In an effort to expand business and offer another service to guests, Billy Allin has transformed The Bakery at Cakes & Ale into combined The Wine Shop at Cakes & Ale, a combined shop and bar. Jordan Smelt, the restaurant's sommelier, is in charge of stocking the shop's shelves.
Lunch service is moving to the main Cakes & Ale restaurant, but coffee and pastries will still be available at the revamped side space. In the coming weeks, small plates will be served as well, though Smelt says they're strictly for snacking, not meant to be a full meal. The idea is for patrons to stop in before or after dinner for a drink and light bite.
With Allin's plans to open Bread & Butterfly, an "all-day bakery" in Inman Park, the Cakes & Ale team decided the time was right for the change.
The wine shop features a small collection — no more than 85 bottles — chosen by Smelt. The sommelier says he wants it to be a friendly neighborhood go-to for Decatur, and he plans to make the wine-buying experience "as approachable as possible."
"When you're hanging out with your friends, you have to find out what they like," Smelt said. "The most important thing we do is listen."
The available selection will change often and follow seasonal trends. Some bottles will be available by the glass on the Cakes & Ale wine list, but nothing available by the bottle will be sold in the shop. Though, when a bottle moves off the restaurant's list, Smelt said it's possible he'll add it to the shop's inventory.
Bottles are on sale now, and Smelt anticipates the transition from bakery to wine bar to be complete by mid-December. Initial hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.