Reprinted from the Northwest Florida Daily News:
SHALIMAR — As a culture, we’ve lost something. Even when out with friends, people are just as likely to stare at their phones and watch TV as they are to talk to one another.
Twisted Grape Wine owners Kathleen and Steven “Bruno” Windham and Debbie Thomas wanted to bring back the sense of community with their new wine bar and restaurant that opened earlier this month in Shalimar. There are no TVs, just wine, some beer, good food and an eclectic style that encourages guests to talk to one another.
“We felt Shalimar needed something a little different,” Kathleen said. “We wanted people to come in, have good food, good drinks and be able to socialize.
“We’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” she added. “We’ve been working on it for roughly about a year.”
Twisted Grape has about 30 different wines available now and the owners plan to update their wine list regularly. For those non-wine drinkers, Twisted Grape also has some sparkling wine cocktails and beers.
While developing the wine bar, the owners decided on the Twisted Grape name pretty early after stumbling upon the Twisted brand of wine from California.
Another special brand of wine offered at Twisted Grape is the Homefront Red Blend, where a percentage of every bottle sold goes to Operation Homefront, which helps service members’ families.
Since opening earlier this month, Twisted Grape has already hosted some limited wine tastings, but that’s something they hope to expand in April, Thomas said.
Similar to the décor, Bruno said the menu at Twisted Grape is eclectic.
The menu includes different flatbreads and paninis, as well as meat and cheese plates.
Because his father was in the Air Force, Bruno grew up in Europe and remembers eating ploughman’s lunches while there, which is basically a big chunk of cheese, a big chunk of bread and a big chunk of meat.
Bruno has added a twist to the ploughman’s lunch. The ploughman’s platter features fruit, cheese, meat, bread, bacon jam, pickles and stone ground mustard.
Although Twisted Grape is only open for dinner for now, the owners hope to open for lunch in the future.
“Everyone that’s come in has been very satisfied,” Bruno said. “They’re posting of Facebook and they’re telling their friends, which is what we were hoping for.”
Twisted Grape is located at 1193 Eglin Parkway, across from the Dollar General, and is open from 11am-9pm Mondays through Thursdays and from 11am to 10 p.m. Fridays and 5pm to 10pm Saturdays.
The wine bar is closed on Sundays.