When chef John McKibben first opened Grape Street Cafe in 1997, his small restaurant took a back seat to a large front-of-the-house retail area where customers could purchase house-made sauces, salads, and high-quality wines. Though the concept quickly transitioned to focus on the fresh, house-made dishes flying out of his kitchen, McKibben has held on to his retail license and continues to encourage his diners to finish their meal by picking up a bottle of wine to go or commissioning a self-portrait painted with balsamic vinegar.
With the exception of a handful of rotating nightly specials, the menu has stayed largely the same, and Chef McKibben credits the cuisine as the eatery's 14-year secret to success. Dinner finds the shop's signature hot sandwiches, creamy pastas, and pizzas sharing top billing alongside nationally inspired entrees such as a baked Alaskan halibut topped with lemon beurre-blanc and Colorado lamb in a sweet-and-sour mint glaze. However, the diverse menu is designed to complement the restaurant’s real draw: its extensive wine selection. Up to 90 vinos are available by the glass each day, with selections that hail from as near as Napa and as far away as Mosel, Bordeaux, Rioja, and Mos Eisley.
A nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities, New Vista Community hosts festive fundraisers throughout the year. Savvy to the pulse of the community, event organizers throw raucous events such as wine walks, which regale guests with the foolproof combination of fine food samples, wine and cocktails, and live music. Guests at the Brew's Best Hand-Crafted Beer festival sip free samples of regional brews, and at the lighthearted Adam & Eve's Love Fling, love-happy attendees and confused mannequin collectors bid on bachelors and bachelorettes.
Though many in the community may know New Vista Community primarily for these events, the organization dedicates its best energies to help those with disabilities. Founded in 1984 by three sets of parents with intellectually challenged kids, the charity provides group homes, assisted living, job training, and field trips to kids and adults.
911 Remembrance Las Vegas is a weekend-long fundraiser that, in unity with similar events in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC, seeks to honor and support 9/11 victims and survivors as well as first responders and war veterans. VIP ticket holders for the concert will enjoy special seating and a chance to chat with featured bands, such as The American Band, 333 The Band, and The Sledge Grits Band, before singing along to tunes with fellow show-goers.
Money Plays' friendly bartenders pour an ever-changing roster of 17 beers on tap and 50 bottled brews as well as wine, sake, and cocktails in a low-key tavern outfitted with shuffleboard, foosball, and 15 video-poker machines. Draft beers include sudsy craft offerings such as Indian Wells Mojave Red ($4–$6.50/pint), Lobotomy Bock ($4–$6.50/pint), and Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat ($3–$4.75/pint). A multitude of bottled beers, ranging from American lagers to Imperial IPAs and Belgian ales, also line up to woo patrons by composing Petrarchan sonnets in their honor. Sippers can send taste buds on treasure hunts for fruity flavors with the bar's assortment of Takara Hana sake shots ($2). Fortify stomachs or edible sculptures of Chichen Itza with a pair of enchiladas accompanied by beans and rice ($4.99) or a heaping beef or chicken burrito ($4.99) from Money Plays' next-door neighbor, El Taco Feliz.
Nora's Wine Bar & Osteria fosters a social dining experience with a menu of authentic sharable Italian plates and an innovative way to serve wine that opens up dozens of eclectic bottles for the tasting. Consummate serial monogamists, each of Nora's dinner courses would prefer to be paired up with a glass of wine, making the pre-paired cheese and wine flight of nine cheeses and three wines ($28 per person, must have at least two participants) an elegantly orchestrated delight. An appetizer of bruschette, such as eggplant or chick peas and sardine (choice of three for $10), a selection of small bites ($10–$15), and pizzas ($15) make palatable passables. Dive fork-first into creatively concocted entrees, such as the crêpe lasagna ($12.50) or the half rabbit served five ways ($32). Or, keep it traditional with organic grass-fed lamb chops ($24 small/$44 large). The lunch menu pares down the dinner menu and adds a selection of panini served with fries or salad, such as the wild boar with roasted mushrooms ($13.50). The lunch menu also offers a pasta trio tasting, which includes a glass of sangria, chef's crostini, unlimited tastings of three different pastas, and gelato for $17.