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Oct 21, 2016
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First Look

First Look: Hopskeller Brewing Co. in Waterloo

Monday, October 10th, 2016



Three years ago, Matt Schweizer was a high school history teacher with a passion for homebrewing. Today, he’s the owner and brewer at Waterloo’s newest brewpub, Hopskeller Brewing Co., which opened at the end of September. As The Scoop reported in July 2015, Schweizer had support from several Waterloo residents, including Mayor Tom Smith, who approached him about starting a brewery in the area.

Schweizer spent more than a year renovating the building at 116 E. Third St., which was constructed in 1853. He exposed much of its original design, including brick walls and floor joists. Rehabbed beams from an Illinois barn and a functioning wood-fired oven from 1854 were also brought into the space.

Schweizer’s tap list features a lineup of mostly English and American-style ales, including an American amber ale, a Northern English brown, a pale British mild ale and a dark British mild ale. A selection of wine from Illinois’ Hedman Vineyards and Starview Vineyards is also available, along with a small cocktail list featuring Illinois distilleries like Stumpy’s and North Shore. While they sip on house brews, hungry customers can step up to the kitchen counter and order a wood-fired pizza or a sausage piled high with toppings from sweet cherry peppers to pineapple.

Hopskeller is open Monday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect from Waterloo’s newest brewery:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky


First Look: Egg in Benton Park

Thursday, October 6th, 2016



Pay no attention to the Spare No Rib signs at 2200 Gravois Ave.; Egg is now open for weekday breakfast and lunch in the barbecue joint’s original location. As reported by The Scoop in July, Egg is an expansion of the brunch popup by the same name. Spare No Rib has opened with the same menu in its new location at 3701 S. Jefferson Ave. (formerly the home of Lucky Buddha). Owner Lassaad Jeliti quietly transitioned the two concepts in recent weeks.

Few changes were made to the interior of the 60-seat Benton Park restaurant, but the menu has expanded from its popup days and lost most of its barbecue flair. It got rid of the pulled pork, added brioche French toast and took on a unique lunch menu that strays far from its barbecue roots with dishes inspired by Jeliti’s Tunisian heritage.

Aside from the Tunisian salad made with tomato, onion, cucumber, jalapenos and apples in a lemon vinaigrette, there is a salad nicoise on the lunch menu. “Nicoise is a big salad in Tunisia,” Jeliti said. There is also chakchouka, a stewed tomato and vegetable dish served with baked eggs. “Growing up that was the breakfast thing,” he said.

The bar dominating the space serves a short menu of brunch cocktails along with espresso drinks and freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juices. A classic mimosa and bloody mary are available, as well as more creative sippers like the Sidi Bou Spritz made with hop vodka, jasmine and elderflower liqueurs and fresh orange juice.

Egg is open Tuesday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click below for a first look at what’s for breakfast on Gravois:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky


First Look: Stage Left Diner in Grand Center

Friday, September 16th, 2016



Stage Left Diner is currently in dress rehearsals at 541 N. Grand Blvd. As The Scoop reported earlier this week, the former City Diner in Grand Center underwent a concept change after owner Steve Smith bought out the former owners.

Rev Hospitality president Brad Beracha frequently consults at Smith’s restaurants (including Triumph Grill and BaiKu Sushi Lounge), and he lent his expertise to the latest project. Beracha said he and the new management focused on improving the overall customer service experience and brightening up the space with a fresh coat of paint.

Arguably the most notable change is executive chef Ryan Cooper’s new menu, which includes classic diner dishes like smashed griddle burgers and lighter fare like a portobello sandwich. A forthcoming liquor license will see boozy milkshakes, but customers can also enjoy a full menu of espresso coffee drinks and or a pull of nitro cold brew coffee.

Stage Left Diner hosts its grand opening Sept. 24, and it is currently open Monday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to midnight. Here’s a First Look at the new face of a familiar diner in Grand Center.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 



First Look: The Garden on Grand

Friday, September 9th, 2016



Just north of the hustle and bustle on South Grand, The Garden on Grand has opened with limited hours at 2245 S. Grand Blvd. As The Scoop reported in August 2015, owner Cevin Lee and executive chef Kore Wilbert hope to provide meals that are health-focused without sacrificing flavor.

