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Oct 19, 2017
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Recipe: Grilled Pizza

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

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There are three commandments you must follow to achieve flame-kissed, grilled pizza nirvana that no conventional oven-baked pie will ever reach.

No. 1: Control thy heat. Charcoal imparts the best flavor, but it can be a pain to manage until you get the hang of it. Patience is the secret ingredient to this exercise. Don’t be discouraged by a burnt crust or two at the beginning; this is an art, not a science. Hitting that perfect level of crispy char is unlikely to happen on the first try. Watch your dough like a hawk, peaking at the underside and readjusting its position to avoid flare-ups. And keep a spare crust at hand to replace any blackened beyond salvation.

No. 2: Preparation is key. All toppings for a grilled pizza should be prepped and ready near the grill. Once the crust is charred on one side, you need to move quickly to pile on all the ingredients. Go with cooked meats and chopped vegetables, a raw sauce I’ve included in this recipe and shredded mozzarella (thick slices won’t work). The toppings only have a few precious minutes to melt and fuse together into gooey deliciousness during the finishing stage.

No. 3: Keep it simple. You don’t have to make dough from scratch, but don’t buy a precooked crust either. Raw pizza dough is must to get a satisfying puffy and blistered crisp crust. A 16-ounce dough ball at Trader Joe’s will set you back about $1.50. “Less is more” should also be your credo while fashioning these crispy crusts on the super-hot grill. Apply sauces with a light hand. Toppings should be sufficient to cover the crust, but not overwhelm and create a soggy mess.

 

 
Grilled Pizza
2 pizzas

1 28-oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, drained
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 1-lb. balls pizza dough
½ cup olive oil
12 oz. shredded mozzarella
Desired toppings (pepperoni, ham, cooked Italian sausage, olives, chopped bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, artichoke hearts, etc.)
Handful chopped basil, for garnish

• In a mixing bowl, thoroughly crush the tomatoes with your hands, then mix in the garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Set aside.
• Roll out each piece of dough to the desired shape and thickness. Let rest at room temperature 30 minutes.
• Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium-high heat. Preheat 10 minutes.
• Brush each crust with 2 tablespoons olive oil and place each oil side-down on a sheet of foil. Working 1 pizza a time, place the foil over direct heat and grill 1 to 2 minutes, until the dough starts to bubble and set, checking the bottom occasionally to prevent burning. While it grills, brush the top of the crust with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
• Flip the crust onto the grate over direct heat and remove the aluminum foil. Quickly top the pizza with 9 ounces pizza sauce, 6 ounces cheese and desired toppings.
• Slide the pizza to indirect heat, cover and grill 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Repeat with the remaining pizza crust.
• Remove from the grill, garnish with basil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

 

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

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Twisted Ranch will move to larger space in Soulard

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

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After just a little more than two years in business, Twisted Ranch will soon move to a new, larger location just a block away. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, the ranch dressing-themed eatery, located at 1730 S. Eighth St., will relocate to 1731 S. Seventh St., the former home of Soulard Restaurant & Bar, which closed earlier this year after a fire.

Twisted Ranch co-owner Jim Hayden said he hopes to make the move sometime in January. He said the new space, including the outdoor dining area, is almost three times larger than Twisted Ranch’s current location, and though the layout isn’t complete, he estimated there would be approximately 120 seats.

Twisted Ranch was the subject of a BuzzFeed video this summer that Hayden said caused an “exponential” increase in business. “We struggle with wait times right now, so it’ll be nice to let people in a little quicker,” he said.

The move not only means more space for seats, but a significantly larger kitchen as well.

“The current kitchen is so tiny. With a larger, properly functioning kitchen, with space for storage and prepping, we will be expanding the menu,” Hayden said. “We may not do that day one, we might transition with the current menu and work out the kinks and then get some more options available.”

He said he doesn’t foresee the transition interrupting service significantly.

“We are going to attempt to stay open as much as possible (during the move),” he said. “There’s a chance we’ll have to be closed for a day or two, but it should be a pretty easy move.”

