A taste of Italy comes to Cambridge Square in Ooltewah
A philospher once said that they key to happiness is to live your dream, no matter what that dream may be. “We have a photo hanging over the bar that shows me at a vineyard in Sonoma,” says Wine Down owner Marcus Garner. “Every time I look at that picture it reminds me I’m living my dream, right here in Ooltewah.”
Garner and his wife Georgia look to bring some of that countryside vineyard vibe to Cambridge Square in Ooltewah with Wine Down. The square’s Spanish and Italian architecture provide a perfect setting for the wine bar and gastropub.
“We wanted to bring a quaint, intimate setting here,” he says. “We recently returned from the Napa Valley and found we related more to the smaller wineries than the larger ones.” Dealing with the smaller wineries allows Garner to bring in some vintages the big wineries cannot offer. “It really gets down to being more creative and gives me more freedom,” he says.
Garner moved to Ooltewah a few years ago, accepting the position of general manager at Hennen’s downtown. With the explosion of homeowners in the area, Garner felt he could fill a void in the local market. “Lots of my customers don’t want to drive to the Hamilton Place area,” he says “Especially when a complex like Cambridge Square can offer dining and entertainment so close by.”
Look for a casual, relaxed environment. “It is our goal for everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy Wine Down. You will be greeted by our attentive staff wearing their 'Wine Down' T-shirts. Once our clients are seated, they will immediately start to relax in our rustic, comfortable space,” Garner says.
Asked if a wine bar is too intimidating for the Ooltewah area, Garner says he is ready to erase the stigma of a 'wine bar.' “We are the opposite of pretentious and highbrow,” he says. From the novice wine drinker that wants to learn more or just enjoy a glass of wine, to the experienced wine connoisseur, Garner wants to share his love of wine with others through regular tastings and special events.
Meat, cheese and wine pairings add to the countryside feel of Wine Down. High-end spirits, high-gravity beers and handmade cocktails will also be a staple at the bar. They also feature a seasonal menu of shareable appetizers, sandwiches and salads.
Garner hopes the atmosphere will encourage people to stop in after work or take an evening to taste and pair wine with his unique menu offerings. Truffle Fries and a Charcuterie Board stick out as distinct culinary selections.
“We have lived all over the United States but now want to settle down,” says Garner. He and his wife are the proud parents of 4-year-old Jacob. “We want to build relationships and foster the community. We feature local art in the restaurant and encourage anyone to learn more about the cool, ever-growing wine scene.”
Wine Down has recently expanded its hours to include lunch, along with a Sunday brunch featuring a special food and cocktail menu.