Downtown Columbia mainstay Village Wine and Cheese closed it’s doors for good last Saturday. The Tribune did an initial story on Monday about it; Marcia Vanderlip says she’s writing up a more in-depth story for Wednesday’s paper. I know it’s not good to speak ill of the dead, but VWC had really declined in terms of food and service over the past few years. I’ve had inedible sesame tuna, steaks and a bartender who — though friendly — had never heard of Cotes du Rhone. Call me a snob if you want, it was a wine and cheese shop and the bartender was unfamiliar with the basics.
Kathy herself was ever-present and knowledgeable. I wonder how much of their downfall stems from a poor business decision (switching from cheese, wine and sandwiches to a higher-end, full-service restaurant) and how much from poor execution from the staff (mediocre food, indifferent service). If you’ve gone to the restroom you see what a miserable kitchen was shoehorned into the building…that couldn’t have helped.
The question remains: What will replace Village Wine and Cheese? It’s a strange layout and a reportedly high rent played a major role in its demise, which could scare off future tenants. My money’s on someone swooping in and reopening under the VWC name. Despite the confusion among some on the Trib’s message board as to what kind of operation it was, the Village Wine and Cheese name is a recognizable, and valuable, local brand.