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Jan 23, 2017
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

From new locations of popular barbecue joints and brunch spots to the closing of a 40-year-old Fairview Heights institution, here’s what happened last weekend in the St. Louis dining scene, ICYMI…

 

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1. Scott Sandler, owner of Pizzeoli in Soulard, has announced he will open a new restaurant called Pizza Head at 3196 S. Grand Ave., in the former Absolutli Goosed and Brickyard Tavern space.

2. Pastry chef Alex Feick is bringing her baking game to area restaurants and retailers. Prioritized Pastries aims to supply area restaurants, stores and individuals with quality artisan breads, pastries and desserts.

 

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3. Mike and Liz Randolph, co-owners of Randolph Restaurants,  have announced a second location of Half & Half in Webster Groves. The breakfast and lunch spot will open in late spring or early summer at 220 W. Lockwood Ave., in the current First Watch space.

4. The Tom & Chee location at 1280 Highway K in O’Fallon, Missouri, has closed. The closing was announced on the location’s Facebook page Jan. 9, citing “circumstances beyond our control.”

 

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5. Delmar Loop favorite Salt & Smoke is getting ready to expand its barbecue empire to South St. Louis this summer. Owner Tom Schmidt has announced that he will open a new location of the restaurant at 5625 Hampton Ave., the former home of Mathew’s Kitchen that shuttered last year.

6. Another longstanding Metro East establishment is shutting its doors. Dandy Inn Pub in Fairview Heights is scheduled to close on Sunday, Jan. 15, after 40 years in business.

7. Moya Grill, located at 567 Mehlville Ave. in University City, has been shuttered. The casual Ethiopian eatery from the owners of Meskerem on South Grand closed over the holidays.

 

Don’t miss out on all the St. Louis restaurant news – follow Sauce Magazine on Facebook and Twitter for the latest Scoops and Sneak Peeks!

 

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Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

From a tour a Herbie’s new home in Clayton to the closure of J McArthur’s An American Kitchen, here’s what you missed last week, ICYMI…

 

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1. Changes are underway at 3500 Watson Road in Lindenwood Park. J McArthur’s An American Kitchen will close doors for good Dec. 31 after a year-and-a-half in business, according to co-owner Kathleen Bibbins.

2. After two-and-a-half years in business, Stur Restaurant and Lounge has closed its doors in Edwardsville. The closure was announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page Tuesday, Dec. 27.

 

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3. Herbie’s dropped the Vintage ’72 from its name when it moved into 8100 Maryland Ave., and opened doors to its new space in early November. Chef Chris Vomund recently took Sauce on a tour of the new 183-seat space.

4. From new arcade bars downtown to long-awaited breweries in Maplewood, these are the 10 Sneak Peeks you couldn’t wait to check out before they opened in 2016.

 

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5. Sauce restaurant critic Michael Renner has tasted his fair share of St. Louis cuisine. All year, he shared his thoughts on New and Notable restaurants. This week, he shared his top five dishes of 2016.

6. From big chef changes at Niche Food Group to new taco restaurants in Kirkwood and steakhouses in Sunset Hills, here are the 10 The Scoops you were most excited about this year.

 

 

 

Eat This: Chicken Sandwich at Square One Brewery

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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Chicken sandwiches are a dime a dozen, but the unassuming Grilled Chicken Sandwich at Square One Brewery is a diamond in the rough. A juicy, tender charred cutlet is draped in smoked white cheddar and topped with scallions and crispy bacon, served on a sturdy yet yielding ciabatta bun. But the crown jewel is the pungent, creamy swath of house honey mustard sauce, which takes this chicken sandwich to the next level.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Related Content
Eat This: Mangia Bene at Smokee Mo’s BBQ

Sauce Magazine: January 2017

• Eat This: Strawberry Mousseline Cake at La Bonne Bouchée

 

Ones to Watch 2017: Jen Epley of Vicia

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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Title: Assistant general manager, Vicia
Age: 31
Why watch her: She knows what you need before you do.

Jen Epley has her eye on you. Where did you sit, what did you order and what was your favorite dish? If you don’t like cilantro, you won’t see it – now or the next time you dine with her.

For Epley, successful service means everything appears effortless. Wine keys, pens, lighters and birthday candles are accounted for before the night begins. Guests are greeted warmly, treated with friendly respect and watched carefully from the moment they’re seated until the last glass of wine is consumed.

“You have to know something about them. They are there for that experience of connecting with the food, the servers, the beverages. They want to feel everything that you put into that restaurant,” Epley said. “You have to be part of it. … If you don’t love it, you shouldn’t be there because that resonates with all the guests that walk in.”

This is something she’s learned from hospitality pros in some of the best restaurants in the city, starting at Five Bistro five years ago.

“She’s really one of the unsung heroes of service in St. Louis,” said advanced sommelier Andrey Ivanov. He trained Epley on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wine when they worked at Olio and Elaia. “She’s so technically sound that she can do everything better than most people on autopilot, and meanwhile … look around the room and anticipate what’s next.”

