David Dietz has a knack for spotting trends. In 1992, while still in his 20s, he and a partner bought a Boston Chicken franchise before the company peaked. After spending time in Seattle, he opened Brandywine Brewing Company in Greenville—long before the craft brewing craze exploded in Delaware.
He now owns BBC Tavern, a riff on the old brewpub’s name without the brewery. His next project, however, doesn’t spotlight craft beer or elevated pub food. The refined Bar Reverie, located next to BBC in Greenville, is a wine bar restaurant and European-inspired bistro/café.
Despite the name, Bar Reverie is no daydream. It is the tangible, well-planned sum of two parts—Dietz, a seasoned restaurateur, and Lauren Golt, the marketing maven who turned a culinary concept into a lifestyle brand.
An Informed Decision
Golt’s impressive résumé includes jobs at a Manhattan fashion PR agency, a luxury women’s shapewear retailer and QVC, where she amassed skills in social media, email marketing, events and brand awareness. The Delaware resident, who started Social Stylate in 2012, handles marketing for several Greenville businesses, including BBC Tavern, which opened in 2009.
BBC is known for its wildly successful guest bartender nights and the covered outdoor area that Dietz crafted long before COVID-19 created the demand for al fresco dining. On any given afternoon, you’ll find ladies who lunch, retirees and office workers tucking in to Jamjoe’s nachos—named for Dietz’s father, who cut a mean rug on a wedding dance floor.
In a typically Delaware turnabout, BBC is in Pizza by Elizabeths’ original space, which became vacant when PBE moved to the former Brandywine Brewing Company, which Dietz owned from 1995 to 2004. The tavern represented Dietz’s return to Greenville after the Alexis I. du Pont High School graduate invested in projects in downtown Wilmington and Newark. He also had an eatery in Rehoboth. All but BBC have since been sold or closed.
For his sixth restaurant, Dietz is banking on the affluent community he knows so well. However, it was Golt who turned Dietz on to the old Ellie space. Initially, the veteran restaurateur balked. “I said, ‘I’m not a wealthy man, but I’m doing OK. I don’t need the challenge of another restaurant.” Golt persisted, assuring him that she would handle all the design details. “She took on a lot,” he notes.
Not Your Average Bistro
Not only did Golt come up with the new restaurant’s name but she also designed the logo, which she hand-painted and turned into a digital file. But her influence is especially evident in the décor. “I wanted it to be very different than anything else in the area,” she says.
The smart, stylish palette consists of black and white with pops of green and gold. The confident color scheme debunks the myth that a restaurant with French fare should look fussy. To be sure, the custom-made tables have sturdy metal bases that will take two people to move on the wood floors.
The overall look has strong undertones, but there are elegant lines throughout the dining room. Take, for example, the arched molding above the nine-seat bar. Even the bathrooms boast savoir-faire. For instance, the men’s room wallpaper is from Chris Benz, an American fashion designer, while the women’s room boasts paper from Sarah Jessica Parker, the star of Sex and the City. A custom scent from nearby Houppette perfumes the hand soap, hand lotion and diffuser.
The package reflects an urban sensibility that, in some respects, is more New York than stereotypical Paris.
A woman designed the space, and there are also women in the kitchen.
The chef is Manisha Collet-Govinden. Originally from Mauritius, off the coast of Madagascar, the chef studied at the Lycée Jean Drouant École Hôtelière de Paris and the Université Paris Nanterre. In Paris, she owned a fine dining destination with her husband, Jérôme, who himself is from a fourth-generation wine-making family in Burgundy, France, and is the sommelier for Bar Reverie.
Meanwhile, the pastry chef’s name might sound familiar to Wilmingtonians with a sweet tooth. Gretchen Sianni, formerly of De La Coeur Café et Pâtisserie in Wilmington, is back with her delectable pastries and breads.
Given the women’s talents, it is not surprising that Bar Reverie offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Guests can pop in after yoga for a house-made croissant and espresso, brewed with New York–based Felix Roasting Co.’s single-source Ethiopian beans. “We’re taking the coffee program very seriously,” Dietz says. “We have one grinder just for espresso and one for coffee.” Naturally, the espresso machine is Italian.
Breakfast items include pain perdu (French toast) made with brioche and topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream, brambleberry jam and toasted almonds. There’s ham on a baguette with homemade butter for lunch, and for dinner, roast chicken with fingerling potatoes.
Lunch offers a chic, café-style place to dine, says Golt, while the dinner vibe is that of a bustling French brasserie.
She calls the menu “travel-inspired with a nod to French cuisine.” However, most dishes have an American spin, adds Dietz, who is eager to make the restaurant approachable. Golt designed the concept to have the look and feel of the space change as the day progresses, from the table décor to the server’s outfits.
Beverages are as important as the cuisine. Behind the quartzite-topped main bar is a 24-tap temperature-controlled cuvenee system that preserves and dispenses wine. Each tap can handle two bottles, but the restaurant has over 100 wines from around the world that will rotate regularly from affordably priced to very expensive bottles for those who want to splurge, including a couple vintages of Haut-Brion, Château Margaux and Château Mouton Rothschild, among others.
Across the room, there is a small bar for curated tastings. “It’s a special experience with drinks and food,” Dietz explains. Golt sourced vintage glassware for the exclusive bar, while Dietz purchased the Riedel stemware for the dining room. There are six distinct glass styles to showcase each particular wine style, from pinot grigio to Bordeaux and Burgundies.
He learned the difference between drinking vessels at a workshop, where participants sipped wine from Dixie cups and standard restaurant wine glasses. “It was like a rainbow went off in your mouth,” he says after drinking from Riedel’s stemware.
Bar Reverie also offers beers on tap, but the emphasis is on food that pairs well with wine and wine that complements the food. In the end, Dietz says, Bar Reverie is primarily a restaurant.
It’s a smart approach considering that establishments with wine bar in the title haven’t necessarily been well received in Delaware. For example, in Sussex County, Bacchus Wine Bar in Milton, Vineyard Wine Bar & Bistro in Rehoboth and Cuvée Ray Wine Bar & Restaurant in Rehoboth quickly opened and closed.
That said, Snuff Mill Restaurant, Butchery & Wine Bar is a happy exception, and the owners of Bardea plan to open a wine bar and pasta restaurant this year. Soon, more wine-centric restaurants may vie for space with breweries, which has long been the case in cosmopolitan areas.
If so, Dietz, as usual, is on the cutting edge.