A combination of good wine and Hollywood star power was definitely a formula for success at Austin’s Quench The Experience Restaurant.

Last Wednesday, the healthy soul food eatery at 5815 W. Madison hosted its first ever wine tasting. They also welcomed Chicago native and Hollywood actress Cynda Williams for the event. Williams, who now lives in Oak Park, made her film debut in Spike Lee’s Mo Better Blues (1990), starring opposite Denzel Washington.

Quench The Experience opened in Austin in August 2008. There are two other Quench eateries on the South Side. The Austin spot is co-owned by

Shawn Taylor, and also Quentin Love, who founded the restaurants.

Tracye D. Hinton, owner of WomeStyles, provided the wine, to the delight of Quench Experience customers.

Shawn Taylor talked about the message she and Love are trying to send to the black community about eating healthier. The restaurant has chicken, turkey and fish on its menu, but not beef or pork.

“The Quench chain was created by Quentin Love in 2002. He opened his first restaurant on the South Side and he has expanded. So Quentin had been pretty much acquainted with the South Side until last summer when we opened the Experience here on the West Side. So this is the first Quench on the West Side.

“We’re proud of this Experience because it is the first sit-down Quench, and it is the largest Quench in Chicago,” she added. “We have some things here you might not be able to get at other Quenches because we have more of a capacity and we’re going to start holding events and really making it a destination place for the West side.”

Taylor said that what’s available in the black community isn’t healthy; even the cuts of meat aren’t as good.

“A lot of black people have really erased the whole beef and pork thing from their diet. When I heard about Quentin’s concept I was intrigued because a lot of my friends don’t eat beef and pork. And even if you eat beef and pork we are still here for you. Everybody doesn’t eat it everyday. You can take a break and have chicken, turkey or fish. We have some vegetarian offerings too. So I think that makes us a standout in the community.”

A star falls in Austin

Taylor invited Cynda Williams to be a special guest for the wine-tasting event. The two met at Taylor’s son’s school.

“She lives in Oak Park and I live in Oak Park,” Taylor said. “I recognized her the first day of school, but I didn’t say anything. The next day I said, ‘OK, it’s Cynda Williams.’ Our kids are both second graders and we became friends. She is a lovely person. She’s got a lot of talent and I know a lot people remember her from Mo Better Blues and lot of other films.”