When Bryan Gauthier renegotiated the lease for his 5-year-old Oakton Wine Shop, he had some changes in mind.
Adding 30 seats and a kitchen, Gauthier plans for his strictly retail operation to start sharing space with a restaurant. The renamed Oakton Wine Shop & Bistro will feature small plates designed by Gauthier, who has spent time in the front and back of restaurants and also worked as a GM in Flemming’s.
The 20 or so dishes will include crab cakes, beef carpaccio and sliced pork tenderloin. Though the small-plate trend may be giving way to medium plates, Gauthier likes the idea of the-more-plates-the-better. “It’s more fun,” says Gauthier. “I like that type of eating … trying a lot of different things.”
Gauthier, of course, is also working on wine pairings. He sees Vietti Barbera d’Asti complementing lamb lollipops and Garnacha blanca from Spain working with the high-low brow concoction of french fries topped with a poached egg and shaved black truffles. Rotating trios of flights and bites will also be available.
There will be about 25 wines by the glass (in 2-ounce and 5-ounce pours), and anything bought from the retail store can be opened at the bistro for a $9 corkage fee. The fee, says Gauthier, covers overhead, dishes, labor, etc., but it also passes on savings to diners. Where a “$50 bottle of wine would be $100” in a restaurant, says Gauthier, a small corkage fee lets customers enjoy retail wine prices in a restaurant setting. Though there’s no liquor, there will be beer, just like there is now at the store: eight taps with growler fill options.
Desserts will stay small, too; think cookies (from Manassas‘ Ryno Treats) used for mini-ice cream sandwiches.
During construction, the wine shop will remain open, and Gauthier hopes to launch the restaurant in November. // Oakton Wine Shop and Bistro: 2952 Chain Bridge Rd, Oakton