“So many people treat serving as ‘Same job, different apron,’” said Sardella general manager Chris Kelling, who worked with Epley at Niche. “She has goals to ascend in the industry and be amongst the best. That is something I’ve only recently seen in St. Louis, that people are taking hospitality as a career.”

It seems only natural that Epley’s next step is to help open Vicia under co-owner and general manager Tara Gallina, who was service captain at Blue Hill at Stone Barns – a restaurant lauded as much for service as culinary talent. Before a recent wine tasting meeting, Epley pulled out a tote bag filled with polished stemware and ever-present spiral-bound notebooks.

“When I write things down, it’s easier to remember than typing,” she explained, rifling through pages filled with impeccably written wine tasting notes and potential front-of-house hires. Epley loves the puzzle of it all, carefully sorting each detail into its proper column. “It’s a fun game of Tetris,” she said.

“She’s always two steps ahead, which is what you have to be, and seeing the big picture at all times,” Gallina said. “She really just gets it.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Extra Sauce: A tour of Herbie’s new space in Clayton

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

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It’s been a year of change for fine dining eatery Herbie’s Vintage ‘72. In May, owner Aaron Teitelbaum announced he would move the 8-year-old restaurant from its corner in the Central West End to the home of Cardwell’s in Clayton, which closed Oct. 1.

Herbie’s dropped the Vintage ’72 from its name when it moved into 8100 Maryland Ave., and opened doors to its new space in early November. Chef Chris Vomund recently took Sauce on a tour of the new 183-seat space.

 

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Customers stepping into the bar area will immediately recognize light fixtures, chairs and booths from the CWE space in a new home. Vomund said it was important to bring key elements of the former location’s character into the new restaurant. Large prints of 1920s liquor posters scattered throughout the dining area harken back to Herbie’s previous location.

 

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While many new restaurants trend toward light wood, Edison bulbs and communal tables, Herbie’s new dining room offers white tablecloths and privacy. Clusters of banquettes sectioned off by dark wood partitions and frosted glass create a sense of intimacy in the large space.

 

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A handful of additional rooms offer private dining for small six-person gatherings to larger soirees. Cardwell’s former wine room has been transformed into a 10-seat dining space equipped with a large television for presentations. And when warmer weather arrives, Herbie’s will add nearly 100 seats on its large patio that wraps around the corner from Maryland Avenue to Brentwood Boulevard.

 

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{ Herbie’s chef Chris Vomund }

 

Diners aren’t the only ones adjusting to the new space. Vomund is navigating a significantly smaller kitchen. He compared the move to downsizing from a house to a condo. However, he said this means his crew is more organized and operates more seamlessly than before, only one step away from each other.

While the dinner menu remains familiar, Vomund has added weekday lunch to serve the Clayton business crowd. The menu features soups, salads and sandwiches including a bison burger, a roasted beet Rueben and a BLTM (mozzarella, that is.) Seven heftier entrees are available for hungrier diners, such as bouillabaisse, steak frites and vegetable lasagna. Lunch is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Photos by Michelle Volansky

 Related Content
The Scoop: Herbie’s Vintage ’72 to move to Clayton, Cardwell’s in Clayton to close

Cooking the Classics: Chicken and Dumplings

The Scoop: Herbie’s owner to open chess-themed Kingside Diner in Central West End

Extra Sauce: Top 10 Scoops of 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

From big chef changes at Niche Food Group to new taco restaurants in Kirkwood and steakhouses in Sunset Hills, here’s the dining news you were most excited about this year.

Don’t miss out! Follow Sauce Magazine on Facebook and Twitter to get The Scoop on the latest St. Louis-area restaurant news.

 

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1. The Scoop: Kirkwood to see new taco restaurant

2. The Scoop: Owners of Sugarfire Smoke House to open burger joint this fall

3. The Scoop: Catrinas opens in Edwardsville

 

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4. The Scoop: Jimmy’s on the Park closes after more than two decades

5. The Scoop: Joey B’s fourth location to open in April

6. The Scoop: Twisted Tree to open in Sunset Hills

 

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7. The Scoop: Nate Hereford to exit Niche, Brasserie’s Nick Blue to take the helm

8. The Scoop: Old Standard Fried Chicken to close

9. The Scoop: Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade to open in St. Charles

 

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10. The Scoop: Firecracker Pizza and Beer to open in The Grove

 

Related Content
10 Best New Restaurants of 2016

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2016

Extra Sauce: Top 10 Sneak Peeks of 2016

Extra Sauce: Top 10 Sneak Peeks of 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

From new arcade bars downtown to long-awaited breweries in Maplewood, here are the 10 places you couldn’t wait to check out before they opened in 2016.

Don’t miss out! Follow Sauce Magazine on Facebook and Twitter to get Sneak Peeks and First Looks of the latest St. Louis-area restaurant, bar and shop openings.

