By Morgan Bryce
Each week, John Mark and Meredith Davis share their culinary experiences from some of the area’s best fine-dining establishments in the Auburn-Opelika area and beyond under the pseudonym “The Dining Winos.”
Last year, Meredith’s uninteresting job at the time and the passing of “Dining with Don” blog series author Dr. Don Roberts helped prompt she and John Mark to “pick up where (Roberts) left off.”
“Like (the Roberts’) we love fine dining and good wine to go with it. We also enjoy traveling and experiencing everything life has to offer, so the combination of wanting to fill the steps where he left off, wanting to unclog my own personal accounts with all the wine and food posts and having a creative outlet for myself and my love for taking photos to document life led me to do this,” Meredith said. “I even had a conversation with Lorna (Don’s wife) at dinner one night about how this idea came to me, and asked if she minded me carrying on the torch, and she said sweetly that she thought Don would be honored if I did so.”
The Davis’s love story began more than seven years ago on a date at Birmingham’s Maestro 2300, where John Mark both booked live entertainment and worked as a wine representative for Pinnacle Imports. Their relationship blossomed and they eloped three years later to a friend’s family winery in McMinville, Oregon.
Though she liked and appreciated wine, Meredith said John Mark used his background in restaurant management and wine sales to help educate her about the world of wine. They are now both first-level and Court of Master sommeliers, but he has a “much deeper knowledge about wines,” according to Meredith.
The couple divvy responsibilities when describing their experience at a restaurant. John Mark lends his knowledge to Meredith in the writing process while she takes photographs and later shares their content on their social media channels.
“All our content is original. It is something that you can grow your knowledge and appreciation for everyday, with every dinner and pairing,” Meredith said. “It’s a fun hobby to have.”
While they enjoy sharing highlights from their national and international culinary experiences, Meredith said she enjoys showcasing the best that the Auburn-Opelika area has to offer.
“We have such a great diverse restaurant scene now in our area, it’s hard to narrow it down. In alphabetical order my top three favorites for finer dining are: Acre, Cafe 123 and The Waverly Local,” Meredith said. “We also enjoy Pho Lee, Dumps Like a Truck, and if we are at (Lake Martin), SpringHouse is a favorite and just a special place (for us).”
The Davises frequently receive questions from followers on their regarding wine pairings or the best place to host events, queries Meredith said she and John Mark love to help answer.
“The Dining Winos is at this point just for fun. I do not receive anything financially for promoting anyone or anything. It is just a place for us to chronicle some of the amazing places we go, food we eat, trip tips, dining tips, wine tips …the list can go on,” Meredith said. “I only highlight things I thoroughly enjoyed. If I didn’t like something you will never hear about it. I do not want to be a source of negativity. I love to focus on the Auburn and Opelika community that I call home.”
Meredith added that their experience shared through The Dining Winos has drawn them closer together as a couple.
“It’s wonderful and we thoroughly enjoy the life we share together. Life, like wine, is better when shared,” Meredith said.
For more information or to view past blog posts, like and follow their Facebook and Instagram pages or visit www.thediningwinos.com.