It's not like Hudsonites have been hangin' out on the green, chugging white zin out of brown paper bags. But residents of this pretty-as-a-picture Summit County city are still likely to be stoked about the prospects of chef Shawn Monday's new upscale wine bar, Downtown 140, scheduled to open in early January.
It's something of a professional homecoming for Monday, who spent four years as executive chef at the nearby Inn at Turner's Mill. Since leaving the Mill, the Bedford native has honed his Henckels in some of the area's top kitchens, including Fire on Shaker Square and Three Birds in Lakewood. But Downtown 140 will be his first solo venture.
Wine enthusiast and Hudson resident Kurt Nygaard is Monday's co-owner, and to him has fallen the challenge of assembling the large international wine list, which will feature more than 70 labels by the glass. (Beer and martinis also will be served.) Monday is creating a menu of French- and Asian-accented American cuisine, served as tapas-like "small plates," or -- for more hearty appetites -- "not-so-small plates." A raw bar is also in the works.
"It's all about loving food and wine," Monday said. "The small-plates concept lets people try out lots of different food-and-wine pairings, in a way that is fun and not too expensive."
Downtown 140 (located at 140 North Main Street, in the former Blimpie's, next to The Western Reserve School of Cooking) will seat about 50 people in the dining area and more at the long wine bar. Monday says that nothing on the menu -- not even the "not-so-small plates" -- will exceed $20.
Of course, Downtown 140 isn't Hudson's first wine bar. That distinction goes to Elaine and Scott Kuebler's North End Market (7542 Darrow Road, 330-656-1238), a gourmet deli and wine store just outside of town. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, beginning at 5:30 p.m., the Kueblers turn on the mood lighting and pop the corks on a tidy list of reds, whites, and bubblies. If there's nothing on the list that rocks your socks, feel free to cruise the bins and pick out a fave, priced at retail plus a $5.50 cork fee.
Executive chef Brad Schmid's wine-bar menu includes items such as Swiss fondue, Kobe beef burgers, and the market's signature beef tenderloin, as well as several dessert options. There's also a long list of interesting brewskis and live music on Saturday nights.