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Jul 25, 2007 04:56 AM

Twisted Cork in Naperville

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. The original comment has been removed
      1. 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 ;-)