At the new Solo Vino Wine Parlor in downtown Aiken, the alcoholic beverage served there inspired the decor.
Wine racks on the walls are filled with bottles.
And “as you can see, we have posters that represent the 14 major wine producing regions in the world – the New World and the Old World,” said Lou Giusto, who owns business with his wife, Stephanie Sheridan. “The eventual goal is to have representations of the wine from all 14 of the regions here.”
So far, since Solo Vino opened late last month on the corner of Newberry Street and Park Avenue, the several flights of wine offered make up its No. 1 category in sales.
Each flight features a trio of 3 ounce wine samples.
“One of the things that is important to us is to educate our clientele,” Giusto said. “In a flight, for example, you might get a 3-ounce pour of chardonnay from France, a 3-ounce pour of chardonnay from Napa Valley and a 3-ounce pour of chardonnay from Australia. You get to taste them and compare them and find out how they are different even though they are made from the same type of grape. It’s fun.”
While drinking their wine, customers can sit at tables or in a parlor-style area where there are sofas and upholstered chairs.
And even though Solo Vino’s name means “just wine” in Spanish, other beverages such as craft beers, hard ciders, iced tea and coffee are available.
In addition, soups, salads, cheese and charcuterie boards, sandwiches, entrees and desserts are served because Solo Vino also is a restaurant.
“If I take you back in our kitchen, you won’t see a fryer because we don’t fry our food and you won’t see a freezer because everything is fresh,” Giusto said. “We do a lot of fusion cooking where we combine different ingredients from different cuisines on a plate. We also do some very traditional, classic European cooking.”
Among the sandwiches on Solo Vino’s menu are the Austin Powers “Shag-a-Delic” grilled cheese (with ham and pineapple) on sourdough bread and the sauteed pork tenderloin with chutney, which is on a baguette.
“They are both very popular,” Giusto said.
Other options for diners include grilled rack of lamb, zucchini ribbon pasta, grilled rib-eye steak and shrimp, chicken and sausage jambalaya.
“Our salmon is a little bit different because a lot of people here grill it, but we poach it in white wine,” Giusto said.
Solo Vino also has a wine club and special wine dinners for the club’s members.
“Our atmosphere is upscale, but we aren’t stuffy,” said Giusto, who is a chef and a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers. “We’re a place where you can come in and feel relaxed. Equestrians come in wearing their breeches if they choose to, and there is no jacket required.”
Giusto and Sheridan moved to Aiken in 2016.
“I grew up in a little town called Windber in Pennsylvania, and Stephanie grew up in Bethesda, Maryland,” Giusto said.
Sheridan is a contractor for the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C.
Giusto previously served as a special projects manager for the Charleston County School District.
When younger, he worked in his family’s restaurant.
Giusto also has held positions with the Gilbert-Robinson restaurant firm, Eurest Dining Services and i Ricchi Ristorante in Washington, D.C.
Solo Vino is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and from 5 to 9 p.m. on Monday.
For more information, call 803-262-5335 or visit solovinoaiken.com.
There also is a Solo Vino Wine Parlor page on Facebook.
Solo Vino’s address is 200 Park Ave. S.W.