Don’t be fooled by the nearly invisible door leading into Unwind! Texas Style Tasting Room & Cafe tucked in a shopping area on West Business U.S. Highway 190.
It is a hidden gem worth finding. With low lighting and cozy decor, the new wine cafe offers a blend of casual, family-friendly vibes and wines suited for drinkers and nondrinkers alike.
Owner Alicia Menard opened her dream-come-true business barely a month ago, and she soaked up hugs, smiles and congrats from well-wishers Tuesday at the grand opening.
“Wine has always been a passion of mine, and this was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Menard, a Copperas Cove resident with her family since 1999.
After four years of planning and two months of renovation work, with startup costs totaling almost $200,000, the 2,400-square-foot cafe boasts a main bar area with an adjoining room.
The ambiance combines a chic rustic Texas country feel with a simple elegance.
People gathered for casual chats at tables made from a wine barrel base and wooden top to drink, nibble on sausage, cheeses and dips and enjoy some of the menu items.
Killeen resident Denise Kahookele belongs to several wine clubs, so she was delighted when Unwind opened.
“This is a very good place that we need in the area,” she said.
While Menard has no formal training in the wine business, her previous work for the Lampasas Chamber of Commerce for eight years, put her in contact with vineyard owners in that area.
“We saw a lot of Central Texas people visit those wineries, so we decided to bring the Hill Country here with our wine cafe,” said Menard.”
All of the more than 80 wines are made in Texas, and so are the 11 craft beers and two ciders.
Menard also worked with a Liberty Hill winery to create Unwind’s own white and red wines.
Nondrinking adults can sip on Stubborn soda and other beverages.
The bistro menu features a variety of home-made sliders, panini sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts.
Wine lover Laura Campbell, of Killeen, sipped a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon doing exactly what the name says, unwind. “This place is for everyone and the food is wonderful too,”she said.
Mayor Frank Seffrood said the new business extends the city’s options.
“When we can have businesses like this, then people won’t leave town, and that’s good for our community,” Seffrood said.
Martin Spears, owner of Minuteman Press, made the menus for the grand opening, so he stopped by to support the new business.
“My wife and I used to drive to Georgetown for wine tastings and events, but now we have this business here, and it’s great,” Spears said.