Let’s Make it to MarCellar’s!

Fine wines and gourmet brews abound in the heart of Historic Downtown

Published online: Nov 06, 2020 Dining Steve Smede
Viewed 1745 time(s)

Most grocery stores have a beer and wine section, but it only takes a casual inquiry to reveal their limitations. Just ask the clerk passing by what he thinks about the latest reviews for Big Sky’s Trout Slayer, or perhaps the new cabernet sauvignon from Colter’s Creek. 

You’ll get a deer-in-the-headlights response every time.

If you want to elevate your taste, knowledge and enthusiasm for all things *zymological, save your pointed questions for the specialists. Luckily, you can find them right in the heart of Historic Downtown Idaho Falls at MarCellar’s Vintage Wines & Brews.

Established in 1995, this quaint Park Avenue shop and mini-bar carries a mind-blowing selection of wines and beers—from near and afar.

“We do some services by the drink, and we offer wines of all prices from all over the world, as well as microbrews, domestic beers and imports,” owner Marilynne Maguba told us. The store also offers a selection of Idaho beers both in cans and bottles, as well as microbrews from western Wyoming.

“One thing people should also be aware of is that Idaho is doing a really good job of making its own wine, so we have a nice selection of wines from around the state,” Marilynne said. Local grocery outlets do have a few of them, she concedes, “but we have dozens.”

Other hot sellers include a variety of regional and national IPA’s (shorthand for “India Pale Ales”), new ciders and mead, which is wine made from honey. For more adventurous palates, local breweries are also dabbling in beers mixed with fruit or even peanut butter.

“Here’s another strange thing—now they’re even putting wines in cans,” she said. “We call them fishing wines, perfect for a day on the river.”

Beyond the vast shelves of products, MarCellar’s serves as its own downtown destination. 

The layout includes a cozy bar area in the back, complete with a lineup of nine taps featuring the latest local and regional brews. Bar-stool seating can also be found on the main floor, as well as a quaint area upstairs for a more intimate experience. 

All of it is dependent on evolving rules to help curb COVID-19, of course, but in more normal times, local musicians use the space for informal Wednesday jam sessions, while Thursdays are set for wine tastings from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with distributors rotated to keep the selections fresh.

Whether for sit-down samplings or take-out, Marilynne puts a premium on the value of repeat patronage. “We have regular customers who are very loyal,” she said. “We see them all the time, so I’ve made a lot of friends in the community because of that.”

Marilynne added that another boon to MarCellar’s success is its downtown location, which brings in more of the tourist crowd. 

“It’s also nice having a lot of great restaurants downtown, where people can have lunch and then maybe grab a bottle to take home for dinner,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”

MarCellar’s Vintage Wines & Brews

431 Park Ave, Idaho Falls, ID 83402


*Zymology is the study of the fermentation process at the heart of producing beer and wine. Yes, I Googled. 

How did MarCellar’s get its name? 

If you’re an armchair linguist, a good guess is that it’s derived from the Italian words “mare” for sea and “cellar” for cantina. So the interpretation could be something exotic like “Cantina by the Sea.” Catchy, right? Actually, that seems to be a total coincidence. MarCellar’s name actually comes from Marcella, the name of the original owner.

Click here to read more of the November isssue.


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