Best New Business: Saved by the Wine
The year 2020 was a daunting time for established business owners, so imagine opening the doors of a new bar and restaurant during a global pandemic.
That’s exactly what owners Erin O’Brien and Allison Buffum did with Saved by the Wine, which opened in August 2020 in Dillon.
“Opening during COVID was really, really difficult, obviously,” O’Brien said. “It was challenging. It was not exactly what we pictured our business to be, and we had to make adjustments.”
Initially operating with just the two owners, O’Brien said the pair was able to stay nimble and make constant changes in order to comply with the public health orders imposed on businesses. That included adjusting the original business concept of a wine bar and bakery to include more food items since bars were shuttered by a state order.
Shifting to more of a restaurant was a challenge with a “tiny, little kitchen,” O’Brien said, admitting that “COVID … has made us who we are in a sense.”
O’Brien and Buffum met as ski instructors at Keystone Resort and have worked a variety of food services jobs across the county, including roles as chefs, bartenders and servers. They used their experience to launch the new business.
The wine bar offers a small, savory food menu, including charcuterie, bruschetta, fondue and pot pies in addition to sweets like cookie sundaes, baklava and s’mores to complement its wine list. The wine bar also offers a seasonal weekend brunch with items like French toast, a smoked salmon frittata and a Monte Cristo tartine.
Most food items range from $8 to $25, and wines by the glass are priced at $8 to $14.
Pet lovers will be happy to learn that the business donates 2.5% of its profits to area animal organizations, including the Summit County Animal Control & Shelter and Summit Lost Pet Rescue.
“The premise of the entire business is that we are saving animals by drinking wine,” O’Brien said.
Saved by the Wine, 765 W. Anemone Trail Unit B in Dillon, is open from 2-10 p.m. daily with trivia on Tuesdays and live music on Sundays. Learn more at SavedByTheWine.com.
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