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Aug 29, 2015
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First look

First Look: City Park Grill in Tower Grove South

Monday, August 17th, 2015




City Park Grill celebrated its grand opening Friday, Aug. 14, at 3157 Morgan Ford Road in Tower Grove South. As The Scoop reported in February, first-time restaurant owners Rob Pennington and Blake Urbani originally planned to remodel the former Tin Can Tavern, but ended up tearing down that structure and starting from scratch in the same location.

The new 3,000-square-foot space sports a huge, maple freeform-edge bar made by Lloyd Brothers Woodworking in The Grove. With 89 seats inside, an ample patio and a full bar with 10 rotating taps including local favorites like Urban Chestnut, Pennington and Urbani said they hope to attract overflow from events at Tower Grove Park.

The menu features standard bar fare (burgers, wings, potato skins and several sandwiches) elevated by house-made touches like hand-cut fries and chips, hand-battered fried chicken strips and a spicy, Buffalo-style house wing sauce. “We wanted to recreate old classics but with a fresher approach than most pubs and grills,” Pennington said.

City Park Grill is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to midnight. Here’s a first look at what you’ll find at Tower Grove South’s newest eatery:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: Mi Caribe in Midtown

Friday, August 7th, 2015




Authentic Caribbean food made its way to St. Louis on July 16 when Mi Caribe quietly opened its doors at 3701 Lindell Blvd., at the Coronado Ballroom in Midtown.

As The Scoop reported in May, Mi Caribe is the first restaurant for owners Johnny Martinez, a former pitcher and scout for the Cleveland Indians, and Warren Duval, a mortgage banker. Martinez, a native of the Dominican Republic, runs the kitchen with a team of family members.

The menu is a mix of Dominican, Puerto Rican and Cuban cuisines. “Everything we’re cooking is what we grew up with,” Martinez said. Sofrito, a ubiquitous Dominican mirepoix of garlic and vegetables, makes an appearance in everything from empanadas to arroz con pollo. The Cuban classic ropa vieja and the Dominican tazon, a pork, rice and beans dish, are some of the biggest sellers, while Martinez said the pescado frito, a whole (yes, the eyes are staring back at you) fried snapper, is popular with Hispanic customers.

The large, brightly decorated restaurant seats 100 inside and another 100 on the expansive patio with an additional 25 in the bar area (a full bar program in still in the works). Mi Caribe will celebrate a grand opening in September, and Caribbean food-lovers can get a taste now from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Here’s a first look at what’s in store at Mi Caribe.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: J McArthur’s An American Kitchen in Lindenwood Park

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015




Locally sourced ingredients as modern regional American cuisine is the theme at J McArthur’s An American Kitchen, which held its grand opening at 3500 Watson Road on Friday, July 10.

As The Scoop reported in June, the kitchen is manned by co-owner Ben McArthur, a classically trained, 15-year kitchen veteran and son of the restaurant’s namesake, John McArthur. Passionate about local sourcing, the seasonal menu features ingredients from 15 Missouri and Illinois farms that include the usual suspects like Todd Geisert Farms and Marcoot Jersey Creamery, as well as Martin Rice Co. and Eat Here St. Louis‘ Andy Ayers.

These local ingredients translate into a seasonal, varied menu. Starters include seven choices that spotlight garden vegetables, local cheese and cured meats and McArthur’s take on chicken wings. Entrees include a selection of meat, fish and poultry dishes, as well as a vegetarian option. Expect regional flavors from Gulf shrimp served over grits with pickled red onion and okra salad to Asian-inspired pork belly cooked with dashi and stir-fried vegetables served atop jasmine rice. A burger and breakfast-for-dinner item will be regular offerings, and diners can also expect a fish du jour and Three Springs Farm daily beef cut.

On the beverage side, J McArthur’s offers wine by the bottle and by the glass, including several pocket-pleasing $6 pours. Local spirit offerings include whiskeys, gins and vodkas from Pinckney Bend, Cardinal Sin, Mastermind Vodka and more, while Urban Chestnut represents local brews.

The covered patio offers plenty of space to sip a glass of wine under twinkly lights, or guests can enjoy a meal in the open 40-seat dining room. J McArthur’s An American Kitchen is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 5 p.m. until midnight. Here’s a first look at the new Lindenwood Park eatery.


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-photos Michelle Volansky 



First Look: Dalie’s Smokehouse in Valley Park

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015



Fans of Pappy’s Smokehouse will note the familiar scent of wood smoke wafting from Valley Park this month. Doors have opened at Dalie’s Smokehouse , the newest member of the venerable barbecue joint family. Co-owners Mike Emerson and Skip Steele opened the restaurant at 2951 Dougherty Ferry Road on June 30.

As The Scoop reported in May, Emerson announced he would open his seventh eatery in the space that formerly housed Squeaker’s BBQ & Bar. Dalie’s big day came on the heels of yet another Emerson project with chef Rick Lewis: Southern, a hot chicken and sandwich shack located next to Pappy’s in Midtown. That restaurant opened just one week before Dalie’s. “Imagine planning two weddings back-to-back and the whole city’s invited,” Emerson said.

