“Life is too short not to have fun, and wine should be no exception,” says restaurateur and sommelier Rebecca Rose Phillips, referring to the ethos of her two San Fernando Valley establishments. Rebecca, who grew up in Wisconsin, opened Vintage Wine + Eats in Studio City in 2018 and the intimate wine and cocktail bar Buvette in Sherman Oaks a year later.
A drink from Buvette’s rotating cocktail menu
“I have been working in restaurants for 20 years. My first restaurant job, I was 14. I was a cake cutter at this 24-hour diner. And I really did every job since then: hostess, cashier until I worked my way up to server, and then I served all through college.”
She moved to Los Angeles 13 years ago to pursue a career in acting. Rebecca says pivoting into the restaurant business was something that happened gradually.
A charcuterie cone
“When I moved to LA, I was acting and doing that kind of thing that everybody does in LA, and I was waiting tables the whole time.” Eventually she was promoted to management positions and landed a gig at Los Feliz favorite Little Dom’s, where she took over the wine list and subsequently gained a sommelier education.
“That’s when I got really serious about wine and realized, Oh, this is like a whole thing. You could do this as a job.” From there she worked at Barbrix Wine Bar in Silver Lake and All’Acqua in Atwater Village before realizing that she wanted to do her own thing. “I felt like if I’m going to do this, I want to do it for myself. I want the blood, sweat and tears to be my own investment.”
Through a mutual friend Rebecca met her future business partners who were looking to launch wine-oriented concepts. In 2018, inspired by what she felt was a need for more female leadership in the industry, she opened Vintage Wine + Eats, a charming restaurant and wine bar on Ventura Boulevard with a comfort-food menu of everything from vegan meatballs to beef bourguignon to bratwurst on a pretzel roll. Rebecca describes the menu as a collaborative effort centered around her wine selections. “I like to say this is like the country house and Buvette is like the city house,” says Rebecca of the difference between her two establishments. “Buvette is really a proper bar. There’s no food. There’s cheese and charcuterie and olives. It’s just kind of a sleeker vibe.”
Above: The elegant bar at Vintage Wine + Eats
Whether it be a wine tasting event, visits from local winemakers, food pop-ups, burger nights or Taco Tuesdays where Rebecca makes the tacos herself, she seems to be embracing her new role wholeheartedly. She spends most of her time at Vintage Food + Eats, where she curates the always-changing wine list.
“The food is just meant to be easy and shareable and pairable with the wines,” she says.