If you only go to one restaurant opening in North Idaho this year, it needs to be this one.
Excitement has been brewing around the development of the new restaurant Vine and Olive, a project by restaurateur Naomi Boutz, formerly of the Wine Cellar. Naomi is not just a passionate restaurant owner, and deeply knowledgeable about wine, but she is also positively incandescent when she describes the design of her new space - a 94 seat restaurant and bar in the Riverstone complex in Coeur d’ Alene.
“This will all be barnwood, and this wall, I’m making this chalkboard draft menu, and it will feature 8 drafts. They’ll all be local, Northwest drafts, and the menu for it will be updated with the ABV and the IBU and people like to know that. I want the decor to be beautiful, but highly functional as well.”
Her vision for the space unfolded vividly and colorfully through as we walked around the construction site and she described the design elements she carefully chose after months of careful planning. “One of my favorite things about the restaurant is going to be a floor to ceiling world map mural...” she mused. “It’s just going to cultivate all kinds of conversations. You can look at a map forever. It’s so beautiful."
(Image courtesy of Naomi Boutz)
With regard to the ambiance, she doesn’t want it to be fussy. Naomi envisions customers who can come and enjoy a beer, or enjoy a date night out - it is intended to be a gathering place for anyone who loves food and exceptional beer and wine. “It won’t look too fancy, it will be comfortable and approachable, but chic. I can’t express how excited I am about this.” The bar top is made of a treated concrete, and there are brick details and bold colors throughout. Construction continues through November, and it should be ready for its soft opening for family and friends by November 21st.
(Image Courtesy of Northwest Concrete)
There is a room slated for special events, to include her Wine Club meetings, and it’s going to be a spectacular space. The table was designed by Shawn Kingsbury of Pura Vida Recovery, and it has been built by individuals recovering from addiction, and who are learning a trade to help them in their journey. She will have wine boxes in the private dining space that is floor to ceiling with a ladder system, and each bin will be labeled with the owner’s name. It adds a sophisticated, extra-special touch for such a unique space.
The wines are going to be stored on antique bookcases to promote accessibility and an informal feel. She wants the wines to be dynamic and changing on a regular basis, to encourage excitement around the hand-picked selections she will provide to her Wine Club. Light and crisp, and big and Bold will be terms that help define her wine list to make sure that anyone who walks in can select a great wine they will love. “You are constantly exposed to new things in your price point, but they’ll be a sure thing. It is a great way to get exposed to new wineries and winemakers without the risk of picking blindly off of a shelf. You can entertain with these wines, because they’ll always be good.
“Wines do not have to be crazy-expensive to produce a great culinary experience.”
The food is slated to be spectacular. “It’ll be small-plate focused with European influences,” Naomi explains. “My passion has always been European-influenced food, and the sky is the limit. We will have really indulgent things, like a ravioli with bacon and chestnuts and a brown butter sauce, but we will also have health-conscious things like an ancient grain salad and lots of veggies. We will have something for everyone.”
Chef Paul Mason has worked at Girl and the Goat and Next (in 2012 it was James Beard’s Best New Restaurant), and is looking to bring a fresh, simple menu with exceptional flavors to the forefront of the offerings at Vine and Olive. Naomi was very selective in her quest to find just the right chef. Chef Mason's third interview was audacious - it was to make dinner at her house for some friends. She paired wines with each course, and he delighted the diners - including Chef Adam Hegsted of Wandering Table and Level 2 Sommelier Krista French of Midtown Bluebird, who is a close friend and does wine touring with her. Naomi was impressed that every dish was really thoughtful, and still simple and straightforward.
(Pictured: Naomi Boutz - Owner of Vine and Olive)
Naomi's heart for the restaurant industry is abundantly evident in conversation. What got her into the business in the first place was serendipity. While she was going to school, she needed to work part time, and she served a couple of nights a week, later getting her Bachelor’s in Business Administration. As she added responsibilities, she caught the restaurant bug. She was asked to run the wine program at the Wine Cellar, and developed her palate from its former owner, Jim Duncan. When she graduated, she had realized that the restaurant business felt like home. It’s more than just a job to her. Her children often accompanied her to the restaurant before and after school while she worked on the books, and played hide and seek while she completed her to-do list. It turned into a huge part of their life, and she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. “It almost makes me feel like I can’t breathe to think about not being in the hospitality industry,” she said. “You have to be in love with the business, because there are so many hard things about it.”
We welcome you in joining us in supporting this wonderful new restaurant!
Vine and Olive is located at 2037 N. Main Street in Coeur d’ Alene. Their grand opening weekend will be the day after Thanksgiving, November 24th-26th.
For more information on her wine club offerings, feel free to contact Naomi Boutz at email@example.com.