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Open and Shut: Wine bars to roti wraps

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chefs Pina Sanpietro, left, and Kimberly Salazar of Wineology have plenty of fresh cut meats and tasty cheese to compliment a vast supply of wine on Wyandotte Street East. Sanpietro displays prosciutto, capicollo and salami while Salazar holds Asiago, Grana Padano and Brie cheeses. (NICK BRANCACCIO / The Windsor Star)

By: Beatrice Fantoni
Nov 26, 2014 - 5:00 AM EST
Last Updated: Nov 26, 2014 - 9:43 AM EST

Changes in the seasons also bring changes in the local restaurant scene. A few more lunch, dinner and drink spots have opened up shop in Windsor-Essex, each with its own specialty — everything from wine to roti wraps.

Special thanks to our readers for letting us know when they spot something new or when something has (alas!) closed down.  [Click here for the full story.] or follow me on Twitter @bfantoni and on Pinterest at

Husband-and-wife team Sandro and Melanie Giustini have recently opened the Chatham Street Deli in downtown Windsor. (DAN JANISSE / The Windsor Star)


For the lunchtime crowd, check out Chatham Street Deli. This narrow and bright eatery specializes in sandwiches, including Chicago-style Italian beef, sliced extra-thin and piled onto a fresh bun with jus and spicy preserved vegetables known as ‘giardiniera’ in Italian. You’ll also see combinations like Italian sausage with sautéed onions and peppers, or prosciutto-mortadella-capicollo-mozzarella with sweet eggplant. They also make fresh soups, their own kettle chips and chocolate-dipped macaroons.

20 Chatham St. E., 519-258-8181,

And the barbecue trend hasn’t eluded downtown Windsor, either. Snackbar-B-Q, brainchild of restaurant veteran Mark Boscariol and chef Jim Renaud formerly of Tecumseh Roadhouse, is nearly ready to open in a former watering hole at Chatham Street and the old bus station lot.

“After the closing of Tunnel Bar-B-Q, there is no barbecue downtown. We hope we can provide barbecue for the next generation,” Boscariol said.

Don’t expect a TBQ carbon copy, though. The concept here is shared plates and carefully thought out side dishes. So along with barbecue staples like ribs and brisket you’ll also see smoked tofu yakitori and blackened cauliflower.

Boscariol said they’re aiming to open soon, pending completion of renovations and upgrades to the existing kitchen.

39 Chatham St. E., 519-977-6227,

Things are always interesting in the restaurant business in Walkerville. The Twisted Apron recently opened West right next door in its former general store.

This narrow bar decorated with metal stools and heavy wood counters feels decidedly hip, with a broad selection of draught and bottled beers, cocktails and original lunch and dinner options.

Lunchtime sandwiches come with names like One-Eyed Russian (corned beef on pretzel bun) and Chattanooga Chew Chew (pulled pork on brioche). … and next door to West you’ll see The Chef Next Door, another Twisted Apron expansion, which hosts cooking classes and special events.

1833 Wyandotte St. E.,

In the former Velvet diner, new owners have expanded and transformed the space into a wine bar. Wineology just had its soft opening last week and is set to open its doors to the public the weekend of Nov. 29.

Expect an impressive selection of wines from all over the world. And if you’re not good at making up your mind, you’re in luck: Wineology specializes in flights — sets of sample-sized servings so you can try and compare wines and also pair them with foods. On the menu you’ll see dishes like cheese platters, fresh pizza and — just in time for winter — cheese fondue.

The interior is nothing to scoff at. The lengthy renovation brought in custom wood fixtures all the way from Colombia. Were also told it’s quite a sight at night with unique interior lighting.

1646 Wyandotte St. E., 519-419-5080,

Fans of whisky and the like may want to take a gander down to Ottawa Street. What used to be Per Bacco is now The Bourbon Tap and Grill. The space has been transformed to look like a Southern-style distillery, with plenty of dark wood and barrel-themed decor. (And giant TV screens, which make watching the game easy.)

Among the high-end bourbons on offer are the small-batch Baker’s and Woodford Reserve — and watch for more as they constantly expand the collection — and the menu includes pizza straight from the wood-fired oven. Bonus: This big and busy place also serves lunch and the kitchen is open past midnight.

“Bourbon is starting to become a growing trend,” said co-owner Ryan Casier, just after the official opening last month. A place like this is something the neighbourhood needed, he added.

1199 Ottawa St.,

Marcia and Sherwin Pivotte are shown inside Creole's Takeout in Amherstburg. (TYLER BROWNBRIDGE / The Windsor Star)

There’s no denying it’s winter but in Amherstburg you can get a taste of the tropics at Creole’s.

Local chef Sherwin Pivotte, who trained in Grenada and worked for years as a chef on cruise ships before taking a career detour, has gone back to cooking and opened this takeout spot for those of us who love Caribbean food.

Pivotte’s wife Marcia said the chicken and pork jambalaya is by far the most popular, but the menu includes a lot of other Caribbean staples to help you expand your palate southward for both lunch and dinner, including rotis (with and without meat), jerk chicken, grilled fish and tacos.

Creole’s also caters and if you’re looking for a local producer of fresh fruit arrangements, Pivotte can whip up one of those for you too. Carved watermelon basket, anyone?

173 Sandwich St. S., 519-713-8976,