Photo by Elizabeth Maxson

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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Review: Twisted Ranch

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Four STL breweries medal at Great American Beer Festival

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

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 { from left, Side Project bartender Megan Knaus, co-owner and brewer Cory King and brewer Tommy Manning; Perennial Artisan Ales co-owner Phil Wymore and brewer Chris Kinast } 

 

The St. Louis craft beer scene continues to be recognized at the national level. Four area breweries earned medals at this year’s Great American Beer Festival last weekend, Oct. 5 to Oct. 7, in Denver. GABF is one of the craft brewing industry’s largest annual events.

Perennial Artisan Ales took home two medals: a silver in the wood- and barrel-aged strong stout category for Maman 2017, and Perennial also took a bronze in the Belgian- and French-style ale category for Working Title. It’s a familiar feeling for the South City brewery; Perennial has picked up five other GABF honors, including a gold for its Savant Blanc in 2015.

“There were over 2,000 breweries that entered beers in the competition,” said Perennial co-owner Phil Wymore. “It’s a great honor, and St. Louis was really well represented.”

 

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{ Schalfly brand specialist Wil Rogers }

 

Charleville Brewing Co. garnered its second GABF win: a bronze medal for its Barrel-Aged Barleywine in the wood- and barrel-aged strong beer category. Charleville director of operations Tait Russell did not return requests for comment. Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale won a silver medal in the pumpkin/squash beer or pumpkin spice beer category. This is the first GABF win the brewery.

“I think it’s a big deal for anyone who wins a medal there,” said Schlafly founding brewer Stephen Hale. “I would say collectively we’re feeling very good about it. “

Side Project Brewing’s Blended 2017 was awarded a silver medal in the Belgian-style lambic or sour ale category. It was also the first GABF honor for Side Project.

“The GABF is the largest U.S. competition,” said Side Project co-owner Cory King. “To be recognized for pretty much our bread and butter was really cool. We knew there’s be some serious competition in that category, and for ours to take second was pretty awesome.”

Photos courtesy of Perennial Artisan Ales and Schlafly 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Civil Life will expand brewery, tasting room in 2018

Monday, October 9th, 2017

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Civil Life Brewing Co. is poised to expand its operations. As reported by NextStl, owner Jake Hafner has announced plans to build an additional facility next door.

As The Scoop reported in October 2016, Hafner purchased the former auto body shop last year with the intent to tear it down, though he wasn’t sure what he’d do with the land at the time.

A year later, Hafner’s plans have evolved. He said the entire project will include two new bars, a canning facility and a small retail space, along with improvements to the existing Civil Life location. The surrounding property will also include new sidewalks, curbs and streetlights. The current Civil Life location will remain open during construction.

Hafner said demolition of the structure should take place in April or May 2018, and he’s still determining how much of the expansion project to tackle at once. If he decides to start with the canning facility, Hafner said it could be completed as early as fall 2018. The entire expansion will take at least nine months.

“We know we’re doing something, we’re just not sure if we can afford to do the whole project at one time,” he said. “Whether or not we do the whole project or we phase it in – that’s the decision to be made.”

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Chef Tello Carreón will leave Nixta after Oct. 21

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

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{ from left, Tello Carreón and Ben Poremba } 

 

Big news from Botanical Heights – executive chef Tello Carreón will leave his position as executive chef of award-winning Mexican restaurant Nixta. His last day of service will be Saturday, Oct. 21. The initial announcement came today, Oct. 4, via a post on Carreón’s Instagram account.

Nixta owner Ben Poremba confirmed the departure in a statement and thanked Carreón for his work.

“As Nixta approaches its first anniversary, chef-owner Ben Poremba, along with his team at Bengelina Hospitality Group, will continue to passionately showcase Mexican fare as among the most exciting cuisines in the world,” the statement read. “Poremba is proud of the success Nixta has attained – both in St. Louis and nationally – during Carreón’s tenure. He thanks him for his immense contribution, and wishes him continued success in his future endeavors.”

Carreón said he’s not sure what his next move will be. “I just want to finish strong in these last few weeks, the way I started,” he said. “I contributed as much as I could to Nixta, and I gained as much as I could from the experience. I think it’s time for me to move on. It’s been a wonderful journey.”

Poremba said via text message that he did not know who will replace Carreón yet. He will helm the kitchen in the interim. He declined further comment.

