Fire & Wine
Two longtime friends transform a small diner into a culinary hot spot
“If you build it, they will come.” So goes the old maxim referred to in the 1989 movie, "Field of Dreams." And it’s a maxim that has proven true for a relative newcomer to the fine dining scene in south Indian River County.
Fire and Wine, launched in June 2017 to little fanfare and even less signage, is the newest iteration of culinary excellence from partners Chuck Arnold and Roger Lord. Serving food that Arnold describes as modern American cuisine with a southern twist, the restaurant hit the ground running despite the off-the-beaten-path location — an unassuming strip center anchored by a Winn-Dixie supermarket on Oslo Road.
Still sporting the original Oslo Diner signage over the door, the restaurant is not only hard to find but also easy to underestimate. They tell me the obscurity has become part of the appeal. “As a chef, I always want to go to that place out in the middle of nowhere that’s hard to find and has great food,” Arnold notes. “We wanted to be outside the box.”
Yet Arnold’s reputation for innovative dishes like those he routinely conjured up at Bijou on 14th Avenue has secured him a solid clientele who are willing to follow wherever he goes. “It’s kind of funny,” Arnold admits. “We wanted to be word-of-mouth, but we were amazed how fast this took off. At the end of the first week, we were sitting having a glass of wine and I said, ‘Roger, did you even turn on the open sign this week?’ He hadn’t. The entire time we were busy, we didn’t even realize the open sign wasn’t on. Everybody thinks we did that on purpose, but we were so busy we didn’t get around to it.”