Pappy’s and Bogart’s Smokehouse customers will find similar menu offerings at Dalie’s, but all Emerson and Steele’s restaurants boast their own unique barbecue preparations and sauces (except the classic pulled pork recipe, the same at all their restaurants). For example, Dalie’s ribs receive a rich coating of the new Papa Joe’s original barbecue sauce, while the smoked chicken is glazed with the sweet heat of cranberry cayenne sauce.

Eleven sides are available, including Pappy’s classic sweet potato fries. Customers can also pair barbecue sandwiches or plates with chipotle-spiked mac-n-cheese, crunchy fried pickles and hush puppies studded with jalapeno, corn and black pepper. On the beverage side, soda and tea are currently available; Emerson soon hopes to add beer and wine.

Dalie’s is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect when you jump in line at Valley Park’s newest barbecue joint.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in the Central West End

Friday, June 5th, 2015






Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has opened its newest scoop shop at 389 N. Euclid Ave., in the Central West End. As The Scoop reported last November, owner Jeni Britton Bauer’s Ohio-based ice creams have caused a sensation around the country, earning accolades from the James Beard Foundation, Food & Wine, Conde Nast and more. Britton Bauer has inked two cookbooks featuring recipes for her frozen confections and signature desserts.

The 2,000-square-foot shop opened doors today, June 5, and offers 15 rotating flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet. The milk comes from pasture-raised Ohio cows, and Britton Bauer uses only natural ingredients, not artificial flavorings, stabilizers or emulsifiers. All the frozen sundries and rich sauces are created at Jeni’s Ohio headquarters, then shipped to its 21 locations scattered in seven states.

Upon entering the bright, cavernous shop, customers can order two, three or four half-scoops of staple flavors like Darkest Chocolate or Salty Caramel or try new seasonal creations like Sun-popped Corn, a sweet cream base blended with real popcorn, then strained and churned to create a cold take on the buttery theater snack. Vibrant sorbets and frozen yogurts are available in seasonal flavors, too, like mango lassi and red raspberry.

Jeni’s menu also includes a few sundae options, like the Tin Roof, Ndali Estate vanilla ice cream topped with extra-bitter hot fudge and Virginia peanuts, or the Gooey Butter sundae, which sees brown butter almond brittle ice cream topped with honey-butterscotch sauce and salty caramel sauce. All sundaes are capped with hand-whipped cream and a cherry and served with a Conversation Cookie, a fresh-made waffle cone formed into the shape of a fortune cookie. Inside each contains a question to spark conversation among your tablemates while you indulge at one of the two long community tables in the center of the shop.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect when you step inside this ice cream emporium.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

First Look: Cellar House in South County

Friday, June 5th, 2015



South County cocktailians and oenophiles have a new date-night spot close to home. Cellar House, a new companion restaurant connected to Bottle Cellars wine shop at 6039 Telegraph Road in Oakville, quietly opened doors at the end of May.

Owner Patrick Ahearn, who opened Bottle Cellars five years ago, is a trained architect who designed the space himself. The 40-seat eatery sports dark wood, a black bar and pressed tin ceiling for an intimate feel. A small patio out front offers 16 additional seats.

Cellar House boasts an expansive bar program, thanks to the work of bar manager Shawn Sullivan, whose resume includes stints managing the bar at Vin de Set. Cellar House boasts 240 bottles of wine and 20 by-the-glass options, and beer fans can select from roughly 25 craft brews, including many local options in bottles or cans with another five rotating draft options. A full bar features 45 whiskey options and a menu of classic and original cocktails, many made with house-infused syrups and liqueurs.

Chef Scott Monteith’s menu is designed for sharing, with a selection of snacks, cheese and charcuterie boards, flatbreads and larger plates. Monteith sources much of his produce and meats locally, and pastry chef Jami Gerbert creates the prominently featured ricotta and mozzarella in-house. Gerbert also crafts the majority of desserts, including a rotating seasonal bread pudding and creme brulee, dark chocolate raspberry truffles and tiramisu.

Cellar House is open 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday and 2 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Here’s a first look at what you’ll find at this new South County nightspot.



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-photos by Michelle Volansky 


First Look: Elijah P’s in Alton

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015



Alton is experiencing something of a foodie renaissance of late, with recent openings that include the massive Old Bakery Beer Co., the petite Spoon Baking Co., and the rockin’ bar-music venue Shakers. Now a new restaurant has entered the downtown scene: Elijah P’s quietly opened doors at the end of April, serving up creative burgers, hearty appetizers and plenty of suds.

As The Scoop reported in March, owner Russ Smith named the restaurant, located at 401 Piasa St., for Elijah P. Lovejoy, the Alton newspaper editor and abolitionist murdered by a pro-slavery mob in 1837. The name is just one nod to the river town’s past. The walls of the 8,000-square-foot eatery are decked with framed maps and prints extolling attractions and historical events from the 19th and early-20th centuries, and even the 17-seat bar was restored from a 1930s riverboat.

