By Katie Terou

SYV Star Intern

Owner and chef Joy Reinhardt has opened a new restaurant in downtown Santa Ynez as a tribute to her mother.

Ellie’s Tap and Vine serves a wide variety of foods and drinks. The chef curates a unique menu every weekend featuring locally grown ingredients.

“Everything here is done with a purpose,” Reinhardt said. “The wine list is eclectic but affordable, and only features wines from places I’ve visited around the world.”

“The menu every night is just whatever I feel like cooking,” she said.

Ellie’s Tap and Vine was founded in memory of Ellie, Reinhardt’s mother, who spent years in the hospitality business before dying from cancer in May 2018.

Reinhardt, 51, said she learned how to cook from her mother and that her passing was very difficult.

“Nothing prepares you for the loss of your mom,” said Reinhardt. “This restaurant is a tribute to her. This has been a long time coming, and her passing gave me the momentum to move forward with this.”

Reinhardt honors her mother in several ways throughout the restaurant. The china cups and saucers are from her mother’s collections, and the chef coats, along with other details, are green, which was Ellie’s favorite color. At the serving station, what Reinhardt calls the “DJ booth,” she has pinned up a card from her mother that says, “I love you. — Mom.”

Ellie’s Tap and Vine combines feminine and rustic to create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone, complete with crystal chandeliers and metal-finished details. Reinhardt wanted the restaurant to embody her mother’s feminine style but fit the rustic tone of the Santa Ynez Valley.

“No matter how hold you are, it hurts like to hell to lose your mom, but every time I walk in this place, it feels cathartic because it’s just like my mom,” Reinhardt said.

She hopes her restaurant will become a hang-out spot for locals.

“I think the locals are already starting to embrace me, and I want it to be a local place,” she said.

Ellie’s Tap & Vine, at 3640 Sagunto Street in Santa Ynez, is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and for dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Sunday and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

For more information, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page or follow it on Instagram at @elliestapandvine.