- Courtesy Vinum Populi
“My brothers live out here, and I have nieces and nephews that I don’t really know, and folks are getting older,” he says. “I just figured it was time to come back.”
And since he’s returned, he’s found the Springs sorely lacking in something he grew to love in L.A.: wine bars. It’s true the city has a few — Enoteca Rustica and Swirl come to mind — but Garza’s eyeing the underserved Eastside as the home for his own wine bar, Vinum Populi, set to open in early August.
“This is a concept I’m revitalizing that I did [in L.A.],” he says. “We won ‘best wine bar in L.A.’ [in Anthony Dias Blue’s magazine, The Tasting Panel in 2007].” Garza’s the right man for the job, a sommelier certified by the Italian Sommelier Association.
Location Details Vinum Populi
“Bottle prices range anywhere from $8 a bottle to $1,500, so you can try things that you would never normally be able to try,” he says.
The menu will feature Spanish-style tapas on his appetizer and happy hour menus, plus Italian entrées ranging from hand-made pasta and Neapolitan pizza to scallops and oxtails. For charcuterie and cheeses, he’s offering a mix of imported meats and offerings from Seattle-based Salumi Artisan Cured Meats.
“The biggest transition that people will have to understand is that it’s not super-fancy food,” he says. “It’s really just European peasant food.”