 

 

1. First Look: Start Bar downtown

2. Sneak Peek: Farm to You Market in Washington

 

 

3. Sneak Peek: Sardella in Clayton

4. Sneak Peek: The Sliced Pint in downtown St. Louis

5. Sneak Peek: Wicked Greenz in Clayton

 

 

6. Sneak Peek: Side Project Brewing in Maplewood

7. Sneak Peek: Yolklore in Crestwood

8. First Look: Catrinas in Edwardsville

 

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9. First Look: Nathaniel Reid Bakery in Kirkwood

10. Sneak Peek: Nixta in Botanical Heights

Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Related Content

10 Best New Restaurants of 2016

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2016

Extra Sauce: Top 10 Scoops of 2016

 

 

The Scoop: J McArthur’s to close, new concept from Robust owners to open

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

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Changes are underway at 3500 Watson Road in Lindenwood Park. J McArthur’s An American Kitchen will close doors for good Dec. 31 after a year-and-a-half in business, according to co-owner Kathleen Bibbins.

The announcement comes four months after the original head chef Ben McArthur left the restaurant, and chef Will Volny took his place. McArthur’s father, John McArthur, owns the restaurant with Bibbins, his stepmother.

“We, and John in particular, worked with Ben to develop the restaurant. It was something he wanted to do for Ben, then it became a family venture,” Bibbins said. “When Ben left, it didn’t have the same family feel, the same family venture, that we hoped to have.”

Bibbins said Volny had done a wonderful job during his tenure as executive chef, but that she and her husband thought a new concept would better suit the space. “We so enjoyed putting out good food and good wine to people,” Bibbins said. “It was a really wonderful experience, but when things changed and we started shifting things about, it just didn’t make that much sense anymore.”

McArthur and Bibbins reached out to longtime friends and business partners Stanley and Arlene Browne, who own both locations of Robust Wine Bar. The couples will partner to open a new concept in late February or early spring.

Arlene Browne said they are currently consulting with Robust executive chef Joseph Hemp V to finalize the concept – but don’t look for a third location of their popular wine bar. “It’s not another Robust, but it certainly fits within our wheelhouse,” Browne said.

McArthur and Bibbins own the building and will have a stake in the new concept, but the Brownes will handle day-to-day operations. Browne said the project is bittersweet; she hates seeing J McArthur’s shutter, but she looks forward to launching a new restaurant. “I think it’s really important to always be evolving and always growing,” she said.

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

Related Content
• The Scoop: Ben McArthur leaves J. McArthur’s kitchen, Will Volny steps in

• New & Notable: J McArthur’s An American Kitchen

Best New Restaurants 2015: No. 6 – J McArthur’s An American Kitchen 

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2015

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Here’s a look at what went down in the St. Louis restaurant scene last week, ICYMI…

 

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1. Summer Wright has been named executive pastry chef at upcoming restaurant Vicia, set to open in late January 2017. Wright currently holds that position at Reeds American Table, where she will be replaced by pastry assistant Ashley Rouch.

 

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2. Two new specialty food businesses, Komblu Kombucha and Olivino, aim to bring edible artisan products to St. Louis.

 

 

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3. The fiesta is headed across the river as the Tilford Restaurant Group prepares to open its fourth area Mission Taco Joint at The Streets of St. Charles. he arrival of this latest project heralds the end of their first. After 12 years, the brothers are closing Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen in the Central West End.

 

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4. From massive Thursday burgers to Two Dog Tuesdays, Budget Crunch has 6 delicious deals to try now.

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The Scoop: Cafe Natasha co-owner Behshid Bahrami passes away at 74

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

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{ from left, Behshid, Natasha and Hamishe Bahrami } 

 

South Grand staple Cafe Natasha won’t be the same next year. Co-owner Behshid Bahrami died Tuesday, Dec. 13, at age 74, according to his daughter Natasha Bahrami, who said he passed quickly from natural causes.

Behshid and Hamishe Bahrami opened The Little Kitchen, the restaurant that would become Cafe Natasha, in 1983. The pair had no experience in the restaurant industry, Natasha said, but her father’s passion for flavor touched every menu item.

“He would spend years perfecting a marinade. He took two years to perfect a falafel,” Natasha said. “[He’d say] ‘You have to taste it!’ He would get so mad. ‘You have to taste it!’ He had no tolerance for mediocrity in food. Flavor was everything to him.”

The Bahramis moved their restaurant to The Delmar Loop in 1993 and renamed it Cafe Natasha, specializing in Persian cuisine. When Natasha joined the business in 2001, the family opened its third and current location, 3200 S. Grand Blvd. They celebrated 30 years in the restaurant industry in 2013.

Natasha said that in recent years, much of the public attention has focused on her and her mother, but that it was her father who developed Cafe Natasha’s dishes, including the marinade for its signature beef shish kebab. “He had taste buds that can remember flavor profiles he tasted 20 to 30 years ago,” she said “He tried to dissect how to make a dish so much better.”

The family has closed the restaurant for a few weeks to mourn Behshid’s death and will reopen in the new year. The public can pay its respects at Cafe Natasha this Saturday, Dec. 17 from 3 to 7 p.m., where family and friends will gather to share memories of Behshid.

 

 

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