| The Daytona Beach News-Journal
ORMOND BEACH — The owners of the recently closed La’s Bistro are back with a new eatery aptly named for these coronavirus pandemic times: To Better Days Wine Bar & Bistro.
“We finished our lease and felt with the pandemic, 5,000 square feet and 150 seats was a lot of overhead to cover when we don’t know when we’d be able to fully use it again,” said Carlos Soldevilla of the former La’s Bistro space on Nova Road. “Then this smaller space became available. It was an opportunity that was too good to pass up.”
Soldevilla and his wife, Angie Slattery, opened To Better Days on Jan. 21 at 197 N. Yonge St. It’s just a few blocks north of Granada Boulevard, Ormond Beach’s downtown business corridor.
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The just under 1,700-square-foot space was previously home to Gotham City Pizza which closed last year. To Better Days has seating for 80 people.
“We just opened the restaurant 11 days ago and are having incredible success so far,” said Soldevilla on Tuesday. “We’ve already had three sold-out days.”
Soldevilla and his wife run To Better Days with the help of Slattery’s 20-year-old daughter Maddie Peth. They also employ some part-time workers.
“It’s a totally different concept,” said Soldevilla when asked to compare La’s Bistro and To Better Days.
‘Sip, savor and swirl’ on Valentine’s Day
La’s Bistro was open on weekdays for breakfast and lunch and only served dinner on weekends and special occasions such as Valentine’s Day.
To Better Days has nearly the opposite schedule. It is open 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It is closed Mondays. That allows the eatery to be available for private parties, meetings and special events during the day on week days, said Soldevilla.
The goal for To Better Days is to provide a place for customers to relax and “sip, savor and swirl the moment,” said Soldevilla. It has a bar in the middle with a dining room on one side and a “wine lounge” on the other. The lounge has sofas, an assortment of board games and a “cork wall” — a see-through display with a circular hole on the top right side. When customers finish a bottle of wine they are encouraged to sign the cork and deposit it in the wall.
To Better Days hosts wine-tastings and other evening events including “wino bingo” and trivia nights.
Planning is underway for an elaborate “Phantom of the Opera” theme night that will feature a showing of the movie, trivia games, a themed menu and a musician performing songs from the musical. Soldevilla expects to hold the event within the next six to eight weeks.
On special event nights, To Better Days has a food truck in the parking lot to offer customers a wider choice of food options. For the wine tasting this past Tuesday, the food truck was Southern State of Mind. “We’ll have different food trucks for different events,” Soldana said.
Menu ranges from artisan meats to cheese steak to brunch favorites
Ormond Beach resident Diane O’Dwyer accompanied her friends Alice and Jeff Godbey to check out To Better Days for the first time on Tuesday.
“I think it’s great. It’s a nice addition to Ormond Beach,” said O’Dwyer.
To Better Days offers an evening food menu that includes “small plates” of appetizers such as bruschetta, Philly cheese steak egg rolls and an artisan meat and cheese plate. It also offers “handhelds” with names such as “Americano,” “Sweet Georgia,” and “OMG BLT.” All handhelds come with a choice of a side: soup, salad or potato salad. The menu includes “From the Past” items such as quiche, chicken salad sandwich and Sicilian crab cakes. Prices range from $5 to $8.
On weekends, To Better Days offers a brunch menu that includes omelets, pancakes and other breakfast fare, all priced from $6 to $8.
The one notable exception is the “Pancake Charcuterie Board” which is priced at $15. It features eight pancakes, four bacon strips, four sausage patties and a variety of toppings — strawberries, blueberries, chocolate chips, Nutella, peanut butter, whipped cream and pecans.
“It’s quite the showstopper,” said Soldevilla of the pancake charcuterie board. “We’ve had over 28,000 people on Facebook alone see our post of it that has been shared and spread out.”
The weekend brunch menu also offers mimosa drinks which can be purchased for $3 a glass or $10 for a flight of different fruit flavors or for a “bottomless” supply of the classic orange juice version.
“We plan to evolve our menu on a monthly basis,” said Soldevilla.
“Carlos Soldevilla and family have once again knocked it out of the park with the opening of To Better Days Wine Bar & Bistro,” wrote Ormond Beach resident Kevin Lowe on a Facebook post. “Such a much-needed addition to this area of Ormond Beach. The atmosphere is so relaxed and cozy, the food absolutely delicious. … And just a note, in an era where face masks are the hottest new accessory, they’ve got you taken care of with that, too!”
To Better Days has a display of handmade masks for sale for $3 each inside the front entrance. The masks are the creation of Maddie Peth.
Lowe owns a travel agency called Better Days Travel that is not affiliated with the Soldevillas’ new wine bar/bistro. “We had a good laugh about the similarity of our businesses’ names,” Lowe said.
For more information, call To Better Days at 386-676-5181.