On March 9th, 2014, local Glen Ellyn restaurant, fire + wine, won their city’s “Business of the Year” award. Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director, Mike Formento explains that the city developed this program to, “Acknowledge organizations that have done an exemplary job in their community.”
One-paragraph nominations are solicited from the community as well as Chamber members to determine which business will receive the award and why. Mike Formento says, “This year, fire + wine received a substantial number of nominations referring mostly to their philanthropic activities as well the friendly atmosphere they’ve created.”
It seemed that fire + wine’s theme for 2013 was “giving back.” After opening Spring 2012 and finding immediate success, owners Michael Vai, Anthony Vai and Chef Brian Goewey set their sights on different ways of saying “Thank You” to a community that became regular and loyal fans of their fare. This gratitude came in the form of multiple collaborations with organizations in Glen Ellyn and surrounding communities over the course of 2013. Perhaps the largest being Hadley Middle School’s “Musical Mayhem” event, created to offer children access to instruments and musical programs regardless of their family’s income.
Michael Vai brought in his famous guitarist brother, Steve Vai, to meet and inspire middle schoolers and to help fundraise. Together with Steve, fire + wine raised $10,000 for the Musical Mayhem event and over $25,000 in 2013 at large.
In response to fire + wine receiving the Business of the Year award, Michael Vai mentions, “We went into 2013 taking the spirit, passions and desires that are so deeply part of who we all are and “paying it forward.” It was our management and staff that all got behind a lofty goal and pushed tirelessly to make it happen. I am thankful to be part of it all and honored that we have helped create moments that are meaningful to ourselves and our community.
Onward and Upward…there is so much more special work we need to keep doing.”
It looks like fire + wine has no intention of slowing down their pace both in-house and in their community!