L'Entrata

Jay and Maria Toupin knew they were filling a niche when they opened L’Entrata in Anthem a year ago. 

It’s become such a staple in that now it’s bringing in travelers from the I-17, and guests from Cave Creek, Surprise and beyond. 

“We’re not just getting people from Anthem,” Maria said. “There really isn’t anything like it. You have to go into Scottsdale. There are restaurants in Happy Valley, but nobody who has a bottle shop with a restaurant, tastings and flights, and do events. We have our own wine. I guess it’s a unique combination.

“Sure, we serve mostly this community because we’re so close. But it surprises me sometimes where the guests come from.”

L’Entrata is celebrating its first anniversary from 3:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, with a tented event featuring a ticketed wine tasting with seven wine vendors, over 50 wines, featuring Caymus and Daou vineyards, giveaways, live music by Tom Mein and food available for purchase.

“It’s ticketed from 3 to 6 p.m. and at 6 p.m., the tent is open to everybody at 6 p.m.,” Jay said. 

“We’re going to make it a bash and a fun celebration. The restaurant is open to everybody the whole day. This is just to show our appreciation for our customers. The fact that we made it a year and we’re so well received in the community is great.”

L’Entrata’s 1,250-square-foot space includes an expansive covered patio and tasting room with dining and bar service. The tasting room features hundreds of curated global and local wine selections from across the globe, including, coming soon, L’Entrata’s own label. There are also wine accessories, branded apparel, chocolates and other specialty items available for purchase. 

Along with a rotating gourmet menu, and weekend brunch service with bottomless mimosas, L’Entrata offers an online platform, where visitors can purchase fine wines by the bottle or a case for pickup or delivery. 

“People are so crazy for brunch here in Phoenix,” she said. 

“We do brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. We have bottomless mimosas, mimosa flights with grapefruit, peach and orange. We did roll out our flight menu — a white flight and a red flight. Jay selects the wine for the week.”

For food, L’Entrata has served croque madame, eggs benedict, apple pancakes with currant brown butter maple syrup and avocado toast with smoked salmon. 

In addition to in-person sipping and shopping, L’Entrata hosts chef wine dinners with meals and curated wine selections from L’Entrata’s extensive collection. Other events include paint-and-sip sessions to farm-to-table wine dinners.

Its multi-tier Wine Club Membership Program gives members two hand-selected bottles of wine by the owners, charcuterie, plus 20% off all food, merch and wine in-store every month. Wine Club Members are also the first to know about wine dinners and special events.

“My Italian and Greek heritage practically infused wine into my DNA,” Maria said. 

“There has always been something special about sharing a bottle and a meal with family or friends that sparked our passion in building a community around it that’s inviting, inclusive, and invokes happiness each time you visit us.”

Jay added that the couple is excited about its anniversary. 

“Some of our best times when we lived in Seattle were spent working and volunteering at wineries and developing relationships with winemakers from across the region,” he said.

“We’re grateful to have gotten to share all we’ve learned with our friends, both new and old, in Anthem.”  

L’Entrata recently added an executive chef, Jen Van Fleet, who owned a wine bar with her husband in Fresno before moving to the Valley. 

“We’ve definitely grown in ways we didn’t expect,” she said. “We have grown in the restaurant side of things. We were going to rock the charcuterie boards at first. 

“We have an executive chef who we are working with who we are super excited about. People want food, especially in the Anthem community. So, we pivoted and we’re doing more of that. We have some awesome food.”

Maria said L’Entrata has been more fun than they expected. The wine club has been success and they’re waiting for it to cool down for their signature wine to be shipped here from Washington state. Aryn Morell of Alleromb Winery in Walla Walla, Washington, makes wines for a select number of boutique wineries, including L’Entrata. 

L’Entrata bottles Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Rosé, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. 

“After COVID, people were so cooped up that they’re so excited to be back out and engaging,” Maria said. 

“We have these fun conversation cards all over the bar, so they can get to know each other. We don’t have TVs and that’s on purpose. We feel super blessed to have the staff we have.”

Van Fleet will revamp the menu. The staple items will remain, like the mushroom flat bread. 

“We’re going to roll out a fun fall menu,” Maria said. “She’s great about cooking within the seasons. We’ll have some fun new flatbreads, a new panini. When we have our one-year anniversary party, guests can taste samples of her new menu in the tent.”

L’Entrata First Anniversary Party 

WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22; 3:30 to 6 p.m. ticketed

WHERE: L’Entrata, 41111 Daisy Mountain Drive, Anthem

COST: Call for information about ticketed event

INFO: 623-248-1727, lentratawine.com