At the award winning Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe you really do get to Taste the Central Coast. Choosing ingredients that are local, wild, and organic whenever possible. The Café takes great care in every dish served. The Wine Merchant carries over 500 wines and offers the best from the many terroirs of the captivating California Central Coast.
The story of this special Café and Wine Store began in 1995. When owner Sam Marmorstein, moved from Los Angeles to Los Olivos to fulfill a dream. He wanted to plant a vineyard and create the best wine he could possibly make. Before moving to Los Olivos he had been making wine with a few friends (all of whom have followed the same dream, and are respected wine makers). “What does this have to do with the Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café?” you ask. Well, Sam needed to produce an income while he waited for his four-acre estate grown, Bernat wine, to become recognized. The same year, Sam bought a little deli in downtown Los Olivos with checkered table clothes and a wine list of two to three wines. He had a vision that he could transform this deli into a restaurant with affordable wine friendly food and a great wine list. After a major renovation Sam opened the Los Olivos Café. Sam quickly learned the ropes of the restaurant business since the Los Olivos Café was instantly popular with the locals. In 1999 he met his future wife, Shawnda. They married in 2000 and together have four beautiful children. Shawnda, a foodie and restaurateur continues to be an integral part of the business and winery.
In 2001 Sam and Shawnda extensively remodeled their business to add the Los Olivos Wine Merchant. This allowed the wine selection in the restaurant to expand to over 500 wines making their establishment one of a select few to receive the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. The producer of the Academy Award Winning movie, Sideways, spotted The Wine Merchants now famous wall of wine, and decided it would be the perfect backdrop for a pivotal scene in his movie. The success of this movie helped grow the recognition not only of, The Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café, but also of the entire Santa Ynez Valley and the incredible wine this region produces.
The vision that Sam had in the beginning is the same today. He strives to have delicious-fresh, wine friendly food in a welcoming atmosphere. His business mantra is, “When a guest walks through our doors it is the job of every employee to make them feel like they are a guest in their own home.” When Sam is not at the Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe, he is tending to his vineyard, working in his winery, or spending time with his family. He has built a life rich with great food, family, friends, and fine wine. Sam is still waiting for his Bernat Wines to find their fame, but he stays blissfully busy in the meantime.