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Dec 15, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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The Scoop: Molly’s adds new exec chef, dining room

Monday, August 8th, 2016

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Molly’s in Soulard is growing with a new dining room and a new executive chef, Brandon Busby, who took the helm early last week.

Most recently sous chef at Copper Pig, Busby also has prior experience at The Shaved Duck, Evangeline’s, Planter’s House and Revel Kitchen. He has also built a reputation on coordinating Taco Tuesdays at Ryder’s Tavern, which he will continue while putting his stamp on Molly’s menu.

“I’m definitely working on new menu items now and making changes, like tweaking the gumbo and jambalaya recipes,” said Busby. “I’m going to bring over my five most famous tacos, and I want to step up the game on the bar food and make stuff from scratch.”

New menu items will include duck confit tacos and fried cheese curds and hand-dipped corn dogs, both featuring batter made with 4 Hands brews. Busby said guests can expect menu changes to start kicking in by next month.

Molly’s patrons can dig into these new offerings in a new 1,100-square-foot dining room. It seats 60 guests, and that capacity doubles when they step outside to a connecting 500-square-foot outdoor bar and patio area. The space opened to the public last Friday, Aug. 5

“That space originally had a structure that was considered a historic site and involved lots of negotiating with the city before we could knock it down to expand,” said owner Luke Reynolds. The space will allow Molly’s to host more private events.

 

 

The Scoop: Edibles & Essentials to open in St. Louis Hills

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

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St. Louis Hills will soon see the opening of Edibles & Essentials, a counter service cafe and market at 5815 Hampton Ave. Chef-owner Matthew Borchardt said the 1,600-square-foot space will include an artisan market and a counter-service cafe showcasing dishes from around the world.

Borchardt most recently served as a consulting chef for Taze Mediterranean Street Food, along with previous roles at Cafe Provencal, Frazer’s Restaurant & Lounge and a program director position at L’Ecole Culinaire. For his first independent venture, Borchard is opening his shop on home turf.

“My wife and I met as next-door neighbors in Clifton Heights. My parents’ house was in the Lindenwood Park area right up the street from Mom’s Deli. I love the St. Louis Hills area,” Borchardt said.

On the market side, Edibles & Essentials will offer a variety of imported and locally sourced goods including oils and vinegars, breads, cheeses, wine and spirits, spices, cured meats, cookbooks, cookware, kitchen utensils and kitchen gadgets. A small butcher counter will also feature a selection of hand-cut steaks, chops and seafood.

The cafe will feature globally inspired cuisine and fresh, seasonal ingredients. Standard menu items will include small plates like french fries, sauteed spinach or crab cakes and larger entrees such as a roasted pork sandwich and grilled meats. The menu will also feature charcuterie boards paired with jams, jellies, cheeses, pickles and breads. Both international and local bottled brews and wines by the glass or bottle will also be available for customers. Borchardt hopes to seat 20 inside and an additional 30 under a covered courtyard.

 

 

 

 

The Scoop: Mellow Mushroom to open first Missouri location in Sunset Hills

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

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Positive pizza vibes will be moving and grooving into Sunset Hills come March 2016, with Mellow Mushroom set to open its first Missouri location at 3811 S. Lindbergh Blvd., in the space formerly occupied by Growlers Pub, as reported by the St. Louis Business Journal. The Sunset Hills location is still in the early stages of development with only demolition permits submitted thus far, according to Trish Moore, Sunset Hills assistant zoning officer.

The Atlanta-based pizza chain currently has more than 100 locations. Standard menus consist of both specialty and customizable pizzas, calzones and salads along with an assortment of hoagies and appetizer-like “munchies.”

This will be the first Mellow Mushroom location in Missouri, owned by four St. Louis-area residents. “Mellow Mushroom has been slowly coming up to the north,” said spokesperson Mindi Sachs. “For the past 40 years, most locations have been in the South, but hand-tossed, stone-baked Southern pizza is becoming more recognized on a national level.”