Lee and Wilbert spent more than a year transforming the former Islamic Information Center into a 68-seat restaurant. Lee designed the interior, which features a long bar, exposed brick, repurposed metalwork and live plants. Dining tables were hewn from a single tree trunk.

The dinner menu includes eight appetizers like duck pot stickers and cashew and almond hummus along with eight entrees including coconut fried rice with shrimp, grilled lamb and roasted salmon. Wilbert sources some produce locally through vendors like Double Star Farms, Such and Such Farm and Hosco Farms. A full bar is available with more than a dozen house cocktails, as well as bottled beer and wine options. Seven brunch cocktails take a slushy turn; all but one features Hosco Farms sorbets.

The Garden on Grand is currently open Fridays and Saturday from 5 p.m. to approximately 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch. Lee and Wilbert will launch into regular hours Sept. 23, starting at 8 a.m. for breakfast. The restaurant will close after lunch and reopen at 5 p.m. for dinner service. Here’s a first look at The Garden on Grand:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky


First Look: Sarah’s on Central in Eureka

Friday, August 19th, 2016



Sarah’s Cake Shop owner Jill Umbarger attempted to quietly open Sarah’s on Central at 127 N. Central Ave., in Eureka last Wednesday, Aug. 10, and was met with a line out the door. As The Scoop reported in June, the new cafe adds breakfast and lunch fare to the usual desserts Sarah’s Cake Shop is known for.

For breakfast, visitors can choose from pastries, quiches, breakfast sandwiches and sweet or savory muffins. A dedicated toast menu features sweet and savory toppings including house-made jams on slices of Companion bread. For lunch, sandwiches, salads and soups are offered, and daily after-school specials are a weekday treat; right now, it’s $1 grilled cheese sandwiches.

“I’m from Eureka, so I’m excited to be here,” Umbarger said. “As soon as I saw (the space) was for sale, I knew I had to have it.” Sarah’s on Central is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Here’s what to expect when you walk in:



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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: Nathaniel Reid Bakery in Kirkwood

Monday, August 8th, 2016



Internationally renowned pastries are now available in Kirkwood. Pastry chefs and co-owners Nathaniel and Lee Lee Reid opened Nathaniel Reid Bakery at 11243 Manchester Road on Aug. 1, serving up sweet and savory breakfast pastries, sandwiches and colorful tarts and cakes.

Nathaniel Reid’s career is studded with accolades and stints in prestigious kitchens. Dessert Professional magazine named him one of the top 10 pastry chefs in America in 2012, and he received U.S. Pastry Chef of the Year at the 2010 Paris Gourmet Competition. Mostly recently, he served as pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton in St. Louis, and he has crafted sweet confections at Joël Robuchon Restaurant at The Mansion at MGM Grand, as well as The Ritz-Carlton in Las Vegas.

Despite his successes in the fine dining and hotel industries, Reid said he’s always wanted to open a community bakery. “This was the goal since I started 15 years ago, to get to this position,” he said. Reid designed and constructed the 1,920-square-foot space from scratch, knocking down the wall between the former clothing store and neighboring office to create a small retail space and expansive pastry kitchen visible through a large window behind the counter.

That window showcases baking techniques of all kinds. Reid and the kitchen team create pastries from delicate laminated dough, fresh crusty baguettes for sandwiches, vibrant tarts and cakes, a rainbow of macarons and more. Patrons select from the day’s offerings on display in four pastry cases and can pair with a Kaldi’s coffee drink or tea. Nathaniel Reid Bakery is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Here’s a First Look at what to expect when you step inside Kirkwood’s newest bakery:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky


First Look: 4 Hands Brewing Co.’s new tasting room

Friday, July 22nd, 2016



One day in late June, a staircase appeared in 4 Hands Brewing Co.’s tasting room. It was the last element of the massive expansion, one that tasting room manager Cyle Lunsfordhodson said required drilling through solid concrete to construct. The brewery quietly opened the new space to the public a month ago.

