Something to Tweet about: Little Birdie Wine Nest to inhabit old West Creek Tavern space in Parma

For as long as she can remember, Robin Keenan has been driving past the hilly intersection of Broadview Road and Ridgewood Drive and envisioning what could be.

“I’ve lived at the top of this hill where the old West Creek Tavern was for my whole life, and I must have driven past this area thousands of times,” says the Parma native. “It was this rickety little old building on this big corner backing into the beautiful West Creek Reservation, so I would always daydream about what this place could become.”

Robin Schulze of Little Birdie Wine NestIn 2022, Keenan’s long-held dream will come to fruition as her business, Little Birdie Wine Nest, relocates from its current location at 6060 Broadview Rd. into a newly constructed, 8,500-square-foot facility on the former West Creek Tavern property. The former building was demolished in early May, and construction will start immediately on the new Little Birdie Wine Nest. Like the current location, the new iteration will offer wine retail and tastings, small group fitness classes, and crafting events—but with nearly triple the footprint.

“It’s really like an adult playground, especially for women,” explains Keenan. “Part of its staying power and why it continues to grow is that it’s not just a wine store, but also a crafting space and boutique gym.”

Though Keenan can’t imagine her life any other way today, her path to owning Little Birdie Wine Nest was somewhat of a detour from her initial goals. Keenan graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2010 with a degree in evolutionary biochemistry and paleoanthropology—even going to Ethiopia on a fossil dig—but ultimately ended up pursuing a career in fine dining and wine appreciation.

“I had a part-time job at the Baricelli Inn while I was a student at Case and started learning about wine there,” says Keenan. “The restaurant bug bit me, and I really fell in love with that whole world.”

Keenan went on to work with Jill Vedaa at Rockefeller’s and later became a certified sommelier at RED The Steakhouse. When she started to struggle with burnout, Keenan started to think about starting her own wine shop, and in October 2016, she debuted the Little Birdie Wine Nest in Parma, starting with a modest selection of wines for sale.

“It was so small that to call it a wine store was almost silly, but every bottle I sold I reinvested and bought another one,” says Keenan. “Now we have over 1,000 wines in the shop, and we’ve become one of the biggest independent wine stores in Cleveland.”
The business has grown in other ways, too, opening its umbrella to include other spokes such as Morning Owl Coffee, Balancing Flamingo Yoga Lounge, and Crafty Canary—all under the same roof. To fit all of the activities into the small space, Keenan would initially clear out the center of the wine shop to host yoga classes and paint-and-sip sessions, but she eventually built out dedicated areas within the open layout.

“We’ve grown to encompass something for everyone—there’s always something on our calendar, even if you don’t drink,” says Keenan.

Dubbed Birdie's Nest Social Sanctuary, the new facility will enable these offshoots to grow even more, with separate areas for each leg of the business and a full kitchen. Keenan will also offer drive-thru coffee service, special event space, and an ample outdoor patio; she’s also excited for the new space’s proximity to the trails at West Creek Reservation.

Rendering of the new space - Birdie's Nest Social Sanctuary “The vibe will be built around maximizing the outdoor space and having almost everything include full windows to the back,” says Keenan. “When we were dreaming this up, we thought, ‘Where in Parma can you sit on a back patio and not overlook a parking lot?’ Here you’ll be able to look into the woods, and there are Metroparks trails within inches of the property line.”

Keenan is eagerly counting the days until Little Birdie inhabits its new nest, but most of all, she’s happy about expanding within her home city of Parma. She’s also thrilled to have various local investors, including her one-time Normandy High School classmate Tim Bratz (who runs Legacy Wealth Holdings), as well as ample support from the surrounding community.

“Of course this concept would flourish in a place like Lakewood or Tremont, but I think it’s really neat to bring it to somewhere that doesn’t have anything like that,” says Keenan. “People in Parma are so amped for this to come to their city, and that makes me so happy.”

Read more articles by Jen Jones Donatelli.

As an enthusiastic CLE-vangelist, Jen Jones Donatelli enjoys diving headfirst into her work with FreshWater Cleveland. Upon moving back to Cleveland after 16 years in Los Angeles, Jen served as FreshWater's managing editor for two years (2017-2019) and continues her work with the publication as a contributing editor and host of the FreshFaces podcast. When not typing the day away at her laptop, she teaches writing and creativity classes through her small business Creative Groove, as well as Literary Cleveland, Cleveland State University, and more. Jen is a proud graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.