organically and biodynamically.”
Campanale wants patrons to be able to stay for a long time at the bar and turn what could be a quick trip for a drink into dinner. For that, he found the kind of wine that could enhance a feeling of comfort.
“We picked the best that are not too high in alcohol so that they’ll go well with food and so that they won’t affect people’s bodies,” he said. “When they get too high on alcohol levels, they get very ripe and the fruit notes get too jammy but you lose all the earthy flavors.”
The New York native opened his first restaurant Dell’anima in Hell’s Kitchen when he was only 23 and many more after that, all with one thing in common, they celebrated natural wine programs. In 2013, Food & Wine magazine named Campanale “Sommelier of the Year.”
After living in Brooklyn for the last 10 years, he and Satter found their own way to integrate themselves into the community.
“We are passionate about creating more neighborhood restaurants,” said Satter, creative director of this project. “It’s important for us to create high-end dining and experiences in our own backyard. We want to offer options that are sophisticated without being stuffy.”
[Photos by Liz CLayman]
Editor’s note: A version of this story originally ran in Brooklyn Paper. Click here to see the original story.