The nearly 100 wineries and tasting rooms located in Woodinville are a major draw for folks in the Seattle area and beyond, as well as for local residents.
There’s something for everyone, from small boutique operations to larger scale facilities, but although there are many different choices, very few establishments offer a food component to enhance the wine tasting experience.
Enter Le Petit Terroir, a new kitchen aimed at providing the local wine tasting rooms with the ability to serve food.
Owners Karin and Dave Shoup, along with executive chef Kevin Sarbora, recently opened the business and are slowly rolling out a delivery program that will eventually include 37 tasting rooms within a one-mile radius of the kitchen.
“We saw a real need here,” explains Karin. “It’s a niche that hasn’t been developed yet and we thought it was something we wanted to explore further.”
After doing their research and talking to dozens of winery owners, who wholeheartedly gave support to the idea, the Woodinville couple decided to move ahead with their plans.
They renovated an 800- square-foot space in the back of the building that previously housed the Texas BBQ restaurant, right in the heart of the west side wine district.
“Location was very important,” notes Karin. “We needed a space that was basically surrounded by wineries and tasting rooms to make our delivery service effective because we’re hoofing the food over on foot or by electric trike.”
Karin explains that menu cards with the kitchen’s contact number and online address will be on the tables of the tasting rooms so that patrons can simply place their food orders via their mobile devices.
The food will arrive hot and fresh in recyclable packaging in under a half hour.
According to Sarbora, the menu focuses on Mediterranean inspired Northwest cuisine.
“Mediterranean has a wide range, a large geographical area and a broad interpretation for food, which is great,” he says. “We’re going to try and be as local as we can in regards to ingredients and we’ll be looking at what’s available, what’s fresh and in season.”
Though the kitchen has only been open about a month, several items are quickly becoming very popular, including the grilled vegetables, Mediterranean skewers, Les Petits poppers (Serrano chills stuffed with goat cheese filling and wrapped in pancetta) and the chef’s charcuterie. Sarbora, who is a butcher and worked previously at Bill the Butcher in Woodinville, cures all the meat himself, after purchasing it from local farms he has come to know and trust.
The menu also features flatbreads, salads, crepes, antipasti, artisanal cheeses and even a hearty rib eye steak for bigger appetites.
For those folks who are not at one of the wineries being served by the kitchen, Sarbora explains that food will still be available, but on a take-out basis.
“If you’re somewhere we don’t deliver to, or you’re at home, or on your way to the park, for example, you can order with us by phone or online and designate it for carry-out, or you’re welcome to walk up to our window and order there,” he says. “Then, swing by 20 minutes later and it will be ready for you.”
Catering, according to Karin, will be the other piece of the business. She adds, “We’ve already done several private functions and we want to get the word out that we’re willing and able to work with all budgets, big and small.”
She notes that the kitchen doesn’t have set catering menus, as it wants to be flexible and adaptable to clients’ needs and wants.
Sarbora, who considers himself a self-taught cook, enjoys the challenge of creating dishes from scratch. He has had no formal culinary training, having learned many of his skills in his mother’s kitchen.
“I’ve loved cooking since I was a kid,” he says. “I remember making all these desserts when I was nine years old, and then selling them in the neighborhood. My mom asked me why I didn’t use a box mix to make it easier on me and I told her that would be cheating.”
He adds, “There’s just something so rewarding when you take a raw material and turn it into something really special. And then you get the satisfaction of seeing people eat it and tell you how much they like it.”
The local chef met Karin and Dave Shoup when he was working at Bill the Butcher. The Shoups were frequent customers and he got to know them well over the years.
They shared their business idea with him and even showed him the space they were renovating.
“Their plans coincided with my ideas,” explains Sarbora. “It was a meeting of the minds you could say. And it didn’t take me long to know that I wanted to be involved.”
In the coming months, as the weather turns warm, Karin expects business to be booming and at capacity. She knows that people will want to dine al fresco whenever possible, and to accommodate this desire, she had a small deck put in on the side of the kitchen.
“Although we don’t have a dining area in our facility, people will still be able to eat on site, outside on the deck,” she says. ”They can walk up to our window, order their food and then eat right here,” she says. “I think it will be a popular dining alternative.”
Also in the works is a chef’s table for weekly meals. Sarbora explains that the idea is to have a “living menu,” which he will prepare in full view of diners.
“People would be able to reserve a space at the table and watch me prepare the food in front of them,” he adds. “It would be a menu of my own creation.”
The Shoups and Sarbora are undoubtedly excited and enthusiastic about Le Petit Terroir and they look forward to becoming an integral part of the Woodinville wine experience.