While news of big restaurant chains coming to town generates a lot of buzz — we see you, Cracker Barrel and Dave & Buster's — it's also worth noting when smaller local businesses take that big step.
That's certainly the case with Campo Bar + Bottle, which is set to open later this month on G Street.
Owned by newlyweds Molly Sowers and Willie Rivera, Campo is described as a tasting room, wine club and bottle shop.
"We both really have a love for food and wine and have been wanting to create something of our own in Bakersfield," Sowers said.
Campo's name, which translates to "field" in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, is a nod both to the land where the wine originates as well as its location in what is often referred to as the breadbasket of the nation.
Along with the name, its location was a key component, being a walkable destination for those who live in the Westchester area. (The shop is a 15-minute walk from the couple's home.)
Being located near other small businesses like the Hen’s Roost, Locale Farm to Table and Better Bowls as well as the Padre Hotel was ideal, Sowers said.
"I've already talked to the local purveyors around us. It's not about competing. It's about continuing to expand in downtown. That's an exciting aspect to a lot of people."
With a bachelor's in wine and viticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and years working in the wine industry, Sowers was keen to bring something unique to the local wine scene.
"I have been really wanting to kind of expand Bakersfield’s wine knowledge, introduce people to different wines that they don't necessarily try as often that are not as widely available in Kern County."
In putting together the shop's inventory, which until last week was stored in the couple's basement, Sowers said she focused on more natural, affordable, sustainable producers.
Some wines she's interested in sharing are varied rieslings ("they're not all sweet"), orange wines, the St. Laurent varietal, natural sparkling wines and lighter reds.
"As we continue to have 98-degree weather, we still have a good month that people will appreciate lighter, chillable reds."
Sowers plans to offer rotating wine flights, blind tastings as well as winemaker events in the future.
"We're really excited to create a space where people can gather. We want Campo to be a place to be where people can learn about wine in an unpretentious way."
Beverages will also include nonalcoholic options as well as coffee and a curated list of craft beers featuring different styles and some Bakersfield or Kern County options.
The couple also plan to work with local purveyors for their small plates. Campo doesn't have a full kitchen but Sowers promised there will be some heartier fare.
Sowers mentioned the olive oil from Edible Schoolyard Kern County (where she worked), Baker's Outpost bread and dried herbs from KR Farms, which will go into a white bean dish. Even Blue Canyon Ceramics made the pinch bowls that will be used.
Campo is located at 1824 G St. For updates, visit campobarandbottle.com or its Instagram page (@campobarandbottle).
If you can't wait to see what they will be offering, Campo will be one of the vendors at Brunch Fest on Oct. 9 at Stramler Park.
"We’d love for people to stop by," Sowers said. "We’re serving a couple of different wines to pair with the brunch food."