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Feb 24, 2018
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Old Herald Brewing, Ardent Spirits will open in Collinsville

Friday, February 23rd, 2018



A new brewery and distillery will set up shop just across the river. Construction stars next month on Old Herald Brewing Co. at 115 E. Clay St., in Collinsville.

Co-owner Derik Reiser said the beer will be brewed under the Old Herald Brewing Co. moniker, while the spirits will be produced under the name Ardent Spirits.

“We’re going to be making some malt whiskey and rye, but those will have to age for a few years,” he said. “Right from the get-go we want to do a horseradish vodka, since Collinsville is the horseradish capital of the world, and we have some very interesting gin recipes in mind that will be very unique.” He added that rum may also be a possibility.

Beer-wise, Reiser, who has an extensive background as a homebrewer, said an IPA, a session ale and some darker styles like porters and Dunkels will likely make appearances on the menu, as well as more esoteric brews.

“We’ll probably have a couple of flagship beers, and then a lot of experimentation and rotation,” said Reiser. He said Old Herald and Ardent Spirits products will initially be available onsite. Reiser said he wasn’t sure when Old Herald will have beer and spirits flowing, though he hopes to be involved in some area beer festivals in late summer or early fall.

The taproom will have a full menu, and Reiser said he’d “like to bring on an up-and-coming chef and really do some unique things with the food.”

There will be be plenty of room for beer booze and food in the building, which Reiser and his wife, Whitney Reiser, purchased last August. The space is about 15,000 square feet, and Reiser said the building’s basement will house most of the production, though the still itself will be located upstairs in the taproom area in view of the customers.

The taproom dining area and bar will seat approximately 130, plus an additional 24 seats in an adjacent lounge space. Reiser said there will also be a private event space that will hold about 100 guests, and plans are in the works for an outdoor Biergarden, which could seat anywhere from 30 to 60.

“There’re a lot of things we need to do to in terms of getting mechanical and electrical and plumbing in place,” Reiser said. “We hope to have construction completed in early summer, and the equipment will arrive by early summer as well.” He said the taproom operation should be up and running by the end of the year.

Image courtesy of Ardent Spirits and Old Herald Brewing Co. 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Vernon’s BBQ closes for good in U. City

Monday, February 12th, 2018



Vernon’s BBQ & Catering at 6707 Vernon Ave., in University City, has closed for business. The barbecue joint, which opened in 2012, had its last day of service Tuesday, Feb. 6.

“Basically, our lease came to term, and we decided not to renew,” said co-owner Matt Stiffelman said. “We just didn’t like the terms.”

Vernon’s was known for its traditional barbecue offerings and more unconventional items like smoked tofu and a barbecue slinger, which was featured on Food Network’s “Eat, Sleep, BBQ” last year.

Stiffelman said he and co-owner Tim Zolman have no immediate plans to reopen the restaurant, but they are weighing their options. “We want to sit back and think it through,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Vernon’s 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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First Look: Brick River Cider in downtown St. Louis

Friday, February 9th, 2018



Brick River Cider Co., the first cider works in the St. Louis area, is set to open on Friday, Feb. 16, at 2000 Washington Ave. downtown.

As The Scoop reported in April, owner Russ John renovated a former firehouse downtown to launch the cidery. The facility currently produces four ciders in its six 60-barrel fermenters: Cornerstone, Firehouse Rosé, Homestead and Brewer’s Choice. Ciders are available onsite, and head cider maker Evan Hiatt said that the company will soon be self-distributing to select local retailers.

Brick River also has a full compliment of food to pair with its cider. The cuisine is a collaboration between executive chef Carlos Hernandez and consulting chef Christopher Lee. Described as “classic country cooking from England and France,” the menu features sharable plates and flatbreads, salads and soups, sandwiches and entrees like house trout and pork Normandy.

In addition to cider, the bar pours a trio of cocktails made with Brick River offerings: the Irish Winter Cider made with Cornerstone cider, Jameson Irish whisky and lemon; the Firehouse Martini with Firehouse Rosé cider, Big O ginger liqueur and Absolut vodka; and the White Cider Sangria with Cornerstone, pinot grigio, brandy and fruit.

