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Jan 21, 2018
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Eat This: Parisian Gnocchi at Urban Chestnut Brewery and Bierhall

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016



Be warned: the alluring, savory scent of Parisian gnocchi at Urban Chestnut’s Brewery and Bierhall may attract moochers. These delicate, pan-fried pillows melt in your mouth with Dijon mustard, fresh herbs and rich Comté Gruyere. Ours came swimming in a velvety dashi-butter broth with Missouri chanterelle and oyster mushrooms, crowder peas and bright cherry tomatoes. The beer may take us to Dusseldorf, but a bite of this golden gnocchi whisked us away to Paris.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: Lemon Gem Kitchen Goods to open in The Grove

Friday, August 19th, 2016



If you need a tart pan, Lemon Gem Kitchen Goods will surely have them stocked when it opens in The Grove at 4180 Manchester Ave., this fall. Why? Owner Beth Styles’ missing tart pan sparked the idea for her kitchen supply store. With no nearby local shop near her house, she spent nearly an hour driving to and from an independent kitchen goods store.

“I started thinking, ‘Why don’t we a have a cool, really well stocked local resource in the city that has something for situations like these?” said Styles.

Her visits to kitchen supply stores around the country fed the idea, which she eventually shared with a few fellow St. Louis small business owners, including Rise Coffee owner Jessie Mueller. Mueller proposed Styles use Rise’s current location once Rise moves into a neighboring space.

“In a lot of other cities I’ve gone to, you see complementary businesses,” said Styles. “I just closed my eyes and I could see it in there. It just felt like the right fit.”

Styles, who also owns vintage clothing store Parsimonia, hopes to open Lemon Gem in November, pending when Rise moves next door. The lower level of the 1,300-square-foot space will be dedicated to retail. Lemon Gem (which is the name of an edible marigold variety) will carry basic cooking supplies from suppliers like OXO, Cuisinart, Microplane and Victorinox, artisan goods from local and regional craftspeople and items more geared toward gifts and decor. “We’re hoping to bring in some stuff that hasn’t been sold (in St. Louis) before and celebrate the maker,” Styles said.

Styles said she will alter little of the current interior decor or program. She plans to preserve the children’s area upstairs and add a community cookbook library with reading chairs. In the evening, the second floor will be available to hold events and workshops. “I want (Lemon Gem) to be a good local resource for the South City area in general, a good resource … for people for all cooking levels,” she said.


The Scoop: Strange Donuts to open Tulsa location

Thursday, August 18th, 2016



Strange Donuts will be no stranger in Tulsa, Oklahoma next spring when it sets up shop at the north corner of East Archer Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

“We’re ready for the company to expand, and I’ve been looking at Tulsa for a long time,” said owner Jason Bockman. “It has ambitious, cool people that want their city to be great, and I am excited to be a part of it.”

Bockman contacted the George Kaiser Foundation (which is renovating the Tulsa’s Brady Arts District) and fell in love with its work, which includes collaboration with Teach for America and the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. Bockman secured a 1,200-square-foot space in a 1920s warehouse currently being renovated into apartments and studios for the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

The Tulsa location is the fourth for Strange; they also have shops in Maplewood, Kirkwood and Columbia, Missouri. It will be twice the size of Strange Donuts’  flagship Maplewood space. “St. Louis is really accustomed to grabbing your doughnuts and going home. It’s not like that in a lot of places,” Bockman said. “Tulsa is a lively city where people want to go out and be out.”

An expanded beverage program and a far-out interior will also invite patrons to linger. Bockman plans to serve an expanded beverage menu including coffee options, and has enlisted local firm Lilly Architects to make the interior “look like you’re in space.”

The Tulsa location is slated to open in March 2017. In the meantime, Bockman and his Strange squad are hosting pop-ups “to say this is who we are and to meet new friends,” which they will continue until opening day.

“I’m genuinely interested in being part of a community, not just selling people stuff,” said Bockman.


