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Vin Bin to open 3rd shop at Panzano location.

Byline: Barbara M. Houle

Rick Lombardi of Marlboro, owner of The Vin Bin with locations in Marlboro and Hopkinton, will open a third store sometime before Christmas.

The new Vin Bin will take over space now occupied by Panzano Provviste e Vino, 154 Turnpike Road, Southboro. Tom Prince owns Panzano and Tomasso Trattoria, a fine dining restaurant located in the same building. Tomasso Trattoria will remain in business.

Panzano is expected to close Oct. 31, according to Prince.

The Southboro Board of Selectman on Sept. 23 approved a liquor license for The Vin Bin, which is now waiting for state licensing.

Lots of excitement about The Vin Bin opening.

Lombardi said his son, Michael Lombardi of Watertown, would be the executive chef in charge of The Vin Bin kitchens in Marlboro and Southboro. The chef currently works in the Marlboro store, but will relocate to Southboro.

Michael Lombardi is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Providence and worked for the owners of the Boston Red Sox in their EMC Club Restaurant at Fenway Park. He also was a chef at Oleana in Cambridge and Chez Panisse in Berkeley, owned by renowned chef Alice Waters.

The Southboro Vin Bin will pretty much mirror the Marlboro store, according to Rick Lombardi.

"The Vin Bin is an Old World style wine shop, cheese shop and gourmet cafe, specializing in small production, boutique, international wines, craft beers, artisan cheese, charcuterie and, coming soon, select cordials, grappa, brandy, American whiskey and Scotch whisky,'' he said.

The Vin Bin will offer an expansive selection of take-home dinners, soups and special salads, all created in house from scratch, according to Lombardi.

Sophisticated gift baskets, Tomasso Trattoria's special bread and Italian cookies also will be available.

The Vin Bin will retain some of Panzano's employees.

Lombardi said he and Tom Prince have been friendly competitors and that it has taken him about a year to put a plan in place for the Southboro store.

"I had just opened Hopkinton in 2013 when I first was approached about the location,'' said Lombardi. "We needed to get our ducks in order before we committed, but the opportunity was too great to pass up.''

"Ten years ago, I was losing sleep and didn't know why,'' said Lombardi. "It was insane.''

These days, he said he doesn't sleep because he's so thrilled about opening a new store. "I really can't wait to start work in the place,'' said Lombardi. "I'm serious.''

The owner plans to have wine tasting events in the store, and partner with Tomasso Trattoria on some wine dinners.

The popular Vin Bin Academy classes held at the Marlboro store also will be offered in Southboro in 2015.

The Vin Bin Academy in Marlboro begins the fall semester Sept. 30 through Nov. 18. Participants learn about wine, cheese, craft beer and spirits. Classes are held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in The Cafe. Cost is $20 per class, and each student who signs up will receive a $10 Vin Bin gift card. For more information about individual classes, or to register, visit

Rick Lombardi said that when you eat a sandwich at The Vin Bin, your life will change.

Customers have described the sandwiches as "awesome,'' "gourmet'' and "the best sandwiches in Marlboro.''

I'll add my two cents as a veteran food writer and restaurant reviewer: The Vin Bin kitchen makes a fabulous Farmer Panini that combines Vermont Creamery Goat Cheese, fresh pears, arugula and Greek fig spread. A special thank you to Susie, the person who recommended it.

As for the sandwich changing my life, I don't know about that. My story deadlines haven't gone away.

The Vin Bin locations: 91 Main St., Marlboro, (508) 480-9463; 22 South St., Hopkinton, (508) 435-9463. Note: The Marlboro store opened in the old Marlboro Fire Station in 2011.

The Marlboro store has won awards for The Cafe and take-out, in addition to being named "No. 1 Gift Shop in Marlboro.'' Both stores have received recognition for Best Wine & Cheese Shop.

Join me in sending best wishes to the Lombardi family on their new venture.

We look forward to the opening date!

The 2014 Kick It Up for the Kids, a 5K walk and run, will be held Sept. 27, beginning with registration at 9 a.m. at Elm Park in Worcester. The event will begin at 10 a.m. rain or shine.

Proceeds will benefit Children's Friend in Worcester.

Medals will be awarded to the top overall male and female in the event, and the first- and second-place finisher in various age categories. A special award will be given to the top fundraising team.

Festivities at the park will include face painting and balloon animals for youngsters.

Food samples from Wooberry Frozen Yogurt and the Sole Proprietor, both of Worcester, will be given to participants along the route. The Wine Vine in Worcester will have members of the Worcester Youth Orchestra perform in front of the business. Owners of The Wine Vine participate in the annual fundraiser.

At the finish line at Elm Park, there will be free pizza, sandwiches, salad and pasta for the walkers and runners.

Local restaurants that will donate products include Boomer's Pizza Sub & Deli and Blue Jeans Pizza, both Worcester, and Applebee's and T.G.I. Friday's.

There also will be free food and beverages from the Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub, Bello Treats, Brookfield Orchards in North Brookfield; First Leaves Family Farm in Whitinsville; Miranda Bread, Nummy Nummies, Price Chopper and Pure Juz, all in Worcester.

Polar Beverages in Worcester will sponsor a tent where free Polar seltzers and water will be available.

Children's Friend is the oldest child and family service agency in Central Massachusetts. Founded in 1849, the organization is celebrating 165 years of service.

You still have to register for event.

This week, Tweed's Pub Restaurant, 229 Grove St., Worcester, introduced its autumn menu.

Owner Jim Donoghue said that after receiving "very positive feedback from customers'' on several of Tweed's promotions, he has decided to extend the hours that specials are available.

The Daily Early Birds has changed to Daily Headliners. The specials are available all day from 11 a.m. until the kitchen closes (11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday).

Daily Headliners: Monday: Open Steak Sandwich, $9.99; Tuesday: "CBC'' Caesar Salad, $8.99; Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan, $8.99; Thursday: Fish & Chips, $9.99.

Tweed's will continue to offer prime rib on Friday and Saturday nights, but the meal is not considered a Daily Headliner.

Another of the restaurant's seasonal favorites, Traditional Roasted Turkey Dinner, $9.99, will be served all day Sundays.

Tweed's "Happy Hour Half Price Appetizer'' promo has extended hours from 3 to 6 p.m.

Craft beers that will be poured this season include Wormtown Pumpkin from Worcester, Blue Point Toasted Lager from Long Island and Shiner White Wing from Texas.

Look for the restaurant's new holiday function menu. It's never too early to reserve a party! Call (508) 755-8047.

Northworks Bar & Grille, 106 Grove St., Worcester, has reopened for lunch on Saturdays, beginning at noon.

Special on the menu is a Black Angus Burger (half pound) for $6.99. Add a topping for an extra buck.

Sutton Wines & Liquors, 160 Worcester Providence Turnpike, Sutton, will have an "Oktoberfest'' Grand Craft Beer Tasting event from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 4.

Admission is free with a donation to the Sutton Food Pantry.

Vendors will pour samples of craft seasonal beers, and special discounts will be offered during the event. Light appetizers will be served.

Call (508) 865-3507 for more information.

If you have a tidbit for the column, call (508) 868-5282. Send email to
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Title Annotation:Living
Author:Houle, Barbara M.
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 25, 2014
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