Somm Insider Vol. 15 ~ Dvine Bistro & Wine Bar
In the years I’ve been writing about wine, Dvine Bistro & Wine Bar in Chandler was definitely one of my favorite interviews. For starters, when I walked in I had this overwhelming urge to slide onto one of their barstools, taste delicious wines and graze on tapas all afternoon. As I sat with Manager and Director of Private Events, Kelli MacFadyen, I couldn’t help but notice how engaged she was with her customers while still focusing our interview. It was nice to hear customers call her by name, making it evident that this place has plenty of regulars.
Dvine Bisto & Wine Bar in Chandler (now open 11 years) is the sister restaurant of their Mesa location (open 14 years). Robert Coulson and his wife bought both locations in 2011. Robert is a musician and played the bass guitar during wine tastings at the Mesa location for years prior to owning the restaurants.
“Robert is an inspirational guy with quite a story,” says Kelli . “He jumped in a van and played in a band in his hippy days. He doesn’t play here anymore. When he’s here he feels the need to make sure he’s focused on the customers at all times.”
When asked about the food and wine pairings Kelli said, “Chef Ramon Rice is the heart and soul of this place. He puts his blood, sweat and tears into both locations and every recipe is his own. My favorite pairing is probably the Averaen Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley with our Caribbean Pig Wings.”
Chef Ramon, who has been with Dvine since 2005, peeked around the corner and said, “I just like to cook as long as it tastes good. However, one of my favorite pairings is our Corkscrew Salad, Squid Ink and Charred Octopus with the Von Winnings Riesling from Germany.” Kelli added that they shared that particular pairing out on the patio with Arizona winemaker Sam Pillsbury. “We are big supporters of Pillsbury Wine Company and Sam is a friend and patron of both restaurants.”
Kelli has been in the restaurant industry for 12 years and her hospitality shows. When asked about their hours of operation she chuckled, “Technically we close at nine or ten pm, but we encourage customers to call and see if we are still pouring, and if we are, we’ll happily stay open.” Talk about a neighborhood vibe!
It was easy to see they all support each other and maintain quality food and customer service while keeping a fun work environment. There is much competition in the restaurant industry, so being in business this long is proof they are doing things right.
“There can be some stuffiness in this industry and we never want to be that way,” says Ramon. Kelli added that there were 26 competitors in the area, as opposed to maybe two or three, when they first opened. “We have to stay fresh and current. We want to introduce new things and keep favorites. We are re-investing in a cocktail program to attract customers who aren’t just wine drinkers.”
Dvine is divine, and I hope you will make it your next lunch or dinner stop. Hours of operation are Monday – Wednesday 11am-9pm, Thursday – Saturday 11am-10pm, and closed on Sundays. Happy hour is 2pm-6pm Monday – Friday and 11am-6pm on Saturdays. Live music every Friday and Saturday from 6:30pm – 9:30pm. The Chandler location is at 3990 S. Alma School Road, Chandler AZ 85248. Visit their website for more information: www.dvinebistrochandler.com.
Darla Hoffmann, passed both her Sommelier Level 1 and Certified Level 2 exams with the highest score in her class, earning the esteemed “Walter Clore Scholarship”. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine and Hospitality Beverage under the Society of Wine Educators, and a member of The Wine Century Club. She works in the tasting room of Scottsdale’s LDV Wine Gallery, has written for City Sun Times, MYnewsMesa, and The Society of Wine Educators’ website. Darla is the sole proprietor of About Wine, which focuses on wine education and marketing through means of tastings, classes, and promotions. She conducts customized classes at various restaurants and events in Phoenix. For more info, visit: www.aboutwineinaz.com.