The Scoop: Chris’ Pancakes to open downtown location, Chris’ @ The Docket

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016


This fall, Chris’ Pancakes & Dining will take its breakfast game downtown to a new location, Chris’ @ The Docket, at 100 N. Tucker Blvd. As reported by the Riverfront Times, Chris’ will move into the space formerly occupied by The Docket.

“We feel the breakfast market is underserved in the downtown area. We’ve been looking for places for while down there,” said co-owner Chris Saracino. “I think we can serve the area well.”

Rathern than duplicate Chris’ Pancakes, Saracino said they will tailor Chris’ @ The Docket’s menu and hours to the space and local clientele. Since the space included a wood-fire pizza oven, Saracino plans to serve pizzas, including a few breakfast pizza options he is currently testing. To better serve patrons including Saint Louis University law students, court workers and city workers, the downtown location will focus on breakfast and lunch items and feature a grab-and-go section where patrons can quickly pick up sandwiches, salads, pizza slices and breakfast items.

The 105-seat restaurant will be open for full breakfast and lunch service from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the grab-and-go area will remain open until 6 p.m. After those hours, Saracino will make the 4,200-square-foot space available for private events. Chris’ @ The Docket is slated to open by late September or early October.


The Scoop: Yori opens in Chesterfield

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016



Don’t let the Kampai Sushi Bar sign fool you. Yori, a new Korean restaurant, has opened at 1637 Clarkson Road in Chesterfield.

As reported by Feast, co-owners Sae Kim and Jay Moon were looking for a place to expand from their flagship location in West Lafayette, Indiana, and discovered one of Kim’s St. Louis friends, the owner of Kampai Sushi Bar, wanted to leave the 2,200-square-foot space in West County. Kim and Moon said they welcomed the opportunity to expand the neighborhood’s palate. “We’re trying to introduce our authentic Korean food to people who aren’t so familiar with it,” said Moon.

A few signature dishes include the galbi, short ribs marinated with Korean barbecue sauce, and soon tofu soup. “The tofu has a very silky smooth texture, and we make the broth with seafood and beef stock so it has a very deep flavor,” said Moon.

Kim and Moon quietly opened the 85-seat space three weeks ago, and it will hold a grand opening next week partly to celebrate one important change. “Our sign still shows Kampai Sushi Bar. We are just waiting to get a new sign,” said Moon, laughing.

Yori is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday from 3 to 9:30 p.m.

The Scoop: Spare No Rib to move to larger space, expand Egg

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016



Get ready to brunch (and barbecue) hard, St. Louis. Spare No Rib is set to move to a new location in South City in mid-August, while its brunch concept Egg takes over the original Spare No Rib space at 2200 Gravois Ave., in Benton Park.

Since owner Lassaad Jeliti hatched the idea for a Sunday brunch pop-up at Spare No Rib in fall 2014, he said intended to expand the two concepts. “We could have done breakfast under Spare No Rib, but I gave (Egg) a different name to have an opportunity to split them apart,” Jeliti said.

The new location for Spare No Rib had to be near its current customer base in Benton Park, Tower Grove, Lafayette Square and Soulard. Jeliti found his opportunity in a freestanding building at 3701 S. Jefferson Ave., previously occupied by Lucky Buddha.

The Jefferson Avenue location will raise Spare No Rib’s capacity to about 60 seats and add outdoor seating from two patio spaces. The menu won’t change initially, but Jeliti is open to extending the hours and adjusting the menu at some point. “I’m going to let the space tell me what to do with it,” he said.

Egg and Spare No Rib are expected to open as separate restaurants next month. Spare No Rib will maintain its regular hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the new location.

Egg will serve its usual brunch menu on weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will shift to quick breakfasts and lunch items Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Scoop: The Wandering Sidecar Bar offers mobile beverage service

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016



A chic, new way to host an open bar at your next event has hit the pavement. The Wandering Sidecar Bar, brainchild of co-owners Tiffany and Dave Unger, is a souped-up camper customers can rent for beverage service at private event. Tiffany Unger said she discovered the concept last November in a magazine and wasted no time in replicating it. The couple bought a 1960 Avalon camper, renovated it and hosted their first event June 10.

