WINE DOWN

Written By: Joshua Bradford Gray | Photography By: Brian Sager

Why Petrichor Wine Bar is the perfect place to sip into something comfortable.

The name of the newest wine bar on 130 Pleasant Street—Petrichor—is one of those whimsical words meant to conjure the senses. While the dictionary defines it as the scent that lingers in the air after the first rain, oenophiles have adopted “petrichor” to describe a particularly aromatic wine. But for Petrichor’s owner, Jill Viselli, the word also embodies a lifelong passion for food and wine that she’s now pouring into the new year-round restaurant and bar.

“We’re not pretentious and don’t have that ‘upscale wine bar’ feel,” says Viselli, who is a sommelier by training and a veteran of such fine-dining establishments as Galley Beach and the Nantucket Golf Club. “We’re casual in here and we want our patrons to feel they can come in that way as well.”

That being said, Petrichor has a serious wine list at its heart, complemented by a wide variety of foreign and domestic whiskeys, a full cocktail list and plenty of great food. The extensive wine list caters to just about every taste, from Provence to Napa Valley and everywhere in between and beyond. “Having worked as a sommelier on the island for so long, I know well what Nantucket wants to drink,” Viselli says. “We carry the favorites as well as a rotating list of diverse selections.” For those not in the mood for wine, the curated list of whiskeys contains a number of exciting selections, including several from Japan.

Petrichor’s kitchen is led by Chef Tyrone Williams whom Viselli recruited through a friend and colleague in Miami. “Tyrone has expanded the menu extensively since he’s arrived and he’s really very creative,” Viselli says. The menu smacks of global influences, from the hearty trattorizza in Italy to the crowded, narrow streets of Paris. Some of Petrichor’s most popular dishes include generous cheese and charcuterie boards; deep-fried, locally made burrata; succulent short ribs; and flavor-filled lamb lollipops. “We play with ingredients to create elevated comfort food that is unique and delicious, but also incredibly fresh,” says Viselli, who sources her fish and produce locally. “As someone who has traveled a lot and dined at some of the best restaurants in the world, I’m very involved in the process and know what I want—and our chef delivers every time.” For dessert, Petrichor has a rotating selection of decadent, homemade staples such as key lime pie and New York-style cheesecake. And, of course, there’s always wine.

Open year-round—seven days a week in the high season, and Tuesday through the weekly Sunday brunch the rest of the year—Petrichor is available for private parties and has plans to offer paired wine dinners in the near future. Comfortable and inviting, the wine bar and lounge are an ideal hot spot to warm your bones throughout the winter. “We just want people to be able to come in as they are and have some great food and drink,” Viselli says. “I’ve listened to people in restaurants for years talk about their experiences, and I’ve tried to run my restaurant based on the way I like to be treated when I go out.”

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