Work has already begun to transform the space with new tile work, a new bar top, and other cosmetic changes. Look for an opening in early November, if all goes according to plan.
Chef-owner Daniel Wolfe tells CultureMap that City Cellars evolved out of his Wolfe & Wine catering company. Originally, Wolfe set out to find a dedicated kitchen for that business, but opted to make the leap to a full restaurant and wine bar once he saw the space. The graduate of the Conrad Hilton College at the University of Houston says he sees the concept as a neighborhood spot that could eventually grow to multiple locations.
City Cellars will build its food menu around the fare Wolfe has served at a popular series of wine dinners. Originally developed as a way to further his relationships with his rodeo committee, the dinners can feature everything from Chilean sea bass and scallops to a ribeye from 44 Farms.
Mac and cheese, one of Wolfe’s most popular dishes, will come topped with a rotating selection of meats, including wild boar, pulled pork, and bacon. In keeping with the times, the menu will be available to-go, and Wolfe adds he may also include some of the prepared meals he sells under his Dinner Winners brand. Regardless of the item, dishes are made from scratch.
“We’re focused on using local ingredients, fresh ingredients,” Wolfe says. “For example we’re working with a company called Bee2Bee Honey; the honey we’re using is pollinated by bees in our zip code. That’s about as local as you can get.”
Houston honey won’t be the only local ingredient on the menu. Wolfe adds that he prefers to source as much from local vendors as possible, even his hand soap.
“I went through multiple funding rounds and got rejected countless times,” he says. “What I want to do with City Cellars is represent the amazing talent in our city, the amazing small businesses, and put them on the menu.”
On the beverage side, City Cellars will differentiate itself from most wine bars by offering both wine and spirits. Wolfe is working with sommeliers Stephanie Franklin and Dominic Byrd on both his wine and cocktail lists. While he isn’t quite read to commit to featuring wines from any specific reason, he does state that City Cellars will use wine flights to help customers dial sample new wines they’re likely to enjoy.
One thing is certain — Wolfe’s new neighbors are looking forward to City Cellars.
“We’re getting 10 to 20 people a day walking in the door. A couple times an hour, people walk in, ‘what is this.’” he says.
“The number one thing we’re hearing is people are so excited we’re coming to the neighborhood.”