July 4, 2014 at 8:21 PM
WESTFIELD, NJ — In June, Westfield’s town council voted to change the town’s liquor laws, making it easier for restaurants holding conditional licenses to serve alcoholic drinks to patrons. Still, there is a maximum of 10 licenses available in town, and plenty more restaurants rely on diners to bring their own bottles if they want to imbibe.
With so many local BYO restaurants (most with no corkage fees), Westfield wine and liquor shops are offering more options for diners than ever—by the bottle, and by the glass.
Sammy Patel, owner of Westfield Wine & Liquor in Walgreens Plaza, knows that people don’t always want a full bottle of wine when they go out for dinner, so he now offers single servings of wine-to-go. These individual plastic glasses, similar to traditional stemware, provide a little more than six ounces of wine.
The innovative new containers let you simply unzip the sleeve, open the “Clean Wrap” that keeps the wine fresh and the glass clean and enjoy a good glass of wine.
Glasses by the Zipz Premium Wine Company are available in Chardonnay with crisp citrus, melon, pear and creme fraiche notes; Pino Grigio with hints of tropical fruit, apple, pear, citrus and minerality; a smooth Merlot with flavors of black cherry, plum, caramel and toffee; and a medium-tannic Cabernet Sauvignon that tastes of ripe blackberry, mocha, toffee and vanilla.
They’re great for bringing to the pool club, too, Sammy Patel noted. Glasses are $2.99 each.
Westfield Wine & Liquor also offers a wide selection of fine wines by the bottle, as well as beer and liquor.
In the heart of Downtown Westfield, Chinton Patel (no relation to Sammy Patel) owns The Liquor Basket on Quimby Street.
“We have a huge following for customers planning to go to dinner at a BYO restaurant,” said Chinton Patel, who noted that the single-cup wines are popular at his store, too, where they cost $3.75 each.
“It’s a great idea, and it travels well,” he said. “We also offer small size bottles of wine, kosher and organic wine. We want our customers to know we are here for them.”
Also located downtown, on Central Ave., Cool Vines is another popular stop for BYO diners.
“You can shop Cool Vines for a half-size bottle of your favorite wine, which translated means you’ll be drinking approximately two glasses of wine, known as a split,” said Mark Grillo, assistant manager.
“Because of our location in the heart of Downtown Westfield, we are always very busy on Friday and Saturday night,” said Grillo. “Westfield has quite a few restaurants that have outdoor seating and no specific liquor license. Guests know they are always welcome to stop at Cool Vines. We’ll suggest wines based of their specific preference, or we’re able to match the wine with the restaurant of their choice.”
Meanwhile, besides waiving corkage fees, local restaurants sans liquor licenses are doing what they can to make bringing their own bottles easier for diners. Regular customers at the French restaurant Amuse on Elm St., for example, can rent their own wine lockers for $10 per month or $100 a year. To find out more, call 908-317-2640 and speak to Executive Chef CJ Reycraft or Scott McEvoy.