Spend an evening at Dixie Lee’s Vino Manzanita and you may find yourself raising a toast with all sorts of characters – literary agents, former sports stars, writers, painters or just the average Joes who keep the place humming through the year. It’s the kind of place that welcomes all comers, and where friendships are forged daily.
“The people here are just so supportive, embracing,” Dixie says. “I love the one-on-one with the customers. I’ve just met some wonderful, wonderful people in this business.”
Dixie bought the wine bar in 2007.
“I was just kind of floating around because my partner had passed away,” she recalls. “I saw this newspaper ad that the wine bar was for sale. I thought, Wow, this sounds fun. So I called my best friend and she said, ‘I’ve been to that wine bar. Buy it.’ And I did.”
Dixie keeps the menu simple, offering two or three entrees, such as andouille sausage or vegetarian lasagna, and 10 to 12 small plates – including cheeses, smoked salmon, nuts, antipasti and French Brie – each night. There’s also beer, sake and dessert on the menu.
And she is, by her own description, “very picky” about her wine selection.
“I always have an Oregon and Washington wine on my pour list,” she says. “But then I have a little bit of something from all over the globe. I don’t want anything on my shelf that I can find at the local grocery store.”
Combine the good food, fine wine and friendly people, and the occasional unforgettable evening is sure to ensue.
“A couple walked in the wine bar early in the morning while I was prepping for the evening,” Dixie says. “They wanted to know if they could get married on the back patio that same evening. I said, “Sure, why not!” They brought a few friends and someone to perform the ceremony. They invited my other customers to join them. A guy walking by with a guitar came in and played for them all evening. The night was warm and beautiful and they have been forever thankful for the experience.”
Vino Manzanita is located at 387 Laneda Ave # D in the center of Manzanita village.