New space, new wine for Columbia's Aida Bistro

April 01, 2011|By Lisa Kawata

Call it kismet. The new AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar is a delicious convergence of what can happen when a visionary restaurateur duo embraces innovation, beauty and environment and can still dish up an award-winning dining experience.

By moving to a larger free-standing building on Columbia Gateway Drive four months ago, AIDA Bistro created a wine bar gathering spot, flanked by dining rooms decorated in an art-deco-meets-Tuscany style.

Best of all, the restaurant has a dedicated room for its “green” wine delivery system that forgoes bottles, corks and labels. The wine on tap system delivers the wine to the glass much like beer on tap, except it uses nitrogen, instead of oxygen, to push the wine from 5-gallon stainless steel kegs through the tapping system. No more spoiled wine, no cutting of trees for corks and labels, no mammoth wine cellars.

“The first sip out of the keg tastes just like the last sip,” says Joe Barbera, who owns AIDA Bistro with his wife, Mary. The couple spent a year researching the wine on tap system, meeting with restaurant owners in Georgia and California who have adopted the systems. The Barberas also visited regional winemakers to see if they would deliver in kegs, all while designing and renovating their new building.

The restaurant also installed a water filtration and carbonation system in order to serve its own filtered water and create sparkling versions from the kegged still wines. The restaurant has 10 reds and 10 whites on tap but still carries a few select vintages in bottles.

AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar, 6741 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia. 410-953-0500.

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