RICHMOND, Va. -- A veteran of New York City's fine dining world, the pandemic forced Erin Keene to take a step back and reset her life. That reset landed the Pennsylvania native in Richmond, Virginia, where she opened Second Bottle Wine Shop in Richmond's Church Hill neighborhood.
"I was in a place where I was ready for a big jump. Life as I knew it had really just shut off [in New York City]. In that time, I started formulating the plans for this wine shop," Keene said. "While I was on the journey to find where the best place or where the best fit would be for it, I had a camping trip planned down here to visit a good friend of mine. We're sitting around the campfire and she's like, 'What about Richmond?' It was like huge fireworks. I had never thought about it as a place that I wanted to live. But all of a sudden, I was like, it makes so much sense in so many ways."
Keene made the move to Richmond in 2020 and opened Second Bottle on N. 27th Street in Church Hill in 2021.
"I was very struck by Church Hill," Keene said about her decision to locate in that particular Richmond neighborhood. "The green space was a big part of that. I have a dog, so that was appealing, all these parks that are very close by, within walking distance. And then the food scene really. What I had experienced of it was exciting The fear of leaving New York is always that you'll be bored or there won't be enough things to excite you and I didn't feel like that would be the case here. And that is exactly what I've experienced."
For people who don't live in the neighborhood and are unsure whether it's worth a drive to Church Hill to buy wine, Keene offered this pitch.
"One of the biggest things we offer, or what we aim to offer, is our service and hospitality while you're here," she said. "If it's the end of a long day, and you don't want to talk to anyone you don't have to, but myself and Garrett, who works with me, strive to get to know you and get to know your palate and what you like to drink and what you like to cook and what you've had before that you liked or maybe didn't like so that you get that customized service or help when you come in. It's what love about it, actually."
324 N 27th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23223
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