Our owner and chef, Joy Reinhardt, was born in San Francisco and raised in Redding, California. When she was eighteen she joined the Army where she spent two years stationed in Germany, and five years at the NATO Headquarters in Belgium. While in the Army, she received her business degree from the University of Maryland. One of Joy’s biggest passions is volunteerism, which lead her to volunteer with Youth at Risk at Virginia Tech and become an active member of the Arlington Arts Board while she lived on the East Coast. Additionally, at Virginia Tech she taught families living on government aid how to shop for and cook real meals instead of boxed foods. In 2010, when Joy moved to Sacramento, she was a member of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, and was later elected president. Today, she is a new and active member of the Santa Ynez Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Joy’s experience in cooking and restaurant owning is long lived. She owned multiple restaurants and wine stores on the East Coast, and a successful catering business where she catered events such as U.S. Airforce Memorial Opening and a cocktail reception for President Obama. After living in Sacramento, she relocated to Santa Ynez for a job that she loved, but ultimately returned to her passion in culinary. Joy’s love of travel has given her the knowledge and ability to create a diverse menu with influences from all different cultures that changes daily. Joy is passionate about many things other than cooking; she is an avid cyclist and runner, loves entertaining, and considers herself a closeted designer and gardener. She owns two rescue animals and of all of the different types of music she listens to, old school R&B makes her the most happy.
Ellie’s Tap and Vine is dedicated to Joy’s mother, Eleanor—most people knew her as Ellie—who passed suddenly in 2018. Ellie was diagnosed with lung and liver cancer, and passed three weeks later. This restaurant is a tribute to her life and all the beautiful things she offered the world. Joy designed every aspect of the restaurant, chose each beer and wine on the list, and created each item on the ever-evolving menu with heart, passion, and the influence of all things that Ellie loved.
Eleanor, Joy's mother, knew no strangers, and those who knew Eleanor best, knew her as Ellie, a woman whose heart was made for loving, for dancing, for laughing, for entertaining. She was raised in San Pedro by a fisherman, and moved to the Bay Area after meeting her husband, where she gave birth to Joy, our owner and chef, and her twin brother. Ellie worked in the restaurant business as a waitress for twenty-five years, where she learned the art of fine dining, a skill she made sure to pass on to her children. As her four children grew older, the family moved to Redding and Ellie raised them as a single parent, with the constant help of her oldest daughter, Melody. She worked two restaurant jobs to make ends meet, but never forgot the importance of truly living in every moment and never taking yourself too seriously. And while Ellie was passionate about many things—dancing, antique shopping, gardening, and of course, Tom Jones (she was unapologetically a huge fan)—she never could quite get a grasp on sports or get over her fear of heights. But those things didn’t matter in the joy filled life of Ellie, because what was truly important to her was to love fiercely and laugh often. And that was what people loved most about her, the pure magic of her undying laughter.
Everything in the restaurant is inspired by Ellie and her love for all things feminine and fabulous. From the wine, to the flowers, to the teacups, to the delicious food, we hope that you feel Ellie’s love for the world with every moment you spend and every bite you take here at Ellie’s Tap and Vine. We’re happy to have you, and we know Ellie is too.