While on a date at Toot and Kates, a wine bar in Verona, Todd Malcook recalled feeling like his Oregon home was missing its own space where people can go on a date or grab a drink with friends.
So, Malcook and his business partner Steve Dieter created a spot on Main Street for Oregonians.
The Wine Reserve, 113 N. Main St., greeted its first customers on Monday, April 5. Crowds waited outside minutes before the grand opening at 3 p.m. Once they could go inside, people sampled from the fare, ordering refreshments from the bar and flocking to a self-serve wine station.
Dieter said while the business has not yet finalized hours, customers can expect the Wine Reserve to be operational every day at 3 p.m. From Thursday to Saturday, the bar will stay open until around 10 or 11 p.m., he predicted.
Guests can choose from eight red wines, eight white wines as well as a few signature cocktails and a variety of cheeses to accompany the drinks.
Dieter described the bar as classy, but it still has a casual and friendly atmosphere.
The soft lighting, sage green accents and original features from 1914 like the exposed brick and tin ceilings give the wine bar a romantic yet laid-back feeling, Malcook said. The building was formerly the First National Bank.
“I peeked in one day and part of the drywall was chipped and I could see beautiful brick behind it,” Malcook said. “It was just perfect. I’ve always kind of had a vision of what that would look like.”
The two friends and longtime Oregon residents knew they wanted to take on a project together. It was just a question of what, Malcook said. Then, The Wine Reserve became part of Malcook and Dieter’s vision after Malcook sat in Oregon’s living room last year.
While in Firefly Coffeehouse, Malcook said he couldn’t stop eyeing the building across the street. He knew it would be a perfect fit for their wine bar concept, so he got in contact with the owners and in just a few months it was transformed into The Wine Reserve.
Not only were the features a great fit, but Malcook said that getting a downtown location right on Main Street was crucial. After a challenging year for small businesses, he wanted his entrepreneurial efforts to boost and revitalize Oregon’s downtown by bringing more customers to the area.
“There’s not a lot of choices in Oregon — places to sit down where you can picture yourself sitting for hours and kind of lose yourself and lose track of time,” Malcook said. “We’ve always been wine lovers and just thought something like that could go well here in town.”
Dieter said he liked the idea right away. So, the two went to Toot and Kates together to speak with the owners and get a sense of what they wanted their own wine bar to look like. And after months of scouting properties, building furniture, perfecting details and spreading the word on social media, he said he’s excited to open and share their hard work with the community.
It’s been exciting having the idea “come to life,” Dieter said.
It has been a tough and divisive year, Malcook said. He and Dieter hope that this is a place where people can run into friends, pull up a chair and just have fun.
“I hope that it just becomes a place where people want to come in and interact with their neighbors and friends in the community,” Dieter said.