New restaurant aims to be ‘grandma’s kitchen’


David Alexander

Chef Angie Wines and her partner Anneliese Moy will serve up several down-home favorites at Sweet Virginia’s Kitchen, 5131 N. Damen Ave.

By Arts & Culture Reporter

Lincoln Square is about to get a whole lot “sweeter” with the November opening of a new restaurant serving smoked meats, desserts and other made-from-scratch dishes.

Chef Angie Wines and her partner, Anneliese Moy, launched a Kickstarter Sept. 19 to complete funding and purchase extra kitchen equipment including an ice cream cabinet, charbroiler and convection ovens  for Sweet Virginia’s Kitchen, the new restaurant at 5131 N. Damen Ave. The restaurant earned $34,917 by the end of the donation period.

Wines, who inherited a love of cooking from her grandmother, whom the restaurant is named for, said Sweet Virginia’s Kitchen is designed to have a “dinner-with-grandma” atmosphere.

“It’s just the idea of cooking from scratch, not cutting corners,” Wines said. “Everything we do takes a little extra time.”

Wines and Moy are also dedicated to community involvement, the chef said. 

Claire Shingler, a board member of the Bowmanville Community Organization, said the couple started turning up at various community events and offering food service to Amundsen High School and Chappell Elementary School, something she has never seen a business do before opening.

Shingler said other business owners have introduced themselves to the BCO and advertised in the community newsletter, but never to the extent of Sweet Virginia’s Kitchen.

“This is the furthest I’ve seen a business go,” Shingler said. “The fact that they’re doing it before they’ve even opened their actual business is remarkable.”

Wines said she and Moy are giving and caring people by nature. The two have a daughter together, and Moy has a background in social work, Wines added.

“I’m a little baffled at businesses that don’t want to [get involved in the community] or don’t make an effort to,” Wines said. “There’s no harm in it. You’re only going to be bettering everyone around you.”

Christopher Comes, spokesman for Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, said the organization is glad to have Sweet Virginia’s Kitchen opening.

“Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce is always striving to work in the community to welcome local independent businesses,” Comes said.

Sweet Virginia’s Kitchen’s Kickstarter campaign got off to a slow start and had only reached about half of its goal by Oct. 8 but received a surge in funding Oct. 11 from multiple large donations, surpassing its $24,860 goal.

Wines said managing the Kickstarter campaign was something of a full-time job, an observation she passes on to people who contact her from all over the world to ask her how she helped her campaign succeed.

“You can’t just put a campaign out there and hope it gets funded,” she said. “You’ve got to really work every day at it.”

If the Kickstarter had failed, Wines said the menu would have suffered because she could not have afforded many necessities for the restaurant she envisioned.

Shingler said the campaign’s sudden success was likely driven by Wines and Moy’s deepening connection to the community.

“That is exactly the thing to do for a new business,” Shingler said. “Try to build relationships into the community from the very start, because that’s the key to success.”