JOE DENTON, Partner, ‘inoteca and ‘inoteca liquori
Joe Denton has gained recognition for creating one of New York’s most loved wine bars, ‘inoteca. He is a natural host and brings a genuine understanding of people to the front-of-house, as well as his expertise and passion for Italian wines.
His interest in the food business began in his hometown of Twin Falls, Idaho, where he helped out at his parents’ grocery distribution company. Joe was also encouraged by his uncle, Harry Denton, an accomplished restaurant and nightclub owner in San Francisco. In 1990, Joe began his career in restaurants as a busboy in Stamos Café in Bellevue, Washington. He fondly remembers being thrilled when he received $8 tips.
In 1998, after spending several years snowboarding and building his interest in wine working at Plumpjack Restaurant in Lake Tahoe, Joe moved to New York City to help his brother, Jason, open ‘ino. The West Village wine, panini and bruschetta bar, the first of its kind, was an instant hit. While managing ‘ino, Joe developed a loyal fan base and primed himself for his future at ‘inoteca, which he opened with Jason and chef Eric Kleinman in 2003.
‘inoteca’s success is due to the fun, authentic Italian dining experience Joe helped create, as well as his smart, offbeat, 600-bottle wine list. The list, along with 30 wine-by-the-glass selections and exclusively imported ‘inoteca wines, is regarded as one of the top all-Italian wine programs in the country.
A newlywed, Joe lives with his wife Simone, and newborn son, Oliver in Manhattan.