The General Wine Bar & Kitchen is a collaborative venture between Mr. Riggs Wine Co and Zonte’s Footstep. The aim for The General Wine Bar & Kitchen is to become a McLaren Flat drawcard providing locals, visitors and wine lovers alike with an interesting food and wine experience that delivers on both wineries passion for ‘being’.
It is the new generation of general store. Originally built around 1910, the building operated as the McLaren Flat Post office after opening in 1911. Changing shape and form over the years, it eventually became a general store, the hub for McLaren Flat locals. In 2014, it became the site for the Home Grain Bakery which is also undergoing a major transformation.
The General welcomes to their kitchen, Chef Ben Sommariva, formerly The Kitchen Door Restaurant and Fino’s Willunga. His creative two-course daily menu feature house made products, and dishes like Beef Tartare, Smoked Mulloway Clam Chowder, Chargrilled Dry Aged Rump with French Mustard, Anchovy & Elk Salad and Morcilla with Pepper, Broccolini & Herb Sauce.
As well as offering a broad range of wine varieties to suit all tastes, we offer plenty of museum wines available by the glass and free flowing, flexible, food & wine flights that are sure to excite. This dynamic team intend to offer the ultimate in wine & food experience. The first of its kind in McLaren Flat.
The General will be the first place people want to go to share in a food and wine experience with their community.
The General welcomes to their kitchen Chef Ben Sommariva, formerly at The Kitchen Door Restaurant and Fino Willunga. Ben has had a colourful career, working in many different kitchens here in Adelaide as well as interstate, and we sure are glad to have him onboard to showcase to us all his fantastic gastronomic delights.
Growing up in an Italian Household and spending most of his spare time in the kitchen with Nonna, Ben knew at an early age that he wanted to be a chef.
Ben left school, aged 15, and started an apprenticeship in 1987. He spent three years at the Manhattan Bistro and finished an apprenticeship at Pagliacio, Rundle Street, cooking classic Italian. Ben then went to Darwin for four years and immersed himself in Native Australian food, then onto Sydney where he spent four years at Jonahs, Palm Beach cooking Provincial French Cuisine.
Ben came home to Adelaide and opened Eccolo Ristorante, Grote Street in 1999 serving Modern Italian. After a wonderful hiatus in McLaren Vale for one year in 2002 at d’Arry’s Verandah with Peter Hogg he moved back to the city to Berjerac at the Botanic Hotel. Both restaurants, Eccolo and Berjerac folded in classic Adelaide Style.
Ben got married and had two children during his 9 to 5, Monday to Friday situation at Café Tempo in the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra building Hindley Street. Having fond memories of McLaren Vale (his wife was at the Salopian Inn restaurant and d’Arry’s Verandah), they decided that moving the family down south before the boys started school was wise as he knew they would eventually open their own restaurant in the area.
‘The Kitchen Door’ at Penny’s Hill & Mr. Riggs Cellars has given Ben new inspiration. To work again with such great people, produce and wine. That’s what it’s all about.