Smith, who co-owns Alton nightspot Bossanova, completely renovated a former furniture store, dividing the space into a 100-seat dining room, a private 70-person party room and a gaming room that will soon see video poker machines. Outside, a full 2 acres sees a 100-seat pavilion and ample parking.

Bossanova chef Jarvis Putnam also helms the Elijah P’s kitchen, creating a menu of familiar dishes with creative twists like house-made toasted ravioli breaded with crushed walnuts and pine nuts and served with a tomato-vodka sauce. Ten burgers are offered, all served on buttered house-made buns.

Sixty tap handles and 70 whiskey bottles gleam behind the bar. Two house cicerones have curated a wide selection of draft and bottled brews. Local heavy hitters like Civil Life and Urban Chestnut pour alongside local nanobreweries, such as Alton’s Templar and Scratch Brewing from Ava, Illinois.

Elijah P’s is currently open from 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Here’s a first look at what to expect at Alton’s newest restaurant:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: Shakers

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015



From the outside, the building at 554 E. Broadway in Alton doesn’t look like much. But follow your ears – and your nose – inside, where local bands keep Shakers rocking all night long. Married co-owners Paul and Lisa Light quietly opened their new bar on weekends in March, and they are now open for regular business Tuesday through Sunday.

The Lights have long been a fixture in the local music scene; Paul Light operated bar and music venue The Lighthouse in Alton for 15 years. The two decided to create a space where their passion for music and the arts would also provide a venue for Lisa Light’s daughter, chef Lauren Everhart Washburn, to showcase her culinary abilities.

Three performance spaces are spread through the two-story, 4,000-square-foot space. Two smaller stages frame the entrance, and customers can stroll to the back of the building where a new, much larger stage is nearly completed. Order a bottle of beer at the bar, then grab one of 80 seats downstairs and settle in for the night’s entertainment, or head up the large metal staircase to the bright, airy second floor and watch the sunset over the Mississippi River.

Washburn serves up a different kind of pub grub; deep-fried fare is eschewed in favor of made-to-order paninis, wraps and house-made flatbreads. Weekends see additional items like baked jalapenos stuffed with apple, cream cheese and bacon, as well as a rotating selection of stuffed mushrooms and fresh salsa and chips.

Shakers is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Here, a first look at one of Alton’s newest nightspots:


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Editor’s Note: This post originally located Shakers at 544 E. Broadway St. It has been updated to correct the error. 

-photos by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: Kingside Diner

Thursday, April 30th, 2015



Kingside Diner, a new restaurant from Herbie’s Vintage ’72 owner Aaron Teitelbaum, is now open in the Central West End. Located in the former Lester’s space at 4651 Maryland Ave., adjacent to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, Kingside serves breakfast all day, plus burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, salads and blue-plate specials.

Kingside looks to offer a modern take on classic diner fare, and most items ring up around $10. Many ingredients are made in-house, and dishes sport creative twists, such as French toast turned into a waffle or the massive Thanksgiving All Year sandwich, which piles quintessential Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixin’s between slices of bread. Such ideas are the work of Chris Vomund, promoted this week to executive chef for both Kingside and Herbie’s. (Vomund was executive chef at the now defunct The Nest, and briefly worked at Eleven Eleven Mississippi before joining Teitelbaum at Herbie’s.)

Beverage offerings include coffee and espresso-based drinks featuring Wild Horse Creek coffee, a specialty brand from local roaster Ronnoco. Once the restaurant’s liquor license is approved, it will also offer a full bar, and late May will see the launch of a dessert menu with a full range of shakes and floats.

The decor at Kingside stays true to the diner’s name with photos of chess matches adorning the walls of the 90-seat main dining area. Vintage travel chess sets sit on display near a stairwell that leads to a second floor patio with an additional 30 seats. Kingside has also partnered with its neighbor, the St. Louis Chess Club, which will offer occasional classes in one of the restaurant private dining rooms.

Here’s a first look at what to expect when you eat at Kingside Diner.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

First Look: 99 Hops House

Thursday, April 9th, 2015



There’s no mistaking the theme at 99 Hops House inside Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights. The beer-centric sports bar, which officially opened April 6, offers around 100 different brews, including prominently featured local craft options. O’Fallon Brewing created the signature house brew, the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This amber-colored, easy drinking glass of suds pairs with many menu items and drinks well on its own.

Not only is the list long, but many of the beers also feature in dishes themselves. Beers from Schlafly, Urban Chestnut, 4 Hands and O’Fallon  join other microbrews from across the country in the menu’s many sauces and condiments.

The menu offers generous portions of barbecue classics, as well as suggested beer pairings for each appetizer, soup, sandwich and entree. The Loaded Burger comes on a roll and is indeed loaded up with sauteed onions, mushrooms and a Hollywood Ale aioli. With a nod to St. Louis barbecue, 99 Hops House boasts a pork steak weighing in at least one pound and comes with your choice of crispy waffle, seasoned or sweet potatoes fries and a creamy coleslaw spiked with Woodchuck Cider.

Here’s a look at what else you’ll find at Hollywood Casino’s newest eatery:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

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