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Friday, July 5, 2019

Grape Street Café - Wine Bar & Cellar

Grape Street Café - Wine Bar & Cellar

Great food and drink on a familiar Summerlin street

Story by Robert Gourley

Photography by Colleen Chalmers of Giggle Box Photography


Grape Street is an avenue familiar to many of folks. The semi-new location at Downtown Summerlin is popular with the upscale crowd that visits expansive bar area. The creative Italian/Mediterranean menu is constantly being enhanced and improved. 

John McKibben who practiced his craft at Carlucci’s for many years created the original Grape Street at Lake Mead near Buffalo 19 years ago. The current location is a place where you can spend time with friends and family. The rustic atmosphere, reminiscent of a wine cellar, is awash with bright hues and inspiring slight lines. You can’t miss the huge wine wall occupying most of the middle section of the room. It begins at the top of the bar and rises to the decorative open-beam ceilings. Hundreds of bottles of various vintages reside there and the selection will astound you. If you want to sit outside and people watch, invest some time in the large patio area that fills quickly when the weather is right.

General Manager Bob Merf, a UNLV graduate, is involved with just about aspect of the operation and likes to interact with the customers, and loves to honor requests regarding food and beverage. Most people don’t know that Grape Street also has a retail wine license, so patrons can order a bottle or a few cases of their favorite vintages at competitive prices. If you are in the mood for only one selection, they feature 45 wines by the glass, a huge list not found in too many places in the valley.

When it comes time for food, consider ordering from the appetizer fare. Many people enjoy Burrata with prosciutto, asparagus and roasted red peppers immersed in 18-year old truffle oil. New Zealand Mussels are another favorite, served with a choice of marinara or white wine sauce, plus parmesan cheese. A tapas plate loaded with roasted garlic, Greek meatballs, roasted vegetables, goat cheese cigars and Kalamata olives is great for sharing.

The prices are reasonable, with sandwiches priced at $13.00. I sampled a sumptuous grilled chicken and Emmenthaler Swiss sandwich, accented with smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion and roasted red pepper mayo. The gooey cheese, named after a town in Switzerland, has a slight buttery taste that blends nicely with the other ingredients. If you want a side, there is a charge, but don’t hesitate to order the pasta salad. This one is different from most in that the pasta is cut into little pieces to blend with the rest of the ingredients. You can use a spoon with the finished product, and it is delightful. Another sandwich is a roasted vegetable edition with Roma tomatoes, caramelized onions, zucchini and more. A salmon burger accents health and good taste. 

Salads are eye-catching, with unique homemade dressings. They offer a lemon oregano topping along with sesame ginger, champagne vinaigrette, plus the usual suspects like ranch, blue cheese and Caesar.

Dinner specials continue the Mediterranean theme well. For instance, short ribs are prepared with red wine reduction, accompanied by mushroom risotto and sautéed spinach. Chicken Piccata features slow-roasted free-range meat and leek mashed potatoes. Sesame-crusted Ahi and blackened ribeye steaks are fan favorites.

A quintet of pizzas includes Margherita and a Shrimp Pesto version with roasted red peppers, artichokes, mozzarella and parmesan.

Desserts are highlighted with fondue, something you rarely see these days. Tiramisu and apple tarts are also available.

Specialty libations are a big part of the mix. All ingredients are fresh and regulars rave about the sangria. Summerlin Top Shelf Margaritas are all the rage, made with Tres Agaves, Cointreau and agave syrup. Beer lovers can choose from 20 different brews including a local favorite, Bad Beat made in Henderson.

Happy Hour is Sunday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

A beautiful private dining area designed for wedding receptions and business meetings includes a 120-inch flat screen television with a high definition projection system. There’s an independent sound system with a microphone, and planners can choose from multiple menu selections with cocktails and appetizers.

I always enjoy restaurants that feature the paintings and digital art of local artists. When I visited, there was a collection of black-and-white photos that was pleasant on the eyes. 

The street is bustling. The inspiring food and the ambiance are appealing. Come to Grape Street and become part of their growing family of regulars.


Grape Street Café Wine Bar & Cellar

2120 Festival Plaza Dr. #160, Las Vegas


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