Wine + Market Creates for Community

by Alex Cheser
Columnist

Not long after my arrival at Transylvania, I heard about Wine+ Market and the fabulousness of its freshly baked baguettes and cheese. I hadn’t ventured to explore the gems of Jefferson Street and the so-called “revival” until this semester. Once I realized the cute blue and red building on the corner of Jefferson and Second Street was Wine + Market, I knew I had to stop.

I’ll admit I was overcome with an impulse for the Scandinavian and purchased some Jarlsberg cheese from Norway during my first visit. It was delicious. I returned later with my friend Luke Baker to sample the food they prepare in-store.

The small menu consists of eight or so sandwiches and fruit combinations or salads assembled to order. I ordered the chorizo, artichoke heart, spinach and Manchego sandwich on focaccia. Luke had the Comté, prosciutto cotto, and organic fig spread sandwich on whole wheat. I think we both agreed they were easily some of the best sandwiches we’d eaten.

Owned by Krim Boughalem and his wife Andrea Sims, Wine + Market opened just over three years ago. Boughalem, who originates from the Savoy region of the French Alps, worked in France, the United Kingdom and New York City as a restaurant owner and chef before he met Sims, a painter and Lexington native, and eventually relocated to Kentucky.

Compromising Boughalem’s desire to open a wine bar and Sims’ desire for a neighborhood market, Wine and Market opened with the intention of being the corner grocery downtown. However, the response wasn’t as strong as Sims anticipated.

“I don’t know why people keep going on about having a grocery downtown when we’ve been here,” Sims said.

I suppose we find the “Wal-Mart run” synonymous with groceries. We at Transy talk about our great downtown location, but if we don’t actually engage in our community then we promote empty words. Luke pointed out Transy’s lacking engagement with surrounding neighborhoods and suggested food might be one way to begin bridging that gap.

Due to the clientele change, Wine + Market shifted to become more of a specialty and gourmet food and wine store. It carries items like gourmet cheeses, local and imported meats and vegetables, locally ground flour, jams and jellies, pasta products, fresh baked bread from Sunrise Bakery and of course wine. Food and Wine magazine even named the store one of the top five natural wine shops in the United States.

Wine + Market also sells pastries baked daily by the chef at Table 310, Boughalem and Sim’s new restaurant on West Short Street. Luke tried the chocolate croissant and I had a lemon-ginger macaroon, the delicate and colorful French confectionery consisting of two almond-and-meringue-based cookies sandwiched with jam or buttercream. They were both absolutely wonderful, but I must mention the malted caramel macaroon I sampled on an earlier visit — easily one of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted.

Boughalem and Sims’ commitment to high-quality food that’s simple and delicious generates their success. Some people might write the place off as one of those fancy import food shops meant for the well-off, but that’s not the intention at all. Wine + Market tries to offer the best food and wine possible whether it happens to be imported or sourced locally.

“We don’t sell anything that we don’t love,” Sims said. “Even if it’s a $7.95 wine, we carry it because it’s a really good wine that we’ve tasted and drink ourselves.”

Meals costs around $10 at Wine + Market, but you can easily go for a coffee and get some homework done using its Wi-Fi. The gorgeously decorated interior contains wooden tables and stools, rustic floral arrangements, soft white lighting and big windows, white walls with antlers painted white and a mural by Sims. The wine room, which also has seating, is a darker, glossier affair. Wine + Market is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

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One Response to Wine + Market Creates for Community

  1. Stella says:

    Nice write up! A friend of mine passed the link on to me, since I work at table 310. Glad to hear the macarons went over well, if anyone would ever like to give them a shot, I have the recipe on my blog. Cheers!

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