The building dates back to 1892 and still retains many of the interior appointments from years past, including a functional overhead door on the first floor and some of the original wall tiles. The first floor seats 50 with a few flat-screens above the bar and in the dining room are available for those who want to keep track of the score. The second floor dining room, originally the firemen’s bunk area, now seats almost 120 and features a soaring ceiling and large windows overlooking Washington Avenue.

Brick River Cider Co. will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here’s a first look at St. Louis’ first cider works:


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Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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First Look: Del Pietro’s in Richmond Heights

Monday, February 5th, 2018



Del Pietro’s, the latest from restaurateur Michael Del Pietro, opened on Wed., Jan. 31, at 1059 S. Big Bend Blvd., in Richmond Heights.

The restaurant is an homage to the original Del Pietro’s House of Pasta, opened by Michael Del Pietro’s parents, Michael Sr. and Mary Rose, in 1976 in South City. The new Del Pietro’s menu has plenty of original dishes and a generous selection of favorites from the original restaurant, like Spaghetti Alla Angela, Vitello Marsala and Carciofo (stuffed artichokes), plus a wine list heavy on Italian reds and whites.

Those who remember the building when it was home to Harvest, and later Riverbend, may have a hard time recognizing it now. The original entrance and the bar were moved; the bar is now located in what once was the ivy-covered dining area at the front of the restaurant.

The former multilevel dining room is now on one floor. The only remnant of the former residents is the large fireplace in the center of the dining room, but even that has been stripped down to bare bricks for a new look. The new space seats 90, including the bar area.

The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. Here’s a First Look at what to expect from the next generation of Del Pietro’s:


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Captions and photos by Caitlin Lally 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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First Look: Small Change in Benton Park

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

small change in benton park

Small Change, the neighborhood bar from the folks behind Planter’s House, opened quietly on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 2800 Indiana Ave. in Benton Park.

Small Change, named after a Tom Waits record, combines qualities of a dive bar and a cocktail bar. There’s no food per se, just a couple vending machines to dispense bar snacks – all the better to focus on the drinking.

The cocktail menu features seven drinks named after Tom Waits songs or lyrics like Chocolate Jesus and Waltzing Mathilda, along with a couple of shot options: Little Drop of Poison, a rotating amaro shot, and PBJ Time, a combo of peanut butter fat-washed cognac and Manischewitz grape wine.

As at sister bar Planter’s House, Small Change focuses on fresh juices, house-made modifiers and select spirits. There’re also canned beers to choose from, along with a couple draft options.

Inside, Small Change is decorated with vintage bar signs and liquor-related novelties. Small Change has 49 seats, and when the weather starts cooperating on a regular basis, there’ll be an additional 40 to 50 seats outside.

Small Change hours are Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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Photos and captions by Caitlin Lally 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine and occasionally bartends at Planter’s House. 

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River’s Edge Social will open in St. Louis Hills next month

Thursday, February 1st, 2018



River’s Edge Social will soon fire up the stoves at 6997 Chippewa St., in the former Johnny Gitto’s location. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, Aurel Bardho, who co-owns the restaurant with his father, Fatmir Bardho, said he hopes to open sometime in March.

Owning his own place has long been Aurel Bardho’s aspiration. “Pretty much I’ve done everything, front of the house, back of the house, since I was 15 years old. This has long been my dream, to have my own restaurant,” he said. “We’re excited to bring this to the neighborhood.”

Bardho said the River’s Edge menu of small plates will feature American with Mediterranean influences and include items like gyros, steaks, pasta and pizza. He said the kitchen will start with a standard four-deck pizza oven, but a wood fire oven will eventually take its place.

Running the kitchen will be executive chef Phillip John Paris, an industry veteran who worked with Bardho at Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. “We’ll also stick to the seasons and use local farms as much as possible,” Paris said. “We want to start simply and see it grow.”

River’s Edge will seat 150 to 200 including the patio and will also have private banquet room. Bardho said the location was especially attractive since it straddles the St. Louis city/county line at the River Des Peres and is easily accessible.

Hours for River’s Edge will be 10 a.m. to midnight daily during the week, and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Bardho said weekend brunch service would kick off shortly after opening.

Photo courtesy of Aurel Bardho

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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First Look: The Eatery food hall in downtown St. Louis

Monday, January 29th, 2018



The Eatery, downtown’s first food hall, opened its doors today, Jan. 29, on the ground floor of One Metropolitan Square.

