Thursday, December 1, 2011

30. The Vine in Niles

The odds of stumbling across The Vine in Niles will be not unlike opening up a briefcase and finding this. Surprised? Yes! Disappointed? No way! This is how I felt about The Vine, a quaint, newly- opened restaurant in the Fremont, CA suburb called Niles.

I'll begin by admitting a couple things: 1) I've been moving apartments and dealing with holiday obligations and thus have no been updating this site very much, to which I apologize. And 2) My sister opened this restaurant herself so I purposefully drove the 400+ miles north just to go to it. Familial connections aside, I'll do my best to not give it undue credit.


Seriously, it's really good. I'm very proud of my sister's hard work in this venture, and it shows with the final product. Yelp reviewers all love it, and apparently they pulled a VERY substantial profit in their first month of business - literally unheard of in the food biz.

Located in Fremont, CA in the small suburb of downtown Niles, The Vine serves contemporary cuisine prepared by executive chef Annie Wood, a lifelong friend and co-owner with my sister. While Annie is charged with all things edible, my sister handles all finances, vendors, front-end operations, and literally built most of the furnishings by hand.

Before I discuss the food, I believe the "town" of Niles deserves some attention. Niles is one of those communities that, to an outside viewer, looks like everyone has the same two parents. I don't mean this in the retarded, incest-driven hillbilly sort of way. I mean that everyone dresses the same, makes roughly the same amount of money, and every citizen can communally discuss last night's episode of WWE SmackDown!! on TBS.

The residents of Niles decided they needed a downtown strip, you know, a place to put all their old, unused furniture and clutter. 10 years later this unused furniture morphed into 17 antique shops, 12 glass-art studios, and 6 silent movie theaters. A quaint downtown indeed. They even added a magical train of lights which pulls in every hour or so to the delight of the ignorant rednecks who've never seen multiple light bulbs amassed in a single location before. True magic!!
"Dale, something aint quite right 'bout that train."

Meanwhile, the Niles residents plum-forgot about actually building any restaurants or cafe's on their downtown strip. This is why my sister and Annie decided to build a place where townsfolk could bring a date, have a drink, and discuss the unholy practice of using contraceptives.

Now, onto The Vine itself. As previously mentioned, the ambiance is delightful. My sister (a sheet-metal worker by trade) designed and built the floors and tables from scratch. Furnished with chic ornaments and tasteful accents, The Vine reeks of class and is a great place to take a date or to have casual drinks with friends. Even the bathrooms are tastefully done. You could seriously eat to the point of explosive shits and screams and still comfortably relax on the toilet without feeling the pressure to vacate ASAP. Oh yes, and they also have a covered back patio for weekend drinking.

The food is amazing in terms of taste and also price. A meal for four with 4 appetizers, 1 salad, 6 glasses of wine, 4 cocktails, 4 main courses, and a shared dessert all came to a meager $127!! And everything we got was fantastic! I've put a link to the Dinner Menu so you can get a good idea of the type of food. Also, there's a drinking friendly Brunch Menu for weekend warriors/drunken housewives.

I got the the point where I could literally feel my stomach pushing into my other vital organs. My breathing became slow, short, and deliberate as my fully expanded lungs would only compress my bloated belly further. Even so, the food was so good that I would still periodically make lame attempts to digest a fry. The food is unbiasedly good, I promise.

The service was top notch and even when the restaurant became packed, (as it does every evening, apparently) we still received ample attention. Even the people waiting to eat were directed to sit on a massive comfy couch and were served drinks while they waited.

This place is great and worth the short drive if you're ever in the San Francisco Bay Area. Every person I watched exit had a smile on their face and a contented look of someone who was too full to do anything like want sex or free money. Utter bliss personified in each customer. Well done, sis!!


Name: The Vine in Niles
Genre: Contemporary Cuisine
Value: Fantastic Prices for Quality Food.
What You'll Need to Enjoy Your Meal: An empty stomach and an exaggerated interest in glass art.
Rating: 6 / 5

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