The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 26, 2013

Vinnie's opens doors in downtown Clinton

By Katie Dahlstrom Herald Assistant Editor
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Care for a glass of brilliant wine? A speciality cocktail? A bottle of cold craft beer? How about a gourmet appetizer?

The owner of Clinton’s newest drinking establishment believes her business is just the place for someone looking for a more up-scale drinking and dining experience.

“It’s an eclectic place for adults to come and have a drink and a conversation,” Vinnie’s Lounge owner Jude Golinvaux said. “I call it, ‘the place to wine down.’”

Vinnie’s Lounge in downtown Clinton offers bevy of wines, specialty mixed drinks and martinis, 48 craft beers and gourmet appetizers.

Clinton’s own Wide River Winery serves as the house wine. Happy Hour at Vinnie’s, 224 Fifth Ave. South, runs from 3 to 6 p.m. with $1 off craft beer, 50 cents off domestic beer and daily wine specials.

Golinvaux started Vinnie’s, which owes its name to her late husband’s middle name, after her daughter, Amanda, suggested Clinton needed a comfortable, classy wine lounge.

“I usually greet people when they come in, it’s like Chicago place,” Golinvaux said. “Since we’ve been open, I’ve heard a lot of comments from people that we have needed this for a long time.”

She chose downtown Clinton because she loves it, having owned Ladybugs on Fifth Avenue South from 2001 to 2004.

Golinvaux’s daughter, Jessi Cook-Stearns, serves as her right-hand woman and Rob Sanders, who has been an executive chef in Seattle for the past 18 years, is now Vinnie’s executive chef.

Spinach and artichoke dip with crostini and a shrimp cocktail will be mainstays of the menu, which is available until 9:30 p.m. Sanders plans to come out with a new appetizer menu every week, featuring a meat, a seafood and a vegetarian option.

All the food is homemade with a focus on using local ingredients.

“Were trying to bring the big city here and show Clinton some good appetizers,” Sanders said.

In addition to the usual supply of wine, beer and top-shelf liquor, during Saturday football games Vinnie’s will offer a large bloody Mary bar.

Live music acts will play Vinnie’s once or twice a month. Acoustic duo, the Nadas, are lined up to play for the bar’s grand opening Saturday. On Saturday, Oct. 12, and Sunday, Oct. 13, Nashville-based duo, the Troubled Hearts, will play.

Besides the live music, Vinnie’s has a vintage jukebox stocked with a variety of music for patrons to choose from.

Vinnie’s also has a private room that can be reserved for groups of up to 12 for meetings, celebrations and other gatherings.

The lounge’s bar is made of a combination of repurposed granite from the front of the building, glass blocks and cedar. People looking for a classy, comfortable place to drink also can sit at the various tables in the bar or on the patio.

A large, lighted sign is still being crafted and Golinvaux plans to change the front of the building, but the lounge has been open for nearly two weeks, with the crowd growing everyday.

For those who have yet to try it, the reasons to come to Vinnies Lounge are simple, Golinvaux said: “The wait staff is very friendly, the food is excellent and the drinks are many.”

Vinnie’s is open from 2 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday; 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday; 10 to 2 a.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.