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Twisted Cork in Naperville

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I've driven by the Twisted Cork in the Naperville Plaza at Gartner and Washington St. many times but haven't yet visited. They say it features small dishes and salads, as well as desserts, a lot of wine by the glass and bottle as well as live music. Has anyone experienced it yet?

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  1. We stopped in a couple of weeks ago, and I'm hoping they just need to work out some kinks, being a new business, but I'm not too confident of that. The wine selection was ok, a step up from the mundane selections at most of the downtown Naperville restaurants. We sat at the bar, and got a brief description of the menu, (basically read the section headings to us.) We ordered flights - my husband ordered the sparkling, I got an assortment of reds. One of my glasses had food particles stuck to the inside. Other than that, my wines were decent. My husband didn't care for 2 of his 3 sparklings, as they were both sweet, and he was not under the impression he'd ordered dessert wine, (perhaps neither was the restaurant).

    We tried inquiring about some of the wines, and the bar staff had little wine knowledge - so annoying at a WINE BAR. We ordered another glass, and a dessert, a flourless chocolate cake. During the wait for that, it struck me that this place had been open less than 2 weeks, and you'd think you'd see the owner there, making sure everything is running smoothly, but we hadn't seen her yet. Soon after, I did see a very casually dressed woman strike up a conversation with another woman at the bar next to me, and overheard that she was the owner. It sounded like she was trying to sell her (the patron) on some type of wine sales program akin to Amway, (in-home wine tastings.)

    Anyways, our dessert arrived, and it was frozen - nearly rock solid. It tasted ok, but how much fun is chiseling away at your dessert??? Not very.
    While we were waiting for our check, the owner at that point asked us if everything was ok. Yeah, now, sure.

    One other scary/amusing thing I observed was I heard the owner exclaim to the woman next to me - "Oh, you HAVE to try our bread and butter!" She then proceeded to go over to the wait station, and plunge her bare hand that had just been drumming its fingers on the bar into the bread basket. Yummy.

    I imagine we'll give it another shot, though, since we're often at Trader Joe's and/or Cab's wine store in that plaza. They did have some cheese plates, small dishes and salads that sounded ok. As long as they're not frozen solid, I'm up for trying them next time. I'll probably stay away from the bread and butter, though...

    1 Reply
    1. re: naperwino

      WOW! How do you really feel?

      According to today's Naperville Sun, the lady owner is founder of the Naperville Wine Club and runs at-home wine parties - that would explain the conversation you overheard. The other owner is "a former commodities trader who became a chef after his wife encouraged him to take evening classes at the Culinary and Hospitality Instiute of Chicago". With little to no experience in running a restaurant, they're not likely to be very into correct service and protocol. Think I'll stay away from this place.

    2. I find the comments interesting -- people have some definite opinions here.

      Personally I have never been in the twisted cork, didn't really sound like the kind of place I'd like -- now maybe I will.

      I think it is also very interesting that 'naperwino' was not totally turned off, she intends to give the place another shot. The entire staff at a wine palce really ought to be conversant in some details, that is shortcoming that I'd hope the owners address. Similarly if a desert (that should not be frozen) made its way out of the ktichen rock hard that is easy to fix.

      The "former commodity trader" angle jibes with my experience in businesses that are hard to get off the ground/find traditional ways to fund, and something that should encourage folks -- such a person probably has quite a passion for food/wine and has decided to invest his time in the place as well as risk his own money. Much better than the faceless "corporate ownership" that gives us too many bland chain restaurants.

      1. I went to Twisted Cork a couple of weekends ago with my mom who loves wine. She was excited to give Twisted Cork a try, since it was relatively neew in town. We had a similar experience to the first poster, dirty wine glasses, & pretty poor service. The servers didnt seem to know their wines at all. We wondered if they even had been trianed in the basics. It did not appear that there was even a manager working so there was no-one to really say anything to about the poor time.

        As for the food we did not try any, we saw some of the items pass by on the way to other customers, and they looked pretty uninspiring. Not a surprise, I was not expecting much I have worked with C.H.I.C. grads in the past, and was never impressed with the quality of "chef" they turn out. So we went elsewhere for a meal after we finished our wine.

        They had really better raise the bar as far as service, and cleanliness if they want ot compete in the tough Naperville restaurant scene. Especially with their out of the way location.

        1. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and opinions so far. The article in the Naperville Sun today was interesting and did indicate the owners were not veteran restaurant owners. It appears that they do have a passion for what they are doing and that can only help them in their efforts to make the business successful. I like the concept of it being a local place to be able to go to and have a glass of wine and an appetizer or light meal after a movie or shopping....or just to get out for a while. Maybe it's like a fine wine and will get better as it ages ;-)

          1. ********Twisted Cork is now DISTINCTIVE CORK******** No longer using name Twisted Cork

            1 Reply
            1. re: twocentsplain

              Hate to say it, but Distinctive Cork doesn't exactly strike me as catchy. I'm reserving judgment on this place, but, from what I've read about it, it sounds like they have had some glitches. That said, I like the concept, and, although I still haven't made it in there yet, it's close enough that I almost can stumble home.

            2. We also tried the place. I hope they read all these comment most are on the mark and they are quite easy fixes We need more local flair in town , it would be a shame if they did not make it, if any one drops by print these and give to the owners

              1. So it's been a little while now since they opened. They changed their name and their website is up http://www.distinctivecork.com. I did try to go there a couple weeks ago on a Tuesday and their sign indicated they opened at 5pm but their closed sign was lit at 5:15 and no one appeared to be around. Instead of waiting around, we went elsewhere. We did go by the place after we had dinner and it had opened and appeared to have a nice crowd inside. Has anyone been there lately? I hope they have overcome some of their issues since first opening (maybe we just went on an off night).

                1 Reply
                1. re: janybird

                  At the last minute, we decided to give the Distinctive Cork a try on Saturday night. I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised by this place. The restaurant was very crowded -- it is a large space and it was nearly 100% full (I suspect the fact that it was "sweetest day" may have had something to do with this). However, our server was very good and attentive (albeit a bit rushed and frazzled at times).

                  Maybe our expectations were low, but the quality of the food really surprised us. We shared a decent salad, followed by an excellent, very well-prepared filet, as well as a very good risotto and chicken skewers. It's my understanding that the food is tapas-style and meant to be shared, but the portions were quite large. The wine list is ok...Personally, I'd like to see more cabernets in the $7-$10 (per glass) price range, as well as more depth in the Italian selections.

                  Overally, our experience there was very good...Nice atmosphere (jazz trio) and good food. On the one hand, I'm sorry it took us so long to try this place, but maybe they worked out some of the kinks. I think we'll definitely be repeat customers.

                2. I think this is a nice little restaurant trying to be different in a sea of Naperville corporate and me-to places. We have been and yes there are a few problems, but what restaurant doesn't. The pace was fine, the food was pretty good and the service was acceptable. If you are looking for something different that the mob scene downtown Naperville or the chain restaurants everywhere. I'd say try it.