Q&A with Lindsay Rice, Owner of Vita Vite Raleigh

Lindsay Rice from Vita Vite Raleigh
Lindsay Rice

Today we chat with Lindsay Rice, owner of Vita Vite Raleigh. This Q&A is a part of our series called interviews with locals where we interview local Raleigh business owners and entrepreneurs to share their story with our community.

Where did you grow up and go to school? How long have you lived in Raleigh?

I grew up in a small town in Virginia, about an hour outside of DC. I went to a tiny school in my hometown for high school, and then graduated from Sweet Briar College with a degree in Art History and an Arts Management certificate.

I went on to do my M.A. at Georgetown University in Art History & Museum Studies, and lived in DC (with a stint in London) until I moved to Raleigh about 7.5 years ago. 

How did you get into the industry you are in now?

I was raised in a family that put a great emphasis on time together around the table. My mom was always the perfect hostess, and would throw parties and dinners all the time, so I grew up with the idea that playing hostess was a natural thing.

Combined with my background in the arts, and my love of travel, it seemed natural to start a business that was focused on a combination of these things. 

Give us your 30 second elevator pitch for your business?

Vita Vite Raleigh
Vita Vite Raleigh

We are an art gallery + wine bar + event space with two locations in Raleigh (one downtown in the Warehouse District, and the other in North Hills).

We focus on having a relaxed, unpretentious environment where customers can sit in comfortable seating sections that feel like a home (think overstuffed sofas, Turkish rugs, fireplaces) while enjoying wine and beer as well as cheese & charcuterie. We showcase Southern artists, and focus on wines from predominately small, family-run wineries around the world. 

Most popular product you sell at your business? 

Rose is always the most popular, especially during the warmer months. We also make our own frose (rose slushy) over the summer at our Downtown location, which is always a big hit.

Another favorite is our sauvignon blanc – Hunky Dory at VV Downtown, and Huia at VV Midtown. They’re from the same family-run winery in New Zealand, and have been favorites ever since we opened at each location. 

Your favorite product you sell at your business?

It changes everyday! Of course I love our cheese and charcuterie boards, and to be honest, I’m such a seasonal wine drinker that it varies based on the weather, what I’m eating, mood, etc. 

Vita Vite Raleigh

What would a traveler learn about Raleigh by coming to your business?

I’m a big fan of the focus that Raleigh puts on supporting local, small businesses. I think visiting VV would reinforce that for someone, as they could see the local artists, food products, and beers that we showcase.

We have a small staff who all work at both locations, so you’re likely to see a familiar face each time you return!

If you had a friend visiting from out of town, where in Raleigh would you take them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? 

I’ll skip the breakfast and instead do brunch at Neuse River Brewing & Brasserie. The food, staff, and ambiance are great, and I love all of their beers and cocktails. 

Lunch would be a cheese & charcuterie board at Vita Vite, of course! And a glass of wine or two while we’re there 😉

For dinner I’d take them to Cortez. Their cocktail and food menu is unlike anything in Raleigh – incredibly creative and innovative. I’ve never had anything other than amazing food and drinks when visiting there!  

Best thing about living in Raleigh?

One of the main things that drew me to Raleigh was the small-town feel with city amenities. Coming from living in bigger cities but having grown up in a small town, I feel like it’s a great balance between the two.

You don’t have to go far to find anything you need, but you still run into people you know all over town. It’s also exciting seeing how much it has grown over the years, especially lately, and knowing that my businesses are a part of that growth.

Least favorite thing about living in Raleigh? 

Probably the same things honestly. Trying to keep up with the growth, and having to deal with the constant roadwork, building up of new parts of town, and large influx of people. But those are really all positive things, so I can’t complain too much about them! 

Can’t miss experience/attraction in Raleigh for an out-of-town visitor? 

I love taking visitors to the State Farmer’s Market to see all the local produce and products. It doesn’t matter what season it is, there is always an amazing spread from the farmers who bring their goods to sell there. 

Another favorite is to take visitors to the North Carolina Museum of Art. If there’s a traveling exhibition I always love to visit that, but the permanent collection alone is a worth a trip! 

State Farmers Market
State Farmers Market

Your favorite business in Raleigh that you like to frequent? 

I love love love Neuse River Brewing in Five Points. It’s my neighborhood spot that I’ve been frequenting since they opened, and I go even more now that they have a full food menu! The owners are good friends of mine and wonderful people, and I love seeing their success as the years have gone on. 

What excites you the most about doing business in Raleigh over the next 5-10 years?

Vita Vite Raleigh
Vita Vite Raleigh

All of the growth that’s happening! I’m excited to see so many more businesses opening up all the time, especially after the struggles that occurred this past year due to covid. 

What concerns you the most about doing business in Raleigh over the next 5-10  years?

I’m choosing to look with rose-colored glasses about the future at this point. After having one of my businesses closed for 6.5 months, and the other for a full year, I’m going to focus on the positivity of being back open and busy again after the stress and struggles of the past year!

Which local Raleigh entrepreneur inspires you to do better?

Maggie Kane from Place at the Table is such an inspiration. Seeing the way she works so hard to better our community, while doing it with grace and a sense of humor, really makes me want to do the best I can for Raleigh as well. 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business in Raleigh?

Network as much as you possibly can. Starting a business can be an incredibly lonely, isolating experience, and having people you can turn to for advice or help is very beneficial.

Raleigh is full of wonderful people who have great experience and are usually more than happy to share how they got started themselves, so definitely take advantage of that! 

What is your favorite thing about running your business?

Getting to meet so many amazing people over the past 5.5 years that we’ve been open. From wine and beer salespeople, to our incredible artists, to the awesome customers that come in and chat while they share a glass of one of our favorite wines.

I’ve made so many friends from people who started as regulars, and I feel so lucky everyday that I get to do this as my job. 

Drink of choice? Where in Raleigh do you get it at?

Wine from either Vita Vite location. We always have a full-bodied Spanish red option which is usually a favorite of mine, or Lambrusco (chilled sparkling red from Italy). I love grabbing a dirty chai from Hereghty Heavenly Delicious in Glenwood Village if I need a caffeine boost. 

Favorite getaway spot in North Carolina?

I was lucky enough to grow up spending a lot of time on Bald Head Island, so I think that will always have my heart as the most special spot to sneak away to in the state. 

When you hear the words “THIS IS RALEIGH” what comes to mind?

The diversity and variety that exist within our small city. Every neighborhood has a unique feel and something different to offer, and I love that you don’t have to go far to find a new bar, restaurant, or attraction.

To be a small place, we have so much going on!

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