Raven's Vine and Tap Arrives in Walpole, Massachusetts with a Touch
of Back Bay Boston Neighborhood Bistro Flair
by Eric J. Hurwitz. Article updated on Jan. 3, 2017.
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Taking a coffee break can be good for business. Mark and
Maura McAuliffe did just that and soon found themselves with a
neighborhood bistro in Walpole often filled to full capacity.
After making the difficult decision to close The Coffee Perch coffee
shop in early 2015, the Sharon couple decided to embark of crafting a
business completely different from any other in the Walpole area.
Enter the Raven’s Vine & Tap, a late afternoon and evening downtown
eating and drinking spot specializing in a seasonal, eclectic wine
menu, a craft beer selection showcasing local brewers, and food using
farm-fresh ingredients sourced 100 percent locally.
Complementing but remaining completely different from the McAuliffe’s The
Raven’s Nest pub a few doors down, the Raven’s Vine & Tap
opened on Dec. 12, 2016, offering a small, intimate setting and a food
and drinks menu virtually unique to the south-of- Boston suburbs.
“There’s really nothing like this in the area,” said Mark. “It’s like
something you would find in the Back Bay (an upscale area of Boston).
We are offering something right here in Walpole that you would
typically have to drive into the city to find.”
While the drinks menu serves as one anchor to the Raven’s Vine &
Tap (50 wine offerings, 20 craft beers), the food selection also stands
on its own, also, with charcuterie and locally-sourced “Farmhouse”
cheese boards as specialties. Charcuterie can be defined as a way to
bring out a unique yet delicious flavor to meat through a curing
Charcuterie & farmhouse cheeses from the Raven's Vine & Tap. Photo credit: Raven's Vine & Tap Facebook Fan Page
The charcuterie boards are served with a chef’s selection of “house
breads and garnishes,” according to Raven’s Vine & Tap Head Chef
Jackie Major, a Johnson and Wales University graduate.
Other food offerings include “House Bar Nuts” (cashew brittle, salted
pistachios and almonds), house made soups of the day, salads, chicken
liver mousse, Greek hummus and cured salmon. Additionally, sandwiches
take on a different look and taste. “Not Your Dad’s Ham and Cheese”
features apple butter, ham and manchego (cheese made from sheep’s
milk)). The “Veggie Hummus Wrap” combines Greek hummus, kale, charred
tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers. The “Panino” features
charred tomatoes, arugula, goat cheese, and a chef’s selection of cured
meats. The “Siracha Chicken Wrap” mixes pulled chicken, honey
Siracha and pickled vegetables.
The Raven’s Vine & Tap also offers homemade desserts, currently
featuring gingerbread cupcakes and chocolate cake, according to Raven’s
Vine & Tap General Manager Jill Bedoya.
“For now, this is our menu but always subject to change for the better
-- although what we have now is fantastic,” said Mark, who adds that he
has often seen the Raven’s Vine & Tap’s 30-seat capacity filled by
a local crowd.
While the food and drink selection has brought crowds during the
Raven’s Vine & Tap’s early business stages, the atmosphere also
plays a major role in the bistro’s appeal. Mark and friends “in the
business” worked together to bring out the innate, charming origins of
the storefront by taking out drywall to expose beautiful brick, and
removing the drop ceiling and HVAC operating system to reintroduce a
25-high-ft. ceiling with original wooden beams and ductwork. With new
bamboo wood floors, a handsome poured concrete countertop at the bar,
colored-coordinated stools and wallpaper, and hanging lights to create
additional ambiance, the Raven’s Vine & Tap has a sophisticated
urban, dining look with industrial accents. Beautifully
juxtaposed with picture window views of Walpole’s quaint,
quintessential New England town
common, it’s like the best of both worlds -- that is, city-like
dining with an small town setting right outside the door.
“It took six months of painful work,” said Mark, in regards to creating
the Raven’s Vine & Tap. “We completely gutted the place. We found
extra space not used by taking out the walls and drop ceiling. We
hand-painted each brick and with a glaze to make the place look warm
and inviting. The Raven’s Vine & Tap is small size -- although
bigger than the Coffee Perch space -- but yet so huge in what we offer.”
Mark said that he and Maura feel that the Raven’s Vine & Tap will
become a dining destination in the Walpole area.
“When we had the coffee shop, it was a totally different business,”
said Mark. “There are too many places for coffee in the area. When it’s
a restaurant, people will find a way to get there. People will get out
of their cars for a restaurant, but not a coffee shop. We feel this is
more of a destination. With the Raven’s Vine & Tap, we want to
concentrate on being different. We have some absolutely special here.”
The Raven’s Vine & Tap is located at 1006 Main St., Walpole. Tel.
(508) 734-5746. Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/ravensvine/
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