A Grape Farewell

Last week I said goodbye to a place that has been my home for over two years…Grape Vegas. I moved my life and my love across the country to run this cool little wine bar and I had no idea that it would become a virtual vortex, as we loved to say, attracting some of the most extraordinary, unique and genuine people I have had the privilege of knowing. Our demise was not the result of a business that just couldn’t make it in these tough times. We thrived, and grew a strong following who we know from day to day as our family. Our fate was simply circumstance and misfortune, which is neither here nor there. They say it is what it is right?

Wednesday morning, November 3rd, I walked out of Grape Vegas for the last time. Our staff & our family spent the last few days grieving with us, laughing, crying and celebrating what we had created. Then as I turned in my key, I took one last look, and in spite of the room seeming empty, I realized it was so full that it was bursting at the seams. This room isn’t just a vacant space in a shopping center. This is a place where people have created memories, many of which they will carry with them. Friendships were formed here. Connections were made. So many first dates happened here. Boy I could tell you stories, but the best ones ended in more dates, relationships, and recently a marriage proposal which had begun as a first date at our bar. It was awesome. Congratulations Andy and Kristin!

Love is just the beginning of the memories. Grape Vegas embraced local musicians in a beautiful way. Kevin Mahoney built an outstanding music calendar and fostered genuine relationships with a multitude of artists who became family. We had so many talented singers and musicians grace our small little nook of a stage and transport us to rock-n-roll heaven…or jazz heaven…or blues heaven! What a time to be remembered; to be talked about and sung about; to be recounted in stories of epic jam session proportions. If you were never there, you certainly missed something special. I wear a locket around my neck with an inscription that seems appropriate…“If music be the food of love, play on that strain again!” Cheers to that!

Music was a part of creating the vibe that came to define Grape Vegas, much like the artwork that filled our walls. From hyper-real nude paintings to thoughtful abstracts, and traditional canvases to metal grinding, the environment was one of a kind. Most recently, our new resident artist brought huge, bold splashes of color, which I wish we could have spent more time appreciating. What a pleasure to be surrounded every day by such beauty and creativity. Thank you Mike Wardle. And a very special thank you goes out to A.D. Cook and Kathy Cook. We could not have done it without you!

None of the music or the art would have mattered if Grape Vegas had not been filled with such a wonderful staff. Chef Scott made our little wine bar a destination for fabulous food. He was always experimenting with new recipes and ingredients, which my hips can bear witness to. He never cared if I was watching what I ate or trying to be healthy. He would just laugh and shove a spoonful of bleu cheese and candied bacon gelato in my mouth (still one of the single best bites of food I have ever had!). I will miss walking into the kitchen every day and wondering what delights he will present me with. Thank you Chef!

I could say thank you a thousand times and never express the gratitude I have for our kitchen crew and our front of the house staff, many who were with us when we opened our doors over two years ago. Their hard work, love, passion and loyalty are the reason why we became such a favorite spot for locals. Who wouldn’t want to spend their time hanging out with this beautiful group of people? I know that each of them will be missed by too many fans to name and number, but never more than they will be missed by me.

All of those fans I just mentioned are the ultimate reason why Grape Vegas was able to thrive and become the haven that it was for so many. Our family, comprised of regulars, vendors, and anyone who stumbled in late night and got to know us into the wee hours, made us who we were. In my whole career, I have never known such an endless bounty of loving and generous people. After a lifetime of moving around, they are the reason I call Vegas home and cannot imagine being anywhere else. I look forward to many opportunities in the future to connect again and again and keep these relationships vital and meaningful. We are starting with Thanksgiving, when we will come together for the second year to celebrate all that we are grateful for. The list is long my friends!

I am realizing, as these words and memories spill out of me, that life is not about the places where we settle down, but rather about the changes in between. This is certainly one of those times. Nothing lasts forever, not even Grape Vegas. Though I had hoped we would not end in this fashion, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the honor of being allowed to take the journey. Nothing has really ended anyway. We have only entered a time of new beginnings, for all of us. And I am confident in my heart that there are breathtaking views on the other side of this mountain and possibilities we have not even dreamed of. Thank you everyone…for everything. Now let’s go find another adventure! Cheers!

Jennifer Gaydeski

Former GM, Grape Vegas