Fayetteville has a wide range of restaurants, offering everything from international cuisine to typically Southern fare. An inviting array of bistros that include the word “grille” in their name is familiar in our city, and exact replicas of them can be found when one travels to other cities.
But there are few opportunities to experience truly fine dining in Fayetteville. The singular example of a restaurant that aspires to provide that experience for Fayettevillians and visitors alike is The Vineyard Intimate Dining, tucked away in the McPherson Square shopping center. Proximate to what is known as Restaurant Row, The Vineyard offers a unique dining experience, combining food that is beyond excellent and an atmosphere that enhances the diner’s experience.
Others have launched upscale, gourmet restaurants in Fayetteville over the years, but probably none of those ventures had the business savvy behind The Vineyard. Owned by Matt Jones, a successful online entrepreneur, The Vineyard focuses on excellence in all things – the food, the wine collection, the service – but never takes its corporate eye off the bottom line and keeping costs in control.
Having come to Fayetteville from New Mexico, Matt Jones once served in the Army at Fort Bragg. After leaving the Army, he started a successful dot.com real estate company, Favorite Agent, and enjoyed living in a city that is growing and, he believes, has great potential. The Vineyard was formerly known as Trio’s, and while it was a good restaurant, Jones wanted to kick it up a notch.
The interior of the restaurant has been redecorated, and Jones began collecting wines that he believes rival any wine collection in town. He hired an executive chef, Donovan Vos, who was trained in South Africa, and found suppliers that provide the freshest, most excellent meats, fish and produce. (Though this article is not intended to be a review of the restaurant, I can personally vouch for the lamb entrée being the very best I’ve ever encountered anywhere!)
Jones candidly acknowledges that dining at The Vineyard is probably a special occasion kind of experience for most people.
“We do have some regulars,” he says, “but there’s always special occasions to bring people to The Vineyard, whether it’s a prom or an anniversary, something like that.”
Diners at The Vineyard sometimes get to meet Matt Jones while they are enjoying their menu selections. He’s known to visit each table, chatting with the diners, learning what they like.
The advent of BRAC (the base realignment and closure process which is bringing FORSCOM and ARCOM headquarters to Bragg) is also a factor in Jones’ decision to invest in an upscale restaurant. He knows that many of the people who will come to Fayetteville with BRAC are used to fine restaurants, good wines, excellent service and all that comes with such a dining experience. When they get here, Jones expects to be ready. He smiles at the prospect of seeing The Vineyard filled every night, the jazz pianist providing the musical background to happy people enjoying fine food and drink.
The Vineyard Intimate Dining is located at 201 S. McPherson Church Road, Suite 201. Reservations are not required, but you can make them if you like by calling 868-2443. The restaurant is open for lunch Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; open for dinner Monday-Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday evenings until 11 p.m.