Nixta opened in November 2016 and was named one of Sauce’s Best New Restaurants that same year. It has garnered local and national accolades since opening, most notably as one of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants in America.

 

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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Five Star Burgers closes Kirkwood location

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

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The 5 Star Burgers location in Kirkwood at 312 S. Kirkwood Road has closed. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the restaurant served its last burger on Thursday, Sept. 28. The 5 Star locations in Clayton and Creve Coeur remain open.

According to owner Stephen Gontram, upcoming scheduled roadwork on Kirkwood Road and a new double drive-thru at a nearby Starbucks location helped him make the decision to close.

“(Starbucks) does a lot of business, and they create a lot of traffic. I was really concerned that the combination of construction project plus the long-term congestion on Kirkwood Road was really going to hurt business,” he said. “We had a good four years and did good business, but sometimes you see the writing on the wall. It’s kind of a side step for us. I wasn’t happy to have to do it, but I felt like I had to do it.”

Gontram said he’s sold the building and is in the process of putting the equipment in storage. Though he’s not actively seeking out a new 5 Star location, Gontram said ultimately, he’d like to do a project in St. Louis city.

“I’m a city kid at heart, and I’d love to be able to put something in the city,” he said.  “And I don’t even know if it’d be a 5 Star Burgers. It might be something else.”

 

Editor’s Note: This article originally stated in the incorrect location of Starbucks. It was updated at 4:15 p.m. Oct. 4 to correct this information. 

Matt Sorrell is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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5 Star Burgers to open third Missouri location in Creve Coeur

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Chef Rob Connoley will open Squatters Café in Grand Center

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

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Chef Rob Connoley will open Squatters Café in the KDHX building at 3524 Washington Ave., in Grand Center on Nov. 1. The restaurant will take the place of KDHX’s Magnolia Café.

“The kitchen already exists. It’s already inspected, so that’s why we’re able to open so quickly,” he said.

Connoley, a St. Louis native and James Beard semifinalist for 2014 Best Chef: Southwest, said the breakfast and lunch cafe will feature house-made and locally sourced ingredients. The menu is still a work in progress, but he plans to announce dishes soon.

“If we had opened this in June, and I would have had more access to local produce, I could give you a menu toady,” he said. “I have a strong draft. I’m just working out some kinks.”

The restaurant will offer a grab-and-go and carryout options and will seat 20 to 24. Connoley said he will also have access to the attached performance space for additional seating.

Connoley returned to his hometown last year with plans to open Bulrush, a fine-dining concept highlighting local and foraged ingredients. He said Squatters Café is not replacing Bulrush, but will augment it.

“All along, the master plan was to have a nighttime and a daytime concept that were separate, because I think they both require certain attention that I didn’t think could be done in the same space,” he said. “With the delays (with Bulrush), it just made sense to switch it instead of waiting and waiting.”

Connoley said that despite the delays, he’s has his eyes on a location for Bulrush and hopes to announce the address by the end of the year.

“It’s the perfect space, so it’s worth waiting for,” Connoley said. “Bulrush is a one in a lifetime gig. I’m not a chef who jumps around and opens up a place every two or three years. It’s going to be my baby, and if it’s going to be my baby, it’s got to be perfect.”

 

Editor’s Note: This article originally said Bulrush would be open by the end of the year. It was updated at 1:25 p.m. on Oct. 3 to correct the error. 

Photo courtesy of Rob Connoley

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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1956 Utah will bring vegetarian, vegan pub fare to Benton Park

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1956 Utah will bring vegetarian, vegan pub fare to Benton Park

Friday, September 29th, 2017

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More vegetarian and vegan options will be available in Benton Park this fall. As reported by NextSTL, a new veggie-centric restaurant, dubbed 1956 Utah after the address of the building, is set to open in the South City neighborhood in November.

“I’ve been vegetarian, almost vegan, for 25 years,” said executive chef Christopher Bertke. “It’s definitely better now, but St. Louis hasn’t always had a lot of vegetarian options.”

Bertke, who owns No Class Catering and has worked at area restaurants like Harvest in Richmond Heights, has put together an 80-to-90-percent vegetarian and vegan menu. A few meat-based dishes will also be available, and he hopes to make all dishes GMO-free.