Sachs said the franchises often form partnerships with local purveyors. “Every Mellow location focuses on using local ingredients,” she said. “From the pizza ingredients to the beer selection, people can expect to see plenty of locally sourced options on the Missouri menu.”

Editor’s Note: This article was updated Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. to remove the name of the owner, per his request. 

The Scoop: Fire temporarily closes Ferguson Brewing Co.

Friday, June 19th, 2015

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Ferguson Brewing Co. is temporarily closed after an electrical malfunction sparked a fire in the kitchen early this morning, June 19. Co-owner Mike Lonero said the building, located at 418 S. Florissant Road, was closed when the fire broke out. There were no injuries.

Lonero said he was alerted to the fire around 6:30 a.m., after a police officer reported smoke coming from the brewery. “This building has been around since 1927 with no issues, but, of course it wasn’t anything inside the walls; it was a piece of equipment,” Lonero said. The kitchen needs to be gutted and redone, and the entire structure has smoke and water damage. He said he hopes to reopen to the public by mid-August and said the brewing operations could resume before then.

“I’m dealing with the insurance company, making sure employees are taken care of … We’re currently getting a generator going to re-power the building,” Lonero said. “We’re going to bust ass and knock out the repairs in two months. We have a lot of hands on deck to help.”

He said the brewery currently has plenty of beer kegged, so fans hopefully will not notice a lag in distribution. “If people really want to support us right now, they should support the restaurants around the Ferguson area,” said Lonero, who also co-owns neighboring establishments Cork Wine Bar and Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant, which serve Ferguson beer.

 

The Scoop: Gyro Company owner to open new downtown restaurant, Yiro/Gyro

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

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Gyro fanatics will soon be able to get their fix in downtown St. Louis; Yiro/Gyro is set to open at 750 Locust St., next week, in the location formerly occupied by Hamilton Jewelers. As originally reported by the St. Louis Business Journal, the 2,300-square-foot space will include 49 seats inside and an additional 16 seats outside.

This is not the first gyro endeavor for owner Mirza Imamovic; he also manages Gyro Company, which has two locations in South City and Oakville. This new restaurant concept will differ slightly from Imamovic’s current establishments. “Instead of choosing standard entrees like at Gyro Company, people at Yiro/Gyro will be able to build their own gyro, rice bowl or salad bowl,” he said. The location will have a smaller menu, but it will offer the same flavors and tastes one would find at Gyro Company.

At Yiro/Gyro, folks will be able to customize their entrees with spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions atop grilled chicken, gyro meat or falafel. Side options will include hummus and pita bread, with baklava and tiramisu for dessert. Imamovic also plans to offer doner kebab, a popular European and Middle Eastern street food.

“I’m expecting a heavy carry-out business like we have at Gyro Company, but people will definitely have the option to dine in,” said Imamovic, who hopes to target the downtown business crowd with Yiro/Gryo’s quick meal options. “The downtown St. Louis area has really been getting vibrant, so it seems like the perfect moment to move in.”

 

The Scoop: Peculiar Penguin serves up NOLA-inspired fare, baked goods in Tower Grove South

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

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A restaurant serving up New Orleans-inspired fare with a decidedly non-NOLA name has opened shop in Tower Grove South: Peculiar Penguin opened doors April 17. The 700-square-foot space is located at 4005 Utah St., as reported by Feast Magazine.

Tower Grove residents and co-owners Michael Catalanotto and Tess Baklor took over the kitchen when the owners of next-door AM Trading Co. announced they were closing their adjacent bakery, Annie Moons. “I was a customer at Annie Moons on more than a few occasions and when I found out they were closing their kitchen, I decided right then that it wasn’t really going to close,” Catalanotto said. “I wanted to take over.”

