For Lynne and Bill Edwards, opening 319 Wine & Cheese Shoppe was the culmination of a lifetime dream.
They opened the shop on Old Water Oak Road in the Northeast five years ago, creating a charming atmosphere for warm gatherings, serving Lynne’s homemade Italian food and sophisticated cheese boards paired with thoughtful wine selections picked by Bill. They also offered live music, workshops and weekly events and tastings.
This week, Lynne announced that the cozy shop was closing, but she stresses that she’s not going away.
I spoke with her this morning and she is launching a business called 319 On the Go Catering geared to home and office parties. Lynne will be renting space in KitchenShare, Tallahassee’s first food-based incubator program for local entrepreneurs, located in Frenchtown’s Heritage Hub.
“I’m going to focus on bringing 319 Italian-style food to people, the kind of food I grew up with,” she said. “I don’t want to close on a sad note. It’s time for another part of my story to come to life.”
Lynne said that while she loved what she was doing and loved her customers, “it was a long eight months and it took a toll on us.”
Eight months ago her son Ryan, 29, suddenly became ill due a heart infection which “went throughout his body” and led to a stroke. 319 server Jesse Mader and sous chef Kayla Vanslette stepped in to run the shop while she stayed with her son at the hospital. He is back home, has been recovering and plans to help her with catering, Lynne said.
In later months, Lynne’s father encountered heart issues and her eldest son, 34, was diagnosed with a birth heart defect that had gone undetected. Then Lynne developed high blood pressure.
Until May, she was also working a full time job as executive officer of the Tallahassee Builders Association while spending evenings and Sundays at 319. “I worked everyday. I missed birthdays and holidays.”
After all the health problems in her family, “I realized that life is short. In a heartbeat, someone can be taken from you.”
It’s not easy for a restaurant to develop a loyal following, to make a connection, but in five years, 319 was that kind of place, said fans who reacted on Facebook and sent messages.
“We loved 319. Lynne & Bill were fabulous,” fan Kristina Park told Tallahassee Table. “I was born and raised in Napa Valley and when I set foot in 319 I felt at ‘home.’ We are sad upon its closing but thoroughly enjoyed each visit and were made to feel welcome.”
Another patron, Patty Wray Dehner said 319 reminded her of Cheers. “Ryan (the Edwards’ son) and (server) Jesse always knew my name and my favorite wine.”
Heidi Krepp, of Quarter Acre Farm, who conducted “green” workshops at the shop called it “unique.” .
“There’s nothing like it in Tallahassee,” she said. “It was like a home away from home.”
Lynne said she wants her customers to know “ I’ve loved having their voices fill the room. They would laugh and cry in sadness and joy. They were comfortable in my place and that’s all I ever wanted.”
If you’re interested in Lynne Edward’s catering business, contact her at 850-251-7477 and [email protected]