When your boss decides to sell his business, you usually look for a new job.
Shannon Rush bought the business instead.
Rush, 28, is the new owner of Ahwatukee’s popular My Wine Cellar, whose previous owner, Zoya Vora-Shah, has decided to travel for a while in search of “wine-centric adventures.”
Rush had been his general manager for the last three years and even that position grew out of her earlier association with My Wine Cellar: she was a good customer.
“I was actually considered a regular,” Rush said. “I had known Zoya and Katie for many years and was able to fall in love with the bar as an enamored guest. It has been a wonderful and rewarding series of events and what some of our regulars call the perfect storm.”
That perfect storm began developing when Rush was growing up in Brunei, where she served customers and cleaned tables at her aunt’s noodle shop.
After moving to the United States when she was 18, Rush said, “My younger self, wild and rebellious, traveled the country in my '97 Saturn.”
Her arrival in the U.S. also marked more involvement in the restaurant industry.
“I got my start in a fine-dining Italian restaurant in Philadelphia, where I learned the etiquette of the white table cloth and how to filet a fish tableside,” she said.
“During that time I was able to explore the wonderful world of Italian wines and learn the proper way to present and handle a wine bottle,” she added. “For several years after this, I worked in restaurants all across the country before I ended up at House of Tricks. It was there where my passion for wine escalated to the next level.”
Since she got to My Wine Cellar three years ago, Rush has been perfecting the wine offerings, leading staff members and spending time with customers.
When Vora-Shah decided to sell, “I couldn’t imagine ever leaving our fans. So when the opportunity came up to buy this little gem, I didn’t hesitate.”
Now that My Wine Cellar, 5030 E. Warner Road, is her wine cellar, Rush is contemplating some upgrades.
She is expanding the menu to include contemporary, tapas-style shareable dishes and, sometime next spring, wants to start brunch service. Existing menu favorites will remain, she said.
Rush also is expanding My Wine Cellar’s patio, which overlooks a golf course.
“My Wine Cellar is my new love child and although I spend most of my hours here, it doesn't feel like work,” she said. “Every moment is an opportunity for inspiration and a chance to bring this place to the next level.”
She also likes the sampling part of her job.
“I consider sampling wines, although a very important part, a perk of the trade,” Rusah said. “When I am tasting, exploring my palate and conversing about wine and life is when I can finally relax and indulge. It’s an experience that I hope to provide for my guests when they are here.”
To kick off her new business formally, Rush plans “an unveiling wine festival” noon-3 p.m. Nov. 20. Besides checking out what she’s done to the site, guests also can indulge in some 20 new wines for $20.
Information/RSVP: 480-598-9463, mywinecellarphx.com.