Wine and cheese lovers in Fernie will be happy to learn that there’s a new restaurant in town offering just that, and more.
Bramasole, which means “yearn for the sun” in Italian, officially opened its doors on Dec. 21.
The new food spot was founded by Jen and James Woodall. Jen has a background in engineering, and James has a social work background and used to run a not-for-profit.
Starting Bramasole was their “COVID-pivot slash midlife crisis”, Jen said.
“I stayed home with my daughter when the kids went off school. And when it was time to go back, I just couldn’t picture myself back in that lifestyle,” she said.
Their business idea started to become clear when they took a trip down to Osoyoos in the Okanagan Valley in 2020. Nk’Mip Cellars, which describes itself as North America’s first Indigenous winery, was the Woodall’s primary inspiration.
Bramasole is working with about 30 different wineriess, all from B.C., mostly from the Okanagan.
They try to keep their price points accessible to a wide range of patrons, James said.
“From a wine novice to a wine expert, we want to be welcoming to all.”
Aside from wine, their menu includes spirits, cocktails, local beers, non-alcoholic sparkling juices, and coffee.
For food, their offerings are “simple, small-plate style,” James said.
Charcuterie boards, small-portion pastas, salads, and bread appetizers will all be available to fill peoples’ bellies as they enjoy their drinks.
Desserts will be the highlight, Jen said. Her cousin, Bryana Madaire is the baker and cook.
“She makes some fantastic desserts, and they’re small portions, so at the end of the meal when you just want that little something sweet.”
Family is really important to the Woodalls, and the restaurant is quite the family affair.
Aside from Madaire in the kitchen, a lot of the design elements are an homage to James’ mother, Helen Woodall, who passed last year from cancer.
“Then the front of the house is the same facade as a house that James’ dad (David) built in 1989 on Pender Island.” Renovation help came from friends Sam Otway and Pete Dudman.
Their other cousin, Madaire’s sister Alyssa, is their cheese rep from Calgary, and their mother Michele Madaire made the tables and wine rack.
Their 12-year-old daughter Evie has been managing their social media.
Aside from a COVID-pivot lifestyle change, there was another motivation behind the restaurant.
Jen said that she spends a lot of time at one of the bars in town, and has seen “the great community that can be built over beers.” She wanted something similar that was catered more towards women.
“We have lots of places where men can feel comfortable going in and having a beer and watching the game, but I wanted … something where women feel like they can stop in after work for a quick glass of wine and a chat before going home.”
Business has been steady so far despite the new uptick of COVID cases.
“We’re fortunate enough to have an amazing group of women working for us.”
“We’re really thankful and impressed with our staff.”
Looking forward, Bramasole has a couple of events in the works, and are looking to have a patio ready for the warmer months. They may also include a room for virtual taste-tours and to be a meeting space for groups around town.
Their hours are 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. They are located in the yellow building at 851 7th Ave.