Peculiar Penguin is his first experience running a restaurant, but he has worked in the kitchens of The Dam, South City Diner and Café Eau at The Chase Park Plaza. The menu is a nod to Catalanotto’s roots with Southern Louisiana dishes like slow-cooked red beans and rice, andouille sausage and cornmeal-breaded catfish. Plenty of a la carte options are available; look for dishes like fried green tomatoes, cornbread, pecan-crusted okra and baked macaroni and cheese. “We’re trying to keep everything below $10,” he said.

The space’s baking history gets a nod, too. A rotating selection of cakes, breads, cookies and scones changes daily. Beverage options are on the healthy side, including selections from The London Tea Room, Confluence kombucha and fresh ground Chauvin Coffee. In true New Orleans fashion, Catalanotto hopes to offer crawfish boils on the 20-seat patio. Another 24 seats are available inside Peculiar Penguin.

And just how did the restaurant get such a peculiar moniker? It’s fairly simple. Catalanotto said Baklor already owned the website peculiarpenguin.com, currently under construction. Peculiar Penguin is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

The Scoop: Balkan Treat Box food truck to offer a taste of Eastern Europe

Friday, April 24th, 2015

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Just when you thought that every cuisine imaginable was already available from St. Louis’ mobile eateries, Balkan Treat Box rolls onto the scene. A taste of Eastern Europe can be yours in a matter of weeks, since Balkan Treat Box is slated to hit the streets as early as May 17.

“We are going to be doing the best of best Balkan street food,” said owner Loryn Feliciano-Nalic. The truck will offer Eastern European street fare such as burek (savory pies), doner kebabs with various sauces and vegetable toppings, and cevapi (minced, grilled meat often served on flatbread). The latter will be plated with kajmak (a dairy-based condiment that Feliciano-Nalic described as a cross between cream cheese, feta, butter and sour cream) and ajvar (a red pepper relish). Watch also for freshly baked Bosnian flatbread known as somun, as well as a rotation of desserts like baklava and tulumbe, an Eastern European dessert similar to churros. Since many of these dishes are customarily cooked over fire, the truck will be outfitted with a wood-burning oven. “Bosnia, Croatia, Albania, Turkey, Serbia … all these countries that make up the Balkans have their own versions of dishes, yet they’re all traditionally cooked over fire,” she said.

Beverage options from will include mineral waters, juices, yogurt drinks and small bottles of soda, mimicking what Feliciano-Nalic referred to as, “quick, easy, little, dainty drinks you’d get from an Eastern European cafe.”

Though not from the Balkans herself, Feliciano-Nalic has been influenced by Eastern European culture for years (Her childhood best friend from is Croatian and her husband, Edo Nalic, is Bosnian.), which led to her interest in the cuisine and a two-month food research trip to the Balkans in 2013. Helping Feliciano-Nalic with the new venture will be her husband and her brother-in-law Emir Nalic, who moved to St. Louis from Bosnia 18 months ago.

Feliciano-Nalic said she hopes that Balkan Treat Box helps to raise awareness of what Eastern European cuisine has to offer. “We have a huge Bosnian community here, but not enough awareness of their culture,” she said. “I’m super excited to show people a fun representation of this beautiful culture that is enriching St. Louis.”

 

The Scoop: Elaine’s sandwich shop to open on Cherokee Street

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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{A turkey and avocado sandwich on wheat bread from Great Harvest Bread Co., one potential sandwich in development at Elaine’s}

 

Sandwich lovers will soon be able to get their grub at a new sandwich shop, Elaine’s, at 2311 Cherokee St., as reported by Feast Magazine. Owner Elaine Gruener said she hopes to open doors by the end of May. Located east of Jefferson Avenue, the 600-square-foot shop was formerly home to an insurance office. The 18-seat restaurant will include eight outdoor patio seats and offer dine-in and carryout options.

Gruener first gained her sandwich-making experience at a Subway, where she worked for 15 years. “I found my niche creating sandwiches, and I wanted to do my own thing. I wanted that creative freedom that comes with owning your own business,” Gruener said. “We spent months searching for a location and fell in love with the overall feel of the Cherokee community. Everyone here has been so welcoming and accepting.”

