After more than 10 years as a quirky, snug wine bar and home decor store, Aviary Decor & Lounge—now Aviary Wine & Kitchen—has decided to spread its wings as a full-blown restaurant. Owner Marco Fiorilo says to expect inventive menu items, an (even) bigger wine list, new faces and the same best-kept secret vibe that keeps its regulars coming back.
The newly redesigned Aviary Wine & Kitchen’s brightly colored interior turns moody at night, keeping with its distinct best-kept-secret vibe.
Why did you decide to make the switch to a full-edged restaurant? I was a little bit like the 18-year-old who wouldn’t leave the house. I knew we had to change—we had outgrown what we were doing. Wine was so popular here, and it seemed like the inevitable step to grow it. We feed a lot more people, we take care of a lot more people and we employ a lot more people.
How will you ensure that Aviary’s decidedly unpretentious, laid-back vibe remains? We are a service-oriented, neighborhood-oriented place. We don’t take reservations for parties fewer than eight. We’re not stuy or pompous; we are approachable and friendly. The whole idea here is to enjoy yourself. There are no rules. The new restaurant will create a new energy, but the soul is still the same.
Why is omas Calhoun [formerly pastry chef at Lenoir] the ideal chef partner for you? We were looking for someone with a very meticulous skill set and energy—somebody who was fresh. Thomas is a pastry chef at heart, which puts him in a dierent category than most chefs. Our goal is to make a simple menu that is beautiful and incredibly delicious. Having the mentality of structure and organization that comes with pastry-making made him good at executing a vision in a way that could be consistent, delicious and beautiful.
What should we order? We do a beautiful pasta called the House Made Trenette. Crisped shallots and garlic, and oyster mushrooms tossed together with a raw egg, making it nice and creamy. We get our from Barton Springs Mill, and make the dough and cut the pasta every day. It’s fresh, delicious and perfectly textured.
Tell us about the interiors. The old place was dark. This one is bright and lively with blues and pinks. We decided to add color and amboyance where we could. We thought, Why not have fun with it?
What do you hope to accomplish with the newly revamped Aviary? I want to have a place where people can come at least twice a week and have something interesting and new. I want people to understand wine better and experiment with wine more. I want people to learn what wine and food can do together from us.