Young and Hungry

AM Wine Shoppe Plans for Dec. 1 Opening

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The future home of AM Wine Shoppe

Justin Abad, the co-owner and general manager of Cashion's Eat Place, calls the AM Wine Shoppe his solo project. Is that to say, then, that the gourmet wine/antipasti shop in the former Skynear space is your John Lennon, break-away moment?

"Yes, but the Beatles will always be my first love," Abad responses with a laugh.

In other words, Abad may be the owner of AM Wine Shoppe, but he will have Andrew Akre, a former Cashion's employee, run the neighborhood-y place for him. Abad will continue to focus his energies on the Adams Morgan restaurant, he says.

Still, Abad is investing plenty of time putting the new store together. He's hired former Jackie's chef (and former Cashion's line cook) Sam Adkins to consult with Cashion's chef/co-owner John Manolatos on the shop's small menu. Adkins will also execute the menu of housemade salami, marinated vegetables, stuffed peppers, and other antipasti.

There will also be Italian sodas (made to order), some imported cheeses, and a few housemade sandwiches for sale, says Manolatos. Just simple sammies, he adds, like salami on good bread with olive oil. Stuff like that.

The shop will feature an 18-foot-long farmer's table, where some antipasti will always be available for nibbling. There will be daily wine tastings, too, Manolatos says, but AM Wine will not have the necessary license to allow customers to open their newly purchased bottles. "If you purchase it, you can't drink it on premises," Manolatos adds.

As for the wine selection, that is Abad's department, and he plans to stock between 50 and 70 bottles — at least at the outset. The owner would like to ultimately offer about 150 bottles, but he wants to "see how things go" at the beginning before increasing his inventory. About 75 percent of the wines will be in the $15-$25 range. The other 25 percent, Abad adds, "will probably be on the higher-end range."

Abad has no plan to focus on any particular region, although he admits that his palate "tends to be kind of Old World." That doesn't mean, however, that Abad plans to sell only austere, European wines that need 10 years of aging before they're drinkable. No, he plans to sell the "more reserved," less fruit-bomb-oriented wines from all over the world.

It will be the kind of place, Abad says, where you pick up a bottle on the way home from work, not a place where you shop for $150 bottles for your cellar.

The AM Wine Shoppe will be open seven days a week, Abad says. As for an opening date, the owner says, "We're ambitiously going to say Dec. 1." It will probably start as a soft opening, he adds.

AM Wine Shoppe, 2122 18th St. NW

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