A certified sommelier, Jennifer Bingham fell in love with wine when she was studying abroad in Australia and had the chance to tour vineyards there. She and her husband, Torrey, opened Cru Cellars in Palma Ceia in 2010 to give wine lovers a sophisticated, fun place to discover new wines. Their food menu focuses on small and shareable plates that pair well with one of the many wines they carry.
What is your favorite small plate from another restaurant?
The mojo pork carnitas taco from bartaco is a current favorite. It’s two-and-a-half bites of rich, savory pork wrapped in the comfort of a delicious corn tortilla. The Ovum Big Salt organic white [wine] blend out of Oregon would be perfect with this. It has the acidity to cut into the richness of the pork and then plenty of citrus and stone fruit to round it out.
What should a first-time visitor to your restaurant order?
The cheese curds are hard to turn down at our Palma Ceia location, and the steak frites are amazing at both locations [Palma Ceia and Armature Works]. I can’t get enough of the béarnaise sauce. And of course, we are known for our cheese and charcuterie
What has been the best thing about opening Cru Cellars?
Fostering the growing wine community in Tampa, including giving careers in wine and food to our staff and guiding customers into trying and learning more about wines they love.
You say you learned to love wine while studying in Australia. What happened there that piqued your love of wine?
Studying abroad there and visiting vineyards when I was 20 years old opened my eyes to the world of wine and I never turned back! I am still transported back to Aussie Wine Country when I taste a well-balanced Shiraz.
Cru Cellars, Palma Ceia
2506 S. MacDill Ave.
1601 W. Snow Ave.