On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Dawn Longmore was slicing citrus at the bar while her daughter, Mikhala, served the first table of the night on a cozy, flower-filled patio at 1730 Wine Bar and Eats in the heart of Mount Vernon, off Gramatan Avenue.
The familial, super friendly staff at the newly opened restaurant is a welcome balm for eager neighbors who have been waiting for a place like this nearby and for diners, in general, who have been starved too long of the thing that matters most: the gathering of family and friends.
And gathering is what this new spot is all about. “I love people and food and wine,” says Longmore, a former horticulturalist, who was raised in an enormous family (She’s one of eleven!) where members frequently come together around the table. She jokes that, with so many people to feed, her home kitchen always feels like a restaurant anyway.
View this post on Instagram
But the Longmore family, which includes her husband Ian, are brand-spanking new to the restaurant business. It was a daunting obstacle, especially during the pandemic. But it didn’t prove a deterrent for this gutsy family who were set on realizing their ultimate dream. “We just took a chance,” says Longmore. And if the first month of business is any indication, the chance they took is paying off.
Folks have been flocking to the restaurant since its opening on September 15. “People have been saying to me, ‘We’ve been wanting a place like this for a long time,’” says Longmore. “We’ve had people in the neighborhood who have been here six times already.”
Longmore’s shareable plates and family atmosphere turn the wine bar concept on its head. 1730 isn’t so much an erudite experience for connoisseurs as it is a chance to come together for a sip and nosh on the everyday. But Longmore tries to go above and beyond for her increasing number of loyal customers.
“We aim to please,” she says. All of the wines currently on the list are by the glass. “I don’t want to do anything that’s mediocre for our customers.”
Chef Myra Session, who previously worked at celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster in Harlem, has created an eclectic menu reflective of Longmore’s Caribbean culture (Jamaican) as well as the diverse cultures of the neighborhood (Portuguese, Brazilian, and Italian among them).
The crowd-pleasing menu contains shareable flatbreads, cheese, and charcuterie boards. Wings, including the ones slicked with sweet and spicy pineapple Habanero sauce, are addictive.
View this post on Instagram
Get them as a sampler with coconut shrimp and garlic parmesan fries. There’s white wine pasta topped with jerk chicken and Dawn’s 1730 burger which includes jerk aioli, an egg, and coco bread, a Caribbean hard dough bun made with coconut milk. Session also serves up pineapple salsa with plantain dippers, spring rolls, mac ‘n’ cheese, and meatballs two ways. Longmore’s sister, Debbie Vally, makes the popular cupcakes.
Sunday brunch includes a sharable pastry board, pancakes with white wine whipped cream and red wine berry compote, waffles with fried chicken, a chia seed brulee made with coconut milk, and the ubiquitous avocado toast.
The name 1730 is a nod to military time inspired by another sister with a habit of speaking in those terms. Like, who amongst us hasn’t uttered the oh-so-hopeful phrase: “It’s got to be 5 o’clock somewhere.” Even Jimmy Buffet, king of Margaritaville, sang it in a song. For sailors wondering if the sun had past the yardarm yet, the appropriate start of drinking time was roughly 11 a.m. For the Longmores, it’s 5:30 p.m., though they really start serving at 4 p.m., proving time is merely an illusion when you’re getting your drink on with friends.