Two years ago, my New Year’s wine resolution was to promote wine and wine-centric businesses in the Black Hills, Wyoming, and South Dakota. In order to do this, I have traveled to different liquor stores, wine shops, restaurants, delis, kitchen-specialty stores, bars, wineries, and breweries. All of these have been stops made on my own, many times without the business even knowing I was there or that I would eventually blog about my experience. I have often teased what a “tough job” I have roaming the area to taste wine and eat food. Many times, others have agreed with me, sometimes with a slight envious grin, sometimes tagging along with me on my journeys. However, as another wine-loving business (that I liked to frequent) closes, I realize I do, in fact, have a tough job!
First, Manchego, on downtown Rapid City’s square, closed and reopened as a Mexican restaurant. I liked the idea of Manchego’s tapas style food, and I absolutely loved the idea of Machego’s automatic wine machine allowing customers the option to taste many different wines from the Enomatic. Granted, I know that running a restaurant efficiently is difficult, and something I know absolutely nothing about; I also know there were some problems with Manchego’s food, service, and prices that the new restaurant (under new ownership), Que Pasa, has overcome. I never found the time to blog about Manchego before it closed, and always felt badly that I hadn’t done what I could to promote an establishment that promoted wine in the Black Hills. (I have yet to blog about Que Pasa, only because now as a Mexican restaurant, it is a tequila bar, and other than my trips to Mexico, I am not a tequila expert…wink, wink!)
Now, Dakota Thyme, the backdoor neighbor to Machego/Que Pasa on Rapid’s square, has closed its doors. I did blog about Dakota Thyme and ranted about its great ambiance and wonderful food for breakfast and lunch. It had a great revolving wine menu with the opportunity to purchase bottles for home consumption. I really thought that it was a wonderful addition to downtown Rapid City and a wonderful addition to the wine community as well.
Again, I realize I know absolutely nothing about what it takes to run a successful food-service business, but I do know I want to do what I can to help these businesses be a success. I am sitting here wondering what I can do as a wine-lover to help other wine-lovers keep their favorite places alive and well. I can be a good customer, I can be a good blogger, but what else can I do? I will keep spreading the word, but I really am looking for suggestions. If you have any, I would love to hear them. You can leave them via this blog, my Facebook page (The Sweet Sommelier), or my e-mail (email@example.com). Promoting wine in a predominately rural area sounds like a fun job…and it is! However, it is proving to be a tougher job than I thought.