Bertke said 1956 Utah will serve traditionally meat-heavy elevated pub or diner food. The centerpiece of the menu is a plant-based meat substitute he’s developed and refers to as his “science project.”

In addition to vegetarian versions of dishes like fried chicken and meatloaf, the menu will include non-meat variations of such fast food favorites as Big Mac and White Castle sliders. “I hate fast food for what it is, but I love fast food for the way it tastes,” he said.

The kitchen will also have a brick oven for pizzas, and the restaurant will have a full bar as well.

The building, originally constructed in 1937, was a service station in its former life, but has been unoccupied in recent years. Bertke said there would be just less than 40 seats inside, and an extensive outdoor seating area with another 50 to 60 seats, along with an organic garden.

Photo courtesy of Chris Bertke

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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CWE, Delmar Loop restaurants rally after damage to storefronts

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

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In the wake of the not-guilty verdict against former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley on Friday, Sept. 15, in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, demonstrators have protested the outcome around the city, including the Central West End and the Delmar Loop. The demonstrations were largely peaceful, but some vandalism of area businesses, including several restaurants, occurred after the protests ended.

Evangeline’s Bistro & Music House manager Maggie Gomez said two windows were damaged at the CWE restaurant on Friday night, but no one was injured as a result. “It was better than it could have been,” Gomez said. “When they (hit) the glass, the band was on stage playing. Glass got in the piano, and the musicians had to get off stage.”

Gomez said the windows are made from shatterproof glass and remained largely intact with just some holes, and the restaurant stayed open for the remainder of the night and opened for business as usual on Saturday. She said Friday’s verdict affected business in the area over the weekend, even before the protests.

“We had a slow weekend. We were dead because of everything,” Gomez said. “We’re doing our normal hours, but I don’t think it’s going to be the same down here for a couple of weeks.”

 

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Vandalism occurred on the Delmar Loop, as well. Several establishments along Delmar Boulevard, including Salt & Smoke, Three Kings Public House and Ranoush, had windows broken on Saturday night after the protests there ended. Salt & Smoke owner Tom Schmidt said the damage occurred at approximately 11 p.m., after the restaurant closed for the night.

“No broken bones, just broken glass,” he said. “We lost about five or six windows. It could have been worse.”

The community spent the next few days decorating the boarded up businesses. Photos on the Delmar Loop’s Facebook page show volunteers painting murals depicting positive messages. Salt & Smoke also posted photos of the community cleaning up broken glass around its storefront in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Schimidt said he was able to reopen Sunday morning, and business didn’t suffer. “Sundays are always pretty crazy here, and we were full pretty much all day,” he said.

Photos courtesy of Delmar Loop Facebook 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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First Look: Hugo’s Pizzeria in Midtown

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

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Restaurateur Dave Bailey’s latest venture, Hugo’s Pizzeria, opened doors today, Sept. 20, at 3135 Olive St., in Midtown, formerly home to The Good Pie.

As The Scoop reported in March, Hugo’s marks Bailey’s seventh restaurant concept in the St. Louis area. He named the pizzeria for his son.

The menu at Hugo’s is based around a variety of hand-tossed pizzas. Bailey said they are akin to Roman-style pies with a yeasty pillow-like dough. The pizza selection includes classics like pepperoni and sausage and a white pizza with bechamel, prosciutto and lemon zest topped with charred grapes. For an additional charge, diners can add house-made pepperoni in five varieties: beef, spicy beef, duck, Buffalo chicken or a vegan variant. Vegan cheese and gluten-free dough can be subbed in, too.

The menu also includes salads and shareable plates like meatballs or fresh mozzarella with garlic oil, black honey, toast and more of those charred grapes. On the beverage front, Hugo’s offers a small selection of cocktails, a wine list heavy on Italian varietals, plus approximately 25 beers on tap.

Hugo’s seats approximately 100 inside and also boasts a partially covered patio space. The interior’s centerpiece is an open kitchen, fronted by the bar, for pizza aficionados who want to see the action up close. Rough-hewn wooden tables with fresh flowers and colorful metal chairs soften exposed brick and concrete floors in the dining areas.

Hugo’s is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Here’s a first look at Bailey’s latest new project.

 

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Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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