Update: Since this review was published it has come to light that a manager for Sixty Vines tested positive for COVID-19. According to another manager, Stephanie Jones, the person who tested positive has not been in the restaurant for 12 days. Jones also says they are confident the virus was not contracted at the restaurant. She noted that all staff are wearing masks and the restaurant has been properly cleaned. All other managers have been tested and the results have been negative, said Jones. Some other staff members had been tested but not all, according to Jones.
Talk about timing.
Sixty Vines, a Texas based concept, opened its fourth location, the first outside Texas, at Lakeside Crossing in Winter Park on March 17. That was, you’ll recall, the same day the state of Florida ordered restaurants to operate at no more than 50 percent capacity and just days before they were ordered to cease all on-premises dining.
I’ve heard of soft openings before but this one must have been positively flaccid.
Since that time I’ve focused almost exclusively on reviewing the takeout experience of restaurants that quickly adjusted to the new restrictions. But when I saw that Sixty Vines was open under the current Phase 2 guidelines – and I noticed it had some outdoor tables – I thought I would try onsite dining. I also liked that the restaurant was requiring reservations so as to limit occupancy.
However, I was not able to reserve an outdoor table. “First come, first seated,” I was told about the four tables in front of the restaurant. Without the guarantee of being seated outdoors, and not wishing to go inside, I reverted to ordering for curbside pickup.
Instead of a traditional appetizer, my companion and I decided on a pizza for a starter, selecting the one labeled Butcher. The menu specified soppressata, capicola and calabrese salami as the meats, but I have to say they were applied fairly parsimoniously. However, the crust was wonderful, not too thick, not too thin and with the perfect amount of elasticity in the chew. Sauce was appropriately smeared thinly, and the the provolone and mozzarella cheeses didn’t dominate or nor were they overly gooey. A little more meat to earn the butcher’s approval and this would be a real winner.
For my entree I chose the short rib papparedella from the list of pastas. The wide ribbon noodles were cooked just so and tossed with rich strands of rib meat that had been braised in red wine. I thought the addition of carrots to such a dish an unusual choice but I liked it overall.
My companion had the Cab burger, featuring a patty fashioned out of “local” wagyu, whatever that means. The menu also said the burger was “cabernet smothered,” which would lead one to expect a soggy bun. But no. In fact, it was one fine burger. The meat had a steak-ier texture than conventional ground beef, it was cooked to the requested medium rare, and was finished with melted white cheddar and caramelized onion on a deliciously fresh-tasting “everything” bun. And the chunks of potatoes fried in duck fat that accompanied the burger were quite good, too.
Phone ordering was pleasant and the pickup process was smooth and contactless. One note: Don’t pay attention to the “curbside” button on the restaurant’s website menu. That has three dinner selections of multiple courses meant to serve more than one person. Anything from the dinner menu is available for takeout as well.
Sixty Vines is at 110 Orlando Ave., Winter Park. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-410-8005.