The operation is simple. With 18 years of bartending experience behind her, Unger helps clients build a beverage menu for their event and gives them a shopping list of alcohol and mixers for that menu. At the event, she bartends and while Dave Unger barbacks. They provide the drinking vessels, ice and drink garnishes and additional services as needed.

“It’s a unique, one-of-a-kind service,” said Unger. “We take over and take care of everything. The venue we provide is an added perk, something that draws attention.”

Unger thought their concept would attract primarily weddings, but requests to work events from birthdays to block parties have pleasantly surprised her. She would also like to see their camper used in unintended ways like a retail cart or to serve as a water and lemonade stand for large events.

“Being involved in the community is very important for us,” said Unger. “We don’t want to be pigeonholed as a wedding vendor. We want to be out in the community doing things like food truck events, getting out there and being seen.”

Unger said a renovated 1967 horse trailer will soon join the mobile fleet. “We’re a new company ready to explore options,” she said. “We feel like we have a really cool product and give really good service. I don’t think we have limitations to what we can do.”


The Scoop: The Sweet Tooth opens a brick-and-mortar in Belleville

Friday, June 24th, 2016



If you’re hankering for a dose of sweets, The Sweet Tooth opened its first brick-and-mortar location on Saturday, June 18 at 4004 W. Main St. in Belleville.

The Sweet Tooth began as a candy van, then a food truck doling out chocolate-covered strawberries and funnel cakes. Owner Jeff Green was ready to expand. “In a food truck you only have so much room,” he said. “I wasn’t allowed to have candy apples. It’s hard to keep temperatures on all that stuff.”

The 2,000-square-foot restaurant will seat around 35 for sweets, lunch and dinner. The menu features tacos, loaded fries and nachos like the signature Hell Yeah Nacho, with up to eight different kinds of meat, a chipotle-based spice blend, sauteed onions and toppings over tortilla chips. Green also hopes to offer a Jersey burger – two glazed donuts sandwiching a beef patty – and ice cream.

In the next four weeks, the Belleville location will sport a 6-foot stage and outdoor seating for 125 for live music on the weekends.

The grand opening of The Sweet Tooth will be on Halloween. In the meantime, you can stop in Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

The Scoop: Queen’s Cuisine to open tea room in Edwardsville

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016



Anyone for a spot of tea? This Friday, June 17, Queen’s Cuisine opens its first brick-and-mortar location, Queen’s Cuisine Tea Room, at 120 S. Main St., on the corner of East Park and South Main streets in Edwardsville.

Owner Jane Muscroft launched Queen’s Cuisine in 2007, serving afternoon tea in people’s homes. Since then, Muscroft has expanded into Edwardsville’s Land of Goshen Community Market and Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, using commissary kitchens to create a variety of British-inspired baked goods including sausage rolls, quiches and 10 different scones.

“It’s been my ambition to find my own tearoom,” said Muscroft. “I’m looking forward to having a spot where our regular customers can come and where we can expand what we offer.”

Queen’s Cuisine slowly outgrew the commissary kitchen, so Muscroft found the Edwardsville facility, a house-turned-commercial space, with a 400-square-foot tearoom that will seat 30. Diners can look forward to Queen’s Cuisine’s farmers market offerings, as well as a lunchtime menu of soups, Cornish pasties and coronation chicken.

Equipped with a permanent location, Muscroft plans to collect Queen Cuisine’s disparate activities under one roof. She has already moved monthly afternoon teas previously served at Fleur De Lys Mansion to the tearoom, and plans to evaluate her presence at farmers markets after the 2016 season in order to extend the tearoom’s hours to Wednesday and Thursday. Muscroft also hopes to begin offering cooking classes.

Queen’s Cuisine Tea Room will be open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with afternoon tea reservations available after 1 p.m.

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