Winslow’s Wine Cafe embodies class and distinction, and makes everyone feel like a ‘regular.’
Winslow’s Wine Cafe is the rare restaurant where every visit feels like a special occasion. This momentous atmosphere is no accident, and comes from the staff’s tireless efforts to make every patron feel like the most important person in the house. At nearly eight years and counting, Winslow’s Wine Cafe has earned its reputation as one of the west side’s locals hangouts of choice; that it’s also a premier destination for special events illustrates the across-the-board excellence that Winslow’s has achieved.
Winslow’s Wine Cafe was created in circumstances similar to the evenings it offers to guests. A pleasant night, a pinion fire, a bottle of wine and conversation between friends — these were the circumstances of the cafe’s origin. Owner Joe Berry paints the scene:
“My nephew was a commercial developer here in Fort Worth,” says Joe. “One night about nine years ago, we had returned from a champagne bar. He explained he was thinking about selling his company. We had a bottle of wine and talked about opening a wine cafe. Another bottle of wine, some more pinion, and we decided we’d need a pizza oven. By two in the morning, we were trying to figure out a name.”
As if on cue, Joe’s beloved heeler, Winslow, walked out on the porch. The stars thus aligned, Winslow’s Wine Cafe began its march toward reality. The first step, for Joe at least, was to tender his resignation from his current job: president of the Tulsa 66ers, the NBA Development League team now known as the Oklahoma City Blue. A career sports professional, Joe worked as tournament director on the Senior PGA Tour and LPGA before getting the call from the NBA.
“I started at the Dell Diamond as captain of guest services, and worked as a sales manager in the hospitality business,” says Joe. “All events are the same, whether it’s one occasion or 26 home games across a year.”
The service at Winslow’s Wine Cafe bears all the hallmarks of Joe’s background in hospitality, with an attention to detail worthy of the big leagues. Customers at Winslow’s have always gotten top-notch service, to the extent that the cafe feels like a second home to many; where Winslow’s has really stepped up its game, however, is the menu.
“The menu has made a major transition with Chef Eric, who’s now the general manager,” says Joe. “The food has just soared the past 24 months, and its all thanks to Eric O’Connor.”
The original menu at Winslow’s emphasized selection, with many dishes available at any given time. Now, with a particular focus on quality and inventiveness, the menu at Winslow’s stands as a reflection of the cafe’s original spirit.
“I realized as we were growing that the menu was just too big,” says Joe. “We took it up a level and focused on our chalkboard, and now have the freedom to come up with new dishes. Our kitchen can try new items every two weeks if they want to. People in the neighborhood have fallen in love with it.”
There’s one more thing about Winslow’s that customers adore: its wine. More than any other beverage, wine engenders feelings of celebration, conviviality and elegance. The wine list at Winslow’s seamlessly embodies all three of these characteristics.
“Our wine list is very unique,” says Joe. “Twice a year, we come out with seasonal menus and change about 20 percent of our selection. I have samples brought in covered with newspaper, and we do blind taste testings. We don’t want marketing to influence us, and if we can’t decide, we’ll go over to the bar and invite people to taste.”
The food and wine may draw people to Winslow’s, but it’s the service that transforms so many first-time customers into long-term regulars. This is no accident, and forms the core of Joe’s business philosophy.
“Our main focus in service, service, service,” says Joe. “In the restaurant business, service has been gone for 20 years. Every person who comes in needs to have a unique experience and, as a host, you’ve got about 30 seconds to figure out the best way to serve them.”
If you live on Fort Worth’s west side, chances are you’ve already experienced Winslow’s brand of excellence. If you haven’t, Valentine’s Day presents the perfect opportunity. Reservations for Winslow’s Wine Cafe’s white tablecloth Valentine’s dinner are available now by calling the restaurant: 817-546-6843.