|WINE SELLER: Patrick Colombo helped The Mansion expand its wine list. Now he’s expanding his Cru wine bar concept to eight new cities by 2008.
photography by Bode Helm
“There’s a genuine happiness you see in people when they sit around and share WINE,” says Patrick Colombo, CEO of Restaurant Works. He came to Dallas in 1982 and worked for The Mansion to help expand its wine list. (It worked: The Mansion won Wine Spectator’s coveted Grand Award for its selection in 1985.) Organizing wine classes for the staff made Colombo realize that learning about wine is as much a part of the experience as drinking it. Around that idea, he built Cru, a wine bar for both the experienced Epicurean and the casually Epicurious. The concept took hold; there are Cru locations in Dallas, Plano, The Woodlands, Austin, and Denver, Eight more are planned by the end of 2008. Colombo’s “first”? (Wine enthusiasts talk of the bottle that sparked their passion like a poet does his first love.) “My tastes have evolved, but for me it was a Chevalier Montrachet,” he says. Cheers to that.