By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
An ocean of wine
Does size matter? To the folks at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse it does. Set to open in late September just off Northwest Highway near Interstate 35, Pappas Bros. will have what is shaping up to be one of the largest wine lists in the nation (the biggest in the Southwest). Featuring some 1,500 selections backed up with on-premise storage capacity reaching nearly 40,000 bottles, the list has already absorbed a $2 million wholesale investment. That commitment should crack $6 million by the time the restaurant opens--far more resources than all but the most ambitious projects require for the entire restaurant--representing total stocks of some 500,000 bottles.
Despite this significant investment in wine, the restaurant seems to have taken a pass on an innovative approach to the program as a whole. Instead of classifying by flavor profile, offering regional and menu-pairing information, or even using an imaginative, witty organizational approach, the list is simply a straightforward, formidable roster tucked under traditional region-color-varietal headings. Historically, this tack has heightened the intimidation factor among guests while buttressing the perception that wine is the sip of insufferable snobs.
But Pappas Bros. General Manager Judd Fruia takes issue with this analysis. He says the restaurant is making a statement with the list. "We're going to give the guests whatever [wine] they desire to the biggest extent we can," he says. "We're leaving nothing to chance." Fruia adds that they've taken significant steps to minimize the list's potential intimidation factor. He boasts a staff of eight wine stewards, each with a particular area of expertise (the list will also include roughly 100 Cognacs), to run the program. But it's hard to see how relying on experts enhances approachability.
Send e-mail to Mark Stuertz at firstname.lastname@example.org.