For the past year, the Stasinowsky family – Pittsburgh transplants by way of California – have been transforming an abandoned Croatian church in Rankin, PA, into a new community lounge.
Dubbed “Mary’s Vine,” the space will be both a wine lounge and restaurant, offering over 350 varieties of wine (50 by the glass), as well as appetizers and entrees.
“Everything is centered around the wine,” says Cheryl Stasinowsky, one of the owners of Mary’s Vine. “It’s a place you can come and enjoy great company and great wine.”
The Stasinowsky family closed on the church in February 2018, and have spent the past year transforming the crumbling building (which still had amazing bones) into a welcoming space for the city of Pittsburgh.
“It had been empty for nine years, and it just looked like it was collapsing in on itself,” said Cheryl.
Despite the scale of the project, the Stasinowsky family believed in the church so much that they all moved to Pittsburgh to commit to the project.
“Each one of us came at different times and just fell in love with the city,” said Cheryl.
It was serendipity that led them to the church in the first place. Cheryl’s son Jordan Stasinowsky moved to Pittsburgh after college, and was searching for Pittsburgh housing online during a family trip to Japan, when he stumbled upon the church and fell in love.
“He said, ‘I want to make this my home,’ and we were like, ‘You’re crazy,’ but he didn’t let it go,” said Cheryl. “We were looking at houses and he kept saying, ‘No, I want to see that church.’”
After visiting the space and accepting it wouldn’t be a good fit for a home, the vision of a neighborhood wine lounge came to Jordan.
“He just said, ‘We can make it a wine lounge, and local artists can hang their art on the walls, and we can play jazz music.’”
Jordan, a passionate wine connoisseur, will handle the wine program at the lounge. While the 350+ bottle list will be expansive, the goal is to help guests feel confident to grow in their wine knowledge while at Mary’s. No matter a guest’s level of wine, they should feel confident while ordering a glass. The menu will be organized via an iPad app, which will help patrons navigate the menu and narrow down their preferences.
“We want people to feel safe,” says Cheryl. “There is no judgement if you don’t know a ton about wine.”
All wine, even those ordered by the glass, will be poured table side.
On the food side, menu is designed to highlight the wine, and will offer a full line of appetizers, as well as simple entrees, including chicken, beef, seafood, and vegetables.
The space itself features baseboards, doors, and other accents made from re-purposed pews, all of which remained a part of the building. The decor is Tuscan-inspired, with two sections for both lounging and dining. There is also a mezzanine overlooking the main floor.
“I can’t wait to watch from the balcony and see people enjoying the space,” says Cheryl.
Mary’s Vine is on track to open in spring of 2019. For updates, keep an eye on their social media page.
Mary’s Vine (211 Kenmawr Avenue, Rankin)