After months of preparation and not a little bit of do-it-yourself construction, Tom and Linda Kampschroeder quietly opened the doors to the newest venue in Brookfield’s Grand Boulevard/Prairie Avenue commercial area. On Dec. 23, the Salt Creek Wine Bar was open for business at 8900 Fairview Ave.
Tom Kampschroeder signed the lease for the space in July and pulled building permits in October. Much of the work, including the wood bar with its custom-made shelving, was done by himself and members of his family. Kampschroeder also made the bar’s tabletops, which feature wine maps and wine-related cartoons. The biggest expense was completing two handicapped-accessible bathrooms for the business.
“I’m very happy with the results,” said Kampschroeder, who left his career in wine distribution to open his own business. “And with the turnout we’ve had, I’m looking forward to growing the business. I think we fit in well here. The businesses complement each other.”
The other businesses Kampschroeder was referring to are two newer restaurants in the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard, The Sandbar and Trattoria Gemelli, as well as pubs such as Irish Times and Phil’s Sports Bar & Grill just across the railroad tracks on Burlington Avenue.
Owners of the former Grand Central Bar & Grill (which used to call the space now inhabited by The Sandbar home) are expected to reopen in another spot on Grand Boulevard, though there’s been no announcement of when that might happen.
“It’s feels wonderful,” said Linda Kampschroeder of opening the doors to the new wine bar. “We’ve had all ages here, and a lot of young people from Brookfield have been in.”
The interior of the Salt Creek Wine Bar has the feel of a club, with couches and tables scattered underneath soft lighting and framed by deep, wine-inspired colors.
Wines by the bottle, glass and “flight” (smaller portions of three different wines to compare) are available at the Salt Creek Wine Bar. Glasses run between $4.50 and $11, while bottles can be purchased for between $18 and $80. The emphasis is on California and Oregon wines, with several bottles from France, Italy, Spain, South Africa and other countries.
The bar also serves sparkling wines, cognacs, high-end liquor and specialty U.S. and import beers.
Although the kitchen is small, patrons can get various small plates, from mini-beef Wellington to a charcuterie plate that features Italian salami, Serrano ham, pate and smoked duck breast to a selection of cheeses and desserts. Prices for food run between $5 and $12.
Now serving: Trattoria Gemelli
Just across the street from the Salt Creek Wine Bar is Trattoria Gemelli, 3755 Grand Blvd., which opened in early December in the space most recently occupied by Luna Cafe.
A spinoff of I Gemelli Ristorante in Addison, the Brookfield version is operated by Sal Sciortino and focuses on rustic Italian cuisine.
“We’ve had a good response from people in the neighborhood, and we’ve been able to pull some people from neighboring towns as well,” said Sciortino. “We have a great location and we’re ready to go.”
Prices are more moderate at Trattoria Gemelli than its Addison counterpart, with a focus on pastas. The restaurant, which seats roughly 50, also offers several appetizers like bruschetta, calamari and crab cakes; several salads, sandwiches (during lunch only) and brick-oven pizzas; and of course, desserts.
Pastas include everything from spicy spaghetti arrabiata to handmade ravioli and gnocchi to lasagna Bolognese.
Lunch prices range between $10 to $15 for pasta dishes and other entrees; dinner prices are just a tad higher, with larger portions.
The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner from Tuesday through Saturday. This Sunday, the restaurant will open its doors for Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.