Happy Hour Comes to Collingswood
Collingswood, NJ…This famously dry town is going wet. Sort of.
Beginning this week, The Tortilla Press and Bistro Di Marino will begin offering guests an amenity not seen before in Collingswood – the opportunity to buy a bottle or half bottle of wine on premise to enjoy with their meal. Through a New Jersey state winery licensing program, both restaurants have teamed up with Sharrott Winery to furnish them with a diverse list of wines to pair with their menus. Wine sale proceeds go directly to the winery.
Two years ago, a new law was passed that allowed NJ wineries to have additional retail outlets. The law was intended to promote the winery industry, keep farmers farming and preserve open space.
“I’m delighted,” says Tortilla Press Chef Owner Mark Smith. “For years I offered virgin pitchers of Sangria to our guests – now I get a chance to serve the real thing.” Jimmy Marino of Bistro Di Marino agrees. “It adds a great dimension to our restaurants and is the perfect accompaniment for both our cuisines – Italian and Mexican. My guests are going to love the long list of wine only cocktails they can now enjoy this spring in our outdoor open air courtyard.”
Viewing the town’s packed seats and full restaurants on a Friday or Saturday night, Smith says, “You’d never know there was a need for alcohol in this town.” But he adds, “The challenge is on weekdays where the convenience of having wine at your fingertips makes the difference. Wine from our NJ farmers adds a mellow and wonderful touch to our meals and allows us to offer specialty nights during the week to drum up extra business.” Smith and Marino are both busy with several joint promotions, including Happy Hour Tuesdays, Sangria nights, wine cooking classes and wine dinners. Guests who enjoy the BYO concept may still bring their own wine.
Sharrott was chosen for their award winning wines and especially for their diverse selection of Sangrias. Smith, an active participant in the town’s Farmers Market, tasted Sharrott’s “Just Peachy” Sangria during his culinary promotion of New Jersey peaches two years ago. “I was hooked on the freshness of the flavor from that minute.” In 2014, New Jersey was home to 48 licensed and operating wineries which produced wine from more than 90 varieties of grapes and over 25 other fruits, including strawberries, blueberries and cranberries.
Smith will begin offering Sharrott wines on Monday, May 5th (“A great Cinco de Mayo present,” he explains) and Marino will begin on Tuesday, May 6th. After Mother’s Day the two restaurants will collaborate on Wednesday, May 14th with a celebration to formally kick off what Marino calls “Collingswood’s new era.” Offering Tapas “small plates,” for the evening, both restaurants will host Sharrott Winery owner Larry Sharrott and his staff who will conduct a wine sampling and talk about New Jersey vineyards. The rollout will begin at 4pm and continue throughout the evening. The regular a la carte menu will be available at both restaurants. Reservations are recommended. Call The Tortilla Press at 856 869 3345 or Bistro Di Marino at 856 858 1700.
Sharrott Winery is located in Winslow, NJ. This year at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, they won the Double Gold (for Vignoles) and Silver medals (Dry Riesling, Dry Rose and Vidal Blanc). Their Barrel Reserve Chardonnay won the Gold in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.