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Raven's Vine and Tap Arrives in Walpole, Massachusetts with a Touch of Back Bay Boston Neighborhood Bistro Flair

Ravens Vine and Tap, Walpole MA
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 process.

Charcuterie and farmhouse cheeses from the Raven's Vine & Tap, Walpole MA
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.

Inside the Raven's Vine and Tap neighborhood bistro in Walpole, Massachusetts

“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:

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