El Vinedo Local opens for South American bites, coffee, with wine on the way

Empanadas from the menu of El Vinedo Local. / Courtesy of El Vinedo Local
Empanadas from the menu of El Vinedo Local. / Courtesy of El Vinedo Local

Robert Kaster has long had a love for both wine and South American cuisine. Now, the hospitality industry veteran is hoping to introduce Midtown to two of his passions with his new Midtown wine bar and restaurant.

El Viñedo Local, which means “the local vineyard” in Spanish, opened last week at 730 Peachtree St. in the Circa 730 building. The restaurant is focusing on breakfast and lunch while it waits for its liquor license, at which point brunch and dinner will be added.

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The interior of El Vinedo Local. / Courtesy of El Vinedo Local
The interior of El Vinedo Local. / Courtesy of El Vinedo Local

Kaster, who previously worked for Hilton Hotels, lived in California and Seattle before settling in Atlanta, said he knew he always wanted to highlight South American wine and cuisine in his first solo venture.

“I think South American cuisine is underrepresented,” Kaster said. “For a lot of people, when they think of South American food, they think of Mexican and Central American food, which is much spicier. South American food has more nuanced flavors, and it pairs well with wine.”

To help execute his vision, Kaster brought aboard chef Bruno Vergara, who previously worked at metro Atlanta restaurants including Lapeer Seafood Market and South Main Kitchen.

A native of Uruguay, Vergara “is very proud of his culture and his food, and really wants to present it well,” Kaster said. “When we interviewed him, we immediately had a feeling that he was the right guy for what we’re trying to do.”

A “morning” menu includes breakfast empanadas; Desayuno Criollo with braised beef, fried arepas, sweet plantain, scrambled eggs, avocado and black beans; a Medialuna sandwich with smoked pit ham and fresco cheese toasted on a croissant; a house-made guava pastelito; and pastries from Alon’s Bakery.

The “midday” menu consists of a variety of empanadas, ceviches, arepas, sandwiches, plates and sides.

El Viñedo Local’s coffee program features beans from Americus, Georgia-based Cafe Campesino. Also on the beverage menu are teas from Atlanta’s Just Add Honey, juices and sodas.

Though still in the works, the dinner menu will likely feature several items on the lunch menu but will “have more of a dine-in experience,” Kaster said.

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Breakfast from El Vinedo Local / Courtesy of El Vinedo Local
Breakfast from El Vinedo Local / Courtesy of El Vinedo Local

While breakfast and lunch offerings are designed to be grab-and-go, Kaster said he’s hoping for a more in-house experience once dinner and brunch are offered.

Curated by Kaster, the wine list be 70% South American wines. The bar will make use of a Coravin wine preservation system that uses technology to pierce the cork and pour wine from a sealed bottle while still protecting the remaining wine from oxidation. Employing the Coravin system also enables El Viñedo Local to offer more premium bottles of wine by the glass.

The goal is to allow people to try things they may not have the opportunity to try at a bottle price,” Kaster said. “We want people to be able to come in and try different types of foods and wines that they may not have familiarity with.”

Designed by Michael Hibachy of Hibachy Designs, the 1,500 square-foot space is meant to replicate establishments in Mendoza or Santiago. Design elements include leather chairs from Uruguay and a palette of greens, coppers and browns. A patio facing Peachtree Streets adds about 16 more seats, and a Nano wall allows the glass that divides the patio from the interior to be open during nice weather.

Kaster, who lives on Peachtree Street, said it was important to him to find a location on the Midtown Peachtree Street corridor to add to the “diversity of food offerings in the area,” he said. The bar’s proximity to amenities including the Fox Theatre and Piedmont Park were also selling points.

He said that while the coronavirus impacted the restaurant’s opening, overall, his vision for El Viñedo Local has remained largely intact.

“We plan to expand as the business expands,” he said. “It’s a difficult time to project what’s going to happen. We feel good about the future, but we’re going to take it from slow approach and build into it.”

El Viñedo Local is currently open from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, with breakfast served from 7-10:30 a.m. and midday offerings from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Evening and brunch hours will be added soon. Masks are required for staff and guests anytime they’re not seated at their tables.

730 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-596-8239, elviñedolocal.com.

Scroll down to see the complete breakfast, coffee and lunch menus for El Viñedo Local:

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