Video: DeVine Wine and Grill. New restaurant near UCF. Video by Arnold Godoy, Central Florida Future Video by Arnold Godoy, Central Florida Future
Forget black tie-clad gents and cocktail dress-donning ladies. A new UCF-alumni-owned restaurant, opening Monday, is shaking up traditional wine tasting.
With the help of a prepaid card, you'll be able to try wines from all over.
Mike DiAlexander, a 2007 UCF graduate, and Kale Bernath, a 2009 UCF graduate, were interested in opening a unique restaurant of their own after they graduated.
The pair decided to set up a shop in Alafaya Square, on the corner of Alafaya Trail and Alafaya Woods Boulevard.
"We saw an opportunity and felt the local community warrants a fun, new, fresh and upscale location," DiAlexander said.
Oviedo was the first choice for the duo's new project, not just because of its close proximity to the university, but also for the area's rapid growth.
Bernath said he thinks the opening of DeVine is a natural and organic progression of their careers.
DeVine will boast a seasonal tapas menu that features local food, and DiAlexander described it as an interactive restaurant where everything is meant to be shared.
"At the end of the day, I think it's our customer service, creative food menus and variety of craft beers that keep our loyal patrons coming back," DiAlexander added.
But this isn't their first foray into the culinary world.
In September 2011, the duo purchased Devaney's Sports Pub in Winter Park, a pub with a long local history, not to be confused with Devaney's Too.
"It's a local landmark and has been a staple in the community for over a quarter century," Bernath said. "We scraped together what we had and just tried to restore it to its original glory. It took a lot of elbow grease to get there, but I think the locals and longtime customers appreciate the updates we've made."
In preparation for DeVine's opening, DiAlexander and Bernath will be bustling back and forth between restaurants to kick off the new year.
Despite the long hours and hard work, they hope to be able to influence other UCF graduates to take a chance on their passion locally.
"My philosophy is that if you work hard and stay progressive, good things will unfold in front of you," Bernath said. "Hopefully we can inspire more UCF alums to stay within their community after graduation and help shape its future."
Ryan Brown is a contributing writer to the Central Florida Future. Follow him on twitter at @lucidbrown.