Drinking wine to help restore and maintain the top public recreation spot in downtown St. Louis? Count us in.
Starting April 1, restaurants throughout the metro area will offer patrons the opportunity to support Forest Park by purchasing designated wines on their wine lists. When patrons buy a glass or a bottle of the designated wines—including brands such as Estancia, Simi, Wild Horse, Kim Crawford and many more—a portion of the sales will be donated to Forest Park Forever.
A kick-off event and special wine-tasting for the program, called Restaurants for Restoration, will be held Monday, March 3, in the Trolley Room at the Forest Park Visitor Center from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to reintroduce the program to local restaurateurs and other participants.
The Restaurants for Restoration initiative was first launched in 2001 as a joint effort by Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors and its supplier partners to build community awareness and raise funds for the major renovations the park has undergone in the past decade. The program was a huge success, raising more than $100,000 in three years to help restore the park.
With the resulting surge of visitors and activities in the park, Forest Park Forever is now focusing on the challenge of sustaining those improvements, while tackling new areas of the park in need of an upgrade.
Lesley Hoffarth, president and executive director Forest Park Forever, called Restaurants for Restoration “a fun and creative way for area restaurateurs and caterers to celebrate the wonders of Forest Park and maintain our gloriously restored crown jewel. Its success benefits the entire region.”
Major Brands and wine supplier Constellation Brands are co-sponsors of the 2014 Restaurants for Restoration effort. Major Brands CEO Sue McCollum has been a passionate supporter of Forest Park for decades.
“Forest Park has been St. Louis’ most beloved landmark for more than 100 years,” McCollum said. “This unique partnership is a powerful way for independent businesses throughout our region to use their passion for great food and great wine in support of a great cause. Their legacy will be ensuring that Forest Park continues to flourish for the enjoyment of generations to come.”
Tracy Czarnec, owner of Wild Flower Restaurant & Catering in St. Louis, took part in Restaurants for Restoration in 2001, which was good for business as well as good for the park. She said she is “thrilled” to be part of the 2014 relaunch, giving her customers a way to support the park while enjoying delicious wines paired with menu items that use farm-to-fork, local and organic ingredients whenever possible.
“I fell in love with Forest Park as a young girl, and now that I live in the Central West End, this magnificent park is my playground,” Czarnec said. “This treasure of a park is our responsibility to maintain for future generations. It is a privilege to be able to give back to the community in which I live and work.”
A full list of participating restaurants can be found after March 15 on the Major Brands Facebook Page.
Image: Forest Park Forever