The location, formerly home to Kemoll’s, was vacant since 2009 when that restaurant moved to the top floor of the building. After a $2.5 million renovation of the 10,000 square-foot space, it’s now home to three individual concepts: Dino’s Deli, Arista Gourmet and Kimcheese Asian Fusion.

According to Rick Spector, senior vice president of retail brokerage with JLL, the property management company for One Met Square, talks are in progress to bring in two additional concepts.

The Eatery has approximately 100 seats with options ranging from high-top tables to benches to counter seating. Each food stall has dedicated counter seating as well, and once the weather warms up, additional covered seating will be available outside.

The Eatery will initially be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, but Spector said the hours could expand down the line depending on demand. Here’s a first look at downtown’s first food hall:


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Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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First Look: Hamburger Mary’s in downtown St. Louis

Friday, January 26th, 2018



Three years after the first incarnation in Midtown closed, Hamburger Mary’s is back with a vengeance – this time downtown. The current St. Louis location of the national chain, under new ownership, opened on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 400 Washington Ave., downtown.

With its mix of over-the-top drag performances, decor heavy on glitter and glam and menu of tasty burgers, sandwiches, beer and cocktails, the new rendition takes the Hamburger Mary’s experience to a new level.

Standard Hamburger Mary’s menu items like the classic Mary Burger are still available, but executive chef Tanya Brown, former chef-owner of The Little Dipper, and sous chef Lolo Nishibun have put together an array of original sandwiches like the Pa-Jama Party and the Kahlua pulled pork sandwich.

The nearly 10,000-square-foot space has a total of 470 seats. Roughly half the interior is dedicated to drag performances, complete with stage, runway and a 16-by-19-foot LED screen, the second largest in the city, as a backdrop. The other half has more of a neighborhood bar feel, complete with pool table and dartboards.

Hamburger Mary’s currently offers dinner service only, but will be open for lunch starting Monday, Jan. 29. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.


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Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Owner Adam Tilford discusses Milagro closing, possible new locations

Friday, January 26th, 2018


 { pollo con mole poblano at Milagro Modern Mexican }

Milagro Modern Mexican at 20 Allen Ave., in Webster Groves will close its doors after eight years. Tilford Restaurant Group owners and brothers Adam and Jason Tilford are looking for a new place for the restaurant to call home. The current location will close Saturday, March 24 after dinner service.

Adam Tilford said the restaurant’s location was the main reason for the move. “We’re in a horrible location,” Tilford said. “From day one, we had a hard time getting people to the restaurant. The fact we lasted so long is a testament to Jason’s food and our amazing staff.”

While the space no longer works, Tilford said the company, which also owns Mission Taco Joint, wants to keep Milagro in the same general area. “We’re focusing on places like Webster, Kirkwood, Rock Hill, Maplewood – places on Manchester, Big Bend, Kirkwood Road,” he said. “We want people to have easier access to us. We’d love to find a spot a bit smaller, maybe 80 to 100 seats.”

Tilford said there isn’t a timetable to find a new space. “We’re going to be selective,” he said. “We want to wait for the right place to be available. We don’t want to be in a similar situation in five years.”

When the restaurant does reopen, he said the menu will be more in tune with the original Milagro concept with more chef-inspired, shareable options. Once the relocation is complete, Tilford said he’d like to see more Milagros open. “We’d love to grow it,” he said. “I could see opening a second location in West County at some point.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Volpi will open a dine-in cafe on The Hill

Thursday, January 25th, 2018



Volpi Foods retail market at 5257 Daggett Ave. on The Hill will soon offer cafe seating to enjoy the store’s famous house-made meats onsite. The new area will debut on Friday, Feb. 9.

Store manager Kimberly Cook said the space underwent an extensive renovation last year, and the in-store dining idea developed as an offshoot of that project.

“We didn’t really plan to have the cafe area,” Cook said. “We thought it might be a coffee station at first, but then we brainstormed about what we can do and what we could do new for our customers.”

The cafe area will have six seats, and a menu consisting of five different charcuterie boards, available in different serving sizes. These include Three Kings with prosciutto, culatello, speck, Parmigiano and fig jam; the Whole Hog, featuring coppa, mortadella, pancetta, genoa salame and prosciutto with crostini and dried figs; and a build-your-own option called the Blind Pig. Wine and craft beers will also be available.

Volpi’s dine-in service will be available during regular store hours: Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Volpi Foods

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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