Eno Vino has popped the best bubbly
Since its first award in 2005, Eno Vino, along with its sister restaurant, Eno Vino Downtown, have garnered 55 wins.
It’s a big deal to win “best restaurant” or “best new restaurant” in the Best of Madison poll. So when Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro won gold for best new restaurant in 2005 — just after its 2004 opening on the west side — it put the restaurant on the map.
“After the ‘new restaurant’ win came out, people heard about us, started finding us, demand increased exponentially and we ended up expanding into the next-door space in 2008,” says Sara Granados, the co-owner and events and marketing manager. Granados attributes much of Eno Vino’s early success to that readers’ poll win. Its next win wouldn’t come until five years later, but it was another big one that cemented its reputation; Eno Vino won gold for “best restaurant” in 2010.
“That’s kind of the Cadillac [of awards] to us,” Granados says. Granados remembers a big staff party they held that year to celebrate. They even opened a Veuve Clicquot Magnum bottle of champagne. “It just felt good,” she says. “We work hard, we care.”
Since then Eno Vino — along with its sister restaurant, Eno Vino Downtown, which opened in 2017 on the top floors of the AC Hotel by Marriott Madison Downtown — have garnered 55 wins.
Eno Vino was ahead of its time when it opened, and it remains on the cutting edge of Madison’s dining scene today. It was one of very few tapas restaurants in the mid-2000s, a time when Granados remembers having to explain the concept to diners. “You’d say the word ‘tapas’ and people thought we were saying ‘topless,’ ” she says. “It was like, ‘No, we’re not a topless bar.’ ” But today “tapas” is standard nomenclature, and Eno Vino Downtown has coupled the shared plates experience with one of the best rooftop views in Madison. That location has become one of Madison’s most impressive dining and drink destinations with a posh, big-city atmosphere. But Granados is set on Eno Vino retaining its Midwestern charm, which welcomes both fancy and casual customers at each location. “I think it fits the personality of Madison,” Granados says.
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