Heroic Deli has been serving up sandwiches for downtown Santa Monica’s lunchtime crowds for two months. Now, its creators are swapping out sandwiches for wine and fine dining in a cozy restaurant next door.

“People who already love our sandwiches will come to the wine bar,” said co-creator Jeffrey Merrihue.

Heroic Wine Bar is opening this Friday at 514 Santa Monica Blvd. and will be serving Italian fare from award-winning chef Barbara Pollastrini in addition to a wine, cheese and charcuterie menu. All cheeses and meats at both the deli and the wine bar are imported and the wines are rated 90 points or higher.

Merrihue said the bar and restaurant will be intimate and romantic but also feature a carved wood table seating 16 people as a centerpiece. Diners will sit below a ceiling painted with constellations and wallpaper depicting black-and-white forests.

“We’re going for a secret garden vibe,” he said.

The menu includes vegetarian, meat and seafood dishes in each of its categories. Customers can choose between a cauliflower ribeye and cioppino as a main course, or sea urchin pasta and lamb ragu rigatoni. Appetizers are all $14, pastas are $16, main courses are $20 and dessert is $10. Wine will run diners $12-14 per glass and $40-50 per bottle.

When Merrihue and Adam Fleischman, the creator of Umami Burger and 800 Degrees, acquired the storefront vacated by vegan restaurant Erven in January, they were surprised to find it had two doors, bathrooms and kitchens, Merrihue said. They saw an opportunity to capture two different markets: lunch and dinner.

“(Heroic Deli) is mobbed at lunch and we do a lot of catering for nearby offices,” Merrihue said. “But when people leave work, they want to go to a wine bar.”

Heroic Wine Bar fits into Santa Monica Boulevard’s growing fine dining scene, he added. Top Chef contestant Nyesha Arrington opened Native up the street in 2017, as did Andrea Inio’s Orto, joining mainstays like Tar and Roses.

“It’s very quickly become quite a special street in Santa Monica,” Merrihue said. “We hope together these restaurants can raise the profile of Santa Monica in general and Santa Monica Boulevard specifically as a place for foodies to visit that’s as good as Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Downtown Los Angeles.”

 

madeleine@smdp.com

 

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