Elaine’s menu will feature seven to 12 rotating sandwiches, including a BLT, roasted pork, roast beef and veggie options, along with sandwiches created by and named after the shop’s employees. Customers will have the option of creating custom sandwiches, too, or converting any sandwich into a salad. Gruener said she will source some of her ingredients from fellow Cherokee residents like Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop and Kern Meat Co. “I’m definitely trying to use fresh bread and ingredients, and I really want to keep a focus on local products,” she said.

Beverage options will focus heavily on teas and juice and a small selection of sides like Zapp’s Chips and Whisk baked goods.

 

The Scoop: Clayton debuts pop-up sidewalk seating with parklets

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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Clayton’s first foray into pop-up sidewalk seating was recently unveiled in front of Barcelona Tapas. It’s called a parklet and the public space seating can seat up to 14 people, as reported by St. Louis Magazine. The expandable patio measures 6.6-by-18 feet, about the size of two parallel parking spots.

“This is the king of the parklet pilot program,” said George Ertle, assistant to the city manager in Clayton. “We’ll see if it’s an idea worth pursuing.”

Ertle said the parklet idea came from committee meetings for Clayton’s Strategic Planning Process, dubbed “C the Future.” Frank Schmitz, owner of Barcelona Tapas, said he had seen parklets popping up in his travels to various cities over the past three years, prompting him to bring up the idea while serving on the committee.

Designed by Tao+Lee Associates and built by Pinnacle Contracting for Clayton, the project cost about $30,000. The parklet is made of pine wood sideboards, a galvanized steel ramp for the walkway from the street to the portable street seating, and Trex composite decking for the flooring, that will stay cool when it’s hot outside.

“It’s a public space, but the city allows Barcelona Tapas to use it,” Schmitz said, noting that people can enjoy the parklet with or without ordering from the restaurant. He said the tiny addition to the alfresco seating on North Central Avenue has been well-received, with people eating, socializing and relaxing.

The lighter traffic flow on North Central Avenue and its narrow sidewalks make it a good spot to test the parklet prototype, Ertle said, adding that several nearby restaurants have expressed interest in using them as well.

“They’re aimed at being both business and resident friendly. Parklets absolutely enhance a restaurant or shop,” Schmitz said. “But it’s a learning process for everyone. It’s a big question of how these will be financed in the future.”

The Scoop: Weber Grill Restaurant set to take over former BlackFinn spot at The Galleria

Friday, April 17th, 2015

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Weber Grill Restaurant is coming to St. Louis. The Chicago-based company recently announced plans to open its fifth location in early October in 9,000-square-feet of the space formerly occupied by BlackFinn American Grille at the Saint Louis Galleria in Brentwood.

“St. Louis became our top choice based on the culinary traditions, casual dining lifestyle, affinity for patio dining and love for great barbecue and grilling,” restaurant president R. Bryan Gerrish said in a press release. “We love the central location of the Saint Louis Galleria, as well as the strong mall traffic, ease of parking and variety of shopping, dining and entertainment that it offers.”

The 200-seat restaurant will include 130 outdoor patio seats and offer dine-in and carryout options. Diners can enjoy starters, salads and pizzas and choose from an assortment of steaks, burgers, seafood and classic barbecue options, all prepared on Weber charcoal kettle grills. An extensive wine list will also be offered, including a handful of local craft beer selections.

Meghan Parra, Weber Grill Restaurant sales and marketing director, said the restaurant will also feature a grill academy, which will function as an interactive, hands-on grilling facility. “We plan on offering grilling classes for public and private events and providing interactive dining nights for guests,” Parra said. “We will be keeping the area active every day.” Weber Grill Restaurants’ other locations currently offer both hands-on and demonstration-style classes ranging from $45 to $85.

 

 

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