Best Bars: Sunsinger
Dave Benton: After a short break, Jennifer's "Best Bars" segment is back for another week. This time it's a wine bar in Champaign—but so much more!
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "It's eclectic in the sense that we offer lots of different wines, more than 30 on our menu, and they can be easily paired, depending on your tastes."
Jennifer Ketchmark: That's here at Sunsinger Wines on Windsor in Champaign. But don't think there is only wine on their menu!
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "People really enjoy the cafe because of all the variety of items we have. We have black bean hummus, artichoke bruschetta, we have lots of different cheese plates."
And this fantastic creation:
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "The number one pick, ever since we opened, has been our grilled cheese supreme."
Who wouldn't love that gooey goodness?
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "It's a combination of 2 different cheeses, plus fig jam and Granny Smith apples."
Well, that makes it truly unique—much like their deli.
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "All the salads that are on our menu are back there. Our baked potato salad, to a Caprese salad. We have all kinds of Old World salamis."
But it's not just their food that makes this a hot place to eat—
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "If you look around here, I think people love the place, they love the openness here. People find themselves feeling very very comfortable here."
—which leads to a relaxed atmosphere.
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "They are able to sit, to talk and just enjoy themselves with their friends."
And many do relax here with a glass of wine or a summer favorite.
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "Probably the most popular thing right now is our slushies made from Quady Electra from California. One is a black muscat and the other is an orange muscat."
And when I heard "slushie" I couldn't resist, because it is that perfect summertime drink. This is the red muscat, and it really has that refreshing flavor and a great twist.
That's the tart kick this drink packs, and if you are looking for something refreshing, you'll find it here.
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "We have a full retail section with wine, spirits, and beer."
Brian Bowman, beverage director: "We've got wines that are in that 6 dollar price point and all the way up to the sky's the limit."
And the staff here will help you find a great wine, but you can do more than that. You can join a class.
Brian Bowman, beverage director: "101, 102, 103. Pretty simple."
Breaking it down—very like a college town!
Brian Bowman, beverage director: "Basic class starts out and we learn the 7 main varietals, whites and reds, and taste through those. ... Gets more into getting full blown descriptions, and we do it a Sherlock Holmes way."
And by the end—
Brian Bowman, beverage director: "You are blind-tasting everything, and you don't know what you're going through, and we teach you how to break down and examine the wine."
Quality wines, gourmet eats, and a nice place to lunch with friends is why this place made our list of Best Bars.