Yesterday afternoon I stopped by Parcht on Taos Plaza.
El Moises‘ glamour-pup hanging just outside the entry is a clue that Parcht is a little out of the ordinary, and certainly not typical of what one might expect to find in Taos.
Once inside, the moody lighting and black board art is more urban than mountain, and truly one could in fact be anywhere, in any cosmopolitan city or town, the world over.
This very sophisticated addition to Taos has in fact become a local favourite, which is not surprising considering our little community is quite worldly itself. Not to mention that here in Taos, there are few places to go at the end of a long day, where one can sit at a bar to enjoy a glass or two of good wine, and a small bite to eat before dinner at home or out with friends.
Parcht however is not just a wine bar. It is also a package store, with a small, but very impressive selection of wines, beer and an assortment of charcuterie items – hard to find cheeses and cured meats – for sale. Clearly a boon for locals and especially visitors to Taos, wanting to pick up a few snacks and a good bottle of wine to take back to their hotel rooms.
Kevin Hunter and his partner and co-proprieter Nicolette Casale were both there when I wandered in a little after 4pm. The couple are service industry pros with major track records. Prior to coming here a little over two years ago, they both worked with a major wine and spirits distributor based in Albuquerque, before being contracted to open Parcht by the restaurant group that also includes the Gorge.
I had met one of the partners in this group while eating at Seasons, a restaurant they own in Albuquerque. My daughter Angelica (who worked in the industry for many years), took me there for a divine dinner the night before I left for New York in late January.
Keith Roessler (and his identical twin brother, Kevin) spent their childhood visiting Taos often, where their uncle and restaurateur, Roger Roessler spent much of his time. Roger owned the building (and the former Ogilvies Restaurant) that has now become the home for The Gorge Bar & Grill and Parcht Bottleshop & Bites.
A group of investors, including the twins and their wives, had the opportunity to buy it from him in 2009 and have since involved themselves in the transformation and growth of the business.
“We started working for Roger in 1994,” Keith told me, ” and ventured on our own in 2003 with Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro and Savoy Bar & Grill in 2006 and now the concepts here in Taos.”
The aforementioned uncle has since joined their father in Sonoma, California where the two of them started a winery 17 years ago, with a focus on Pinot Noir.
“Our restaurants certainly maintain an emphasis on the wine,” says Keith. ” Kevin has a much better palate than I do, but don’t tell him I said so!”
“And the only way we could have succeed long-term was by surrounding ourselves with genuinely good people, who actually love food, wine and spirits, and succeeding as a team.” He explained, ” Nicolette is my daughter (wife’s daughter from a previous marriage) whom I am blessed to have had in my life since she was 14, Hunter is a wine genius and Nicolette’s partner and partner in Parcht, ” he continued. “The two of them are entirely responsible for what Parcht has become.”
Nicolette grew up in Albuquerque and Hunter is from San Diego, but has lived in New Mexico since he enrolled at UNM after High School. He had plans to become an architect but needing a night job to support himself, he fell into the restaurant business and discovered a new interest in fine wines and food.
The couple met a decade ago and together have created the vibe and ambience that envelopes one upon entering this unique and delightful space.
“We love Taos,” Nicolette told me, “it has been so welcoming to us and the fact that most of our clientel is local really makes us feel good about what we are doing.”
That said, the couple told me they are seeing many return visitors this year. Skiers coming down from TSV and other tourists here for Spring Break, who discovered Parcht on previous trips. In just two short years, it is now a destination spot!
“I miss the ocean sometimes,” Hunter said,” but I really love the South West, and Taos really embodies what the South West is about.”
“It’s become home.” He smiled.
As we chatted, people started to arrive, greeting the couple like old friends before seating themselves at the bar or the small tables arranged around the intimate space.
Hunter left us to go and attend to his customers’ needs; pouring wine, taking orders and making small talk.
Nicolette disappeared into the back with orders for John Lamendola who runs the kitchen, and It was time for me to take my leave.
For more information about Parcht, please visit their site linked below this post.
All shots taken on my iphone