Wine lounge, eatery to open in vacant Rankin church
A family of five from California are on a renovation mission in Rankin.
The Stasinowsky family from Sacramento purchased the former Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Rankin from the Pittsburgh Diocese in February, 2018 for $50,000.
They are creating a new unique destination they named Mary’s Vine—a wine lounge and eatery that they hope will become a favorite gathering spot for locals and visitors.
The Tuscany themed lounge and restaurant is scheduled to open in late spring and will offer 350 bottles of wine from international locales such as Hungary, South Africa, Italy,Spain, France, Croatia, Germany and the United States.
Patrons will be able to select from 50 different wines offered by the glass.
Wine prices will range from $10 – $40 per glass and bottles will sell from $35-$600 said co-owner Jordan Stasinowsky, 25, a certified wine specialist.
All wine, even those ordered by the glass, will be poured table-side.
“We want wine to be approachable for everyone whether you drink a lot of wine or are new to wine,” Jordan said.
Constructed in 1903 as a Croatian parish, Rankin locals refer to the church as St. Mary’s. Incorporating that name into their new business made sense said CEO and co-owner Cheryl Stasinowsky, who owns the church along with husband Wally, son Jordan, daughter Amber Smith and son-in-law Daniel Smith.
“We kept the Mary in the name to honor the community who called it St. Mary’s,” Cheryl said.
Jordan landed a job in Pittsburgh after graduating from Stetson University with a degree in finance.
He fell for Pittsburgh and was looking to purchase a home— found the church listing on Craig’s List —and felt a strong connection with the building.
Jordan was determined to live in the church, but the family chimed in and a collaborative discussion on the best use for the building ensued.
Jordan pitched the idea of opening up a wine lounge and restaurant and the family embraced their new venture—and their new city.
“Everyone is trying to help us and is so friendly and welcoming,” Cheryl said of Pittsburghers.
Wally was back in Sacramento working when Cheryl called from Pittsburgh after visiting with Jordan.
“My wife called and was like, ‘Want to move to Pittsburgh?’ said Wally, journeyman carpenter.
“I love Pittsburgh.”
The California crew relocated permanently to Pittsburgh where they all live together in nearby Swissvale.
The family had to repair major wear and tear on the church from almost a decade of neglect after the diocese closed St. Mary’s in 2011.
Interior damage included broken pipes, collapsed ceilings and rust.
The family added a new heating and air-conditioning system. They plan to offer live jazz music Wednesday through Sunday evenings from musicians perched in the balcony.
Two expansive wine stations were constructed with preserving some of the church’s contents in mind.
“All of the wood is re-purposed from all of the pews,” Jordan said. “Every pew that was originally in the building is still here.”
Classic American food entrees will hover in the $15-$35 range and guests will have the option of utilizing a free iPad app to navigate the menu and narrow down preferences.
And tipping isn’t allowed Cheryl said, adding another aspect of their goal to provide a unique wine experience.
Free valet parking will be offered at a nearby fenced and secure lot.
“We want people to feel massively important here and we want everyone to feel like they have been welcomed into our home at Mary’s Vine,” Cheryl said.
Joyce Hanz is a contributing writer.