As The Scoop reported in January, the tasting room expansion is the first of several projects on tap for the 5-year-old brewery. The space, which once housed 4 Hands’ wine and spirit barrels and pallets stacked high with thousands of cans, now more than doubles the brewery’s seating capacity. A second bar upstairs will offer nearly the same number of taps as downstairs, and two 70-gallon serving vessels suspended above the bar are set to soon pour the brewery’s most popular beers, City Wide and Single Speed.

A new menu has debuted with the new space. The Fifth Wheel, which is owned by Baileys’ Restaurants, helms the kitchen at the brewery and has swapped larger sandwiches for more snackable items, like chips and guacamole, street corn and a la carte tacos. All tacos feature ingredients made with 4 Hands’ beers, like the Incarnation Asada with skirt steak marinated in the Incarnation IPA and Pastors at War with Warhammer-infused pastor sauce.

Patrons of the new tasting room can also relive their mall arcade glory days with six cabinets including Tapper, Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. There are also two skee-ball machines available, and a custom Contact High pinball machine is in the works. Here’s a look at what to expect when you climb the new stairs at 4 Hands:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: Stone Summit Steak & Seafood in Wentzville

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016



Stone Summit Steak & Seafood opened doors at 17 Cliff View Drive in Wentzville on Monday, July 18. As The Scoop reported in May, Stone Summit is partially owned by the same restaurant group as Hotshots Sports Bar & Grill, and former J. Buck’s executive chef Patrick Viehmann developed the menu and helms the kitchen. The massive 300-seat restaurant serves everything from 60-day dry-aged steak to yellowfin tuna.

Aptly named as it’s perched atop a hill, Stone Summit has a rustic feel thanks to stonework and reclaimed materials used as design elements. The wood used for some walls and material for the tin ceiling were taken from a nearby 180-year-old barn nearby.

The full bar features a selection of national beer, several red and white wine options and a dozen house cocktails including takes on margaritas and mules. Stone Summit is open for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. Here’s what to expect at Stone Summit Steak & Seafood:


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Editor’s Note: This post was updated at 3:30 p.m. July 20 to clarify Stone Summit Steak Steak & Seafood’s ownership. 

-photos by Michelle Volansky

First Look: Start Bar downtown

Friday, July 15th, 2016




Start Bar, downtown St. Louis’ new arcade bar opened Wednesday, July 13 at 1000 Spruce St. As The Scoop reported in April, the colorful, game-themed space was designed with an eye for detail, from the old school Nintendo console wall art to the narrow tables hidden between game cabinets for drink storage while you play.

“You make enough venues and you start to learn a few things,” co-owner Stephen Savage said. “And [the branding and design firm] Atomicdust did a phenomenal job. We couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.”

Game manager Mike Ahearn said Start Bar’s 19 cabinets offer a variety of fighting and combat games, shooters, and other classic old school and multi-player games that will rotate based on popularity. Enthusiasts will be happy to know the arcade bar is awaiting the arrival of Killer Queen, a multi-player game with a cult following. “It should be in within six weeks,” Savage said. “It’s our number one requested game.”

Gamers can take a break at one of the 55 seats inside or one of the 50 picnic table seats on the patio. Parties of six to 10 looking to relive childhood glory can take over four reservation-only game lounges stocked with Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart and GoldenEye 007 games.

The menu reflects Start Bar’s playful atmosphere, with boozy shakes, floats, snow cones, slushies and popsicles for your inner child and a short list of snacks and candy. The kitchen turns out house-made Neapolitan-style pizzas for those who need something a little more substantial.

Start Bar is open Wednesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Saturday from noon to 1:30 a.m. and Sunday from noon to midnight. A short brunch menu with breakfast pizzas and drinks is available from noon to 3 p.m. on weekends. Here’s a peek inside downtown’s new arcade bar:

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-Photos by Michelle Volansky

First Look: Absolute BBQ Indian Wish Grill in Chesterfield

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Absolute BBQ Indian Wish Grill opened doors at 17409 Chesterfield Airport Road on June 23.

Absolute BBQ Indian Wish Grill, Chesterfield’s new Indian fusion joint, started serving up lunch and dinner on June 23 at 17409 Chesterfield Airport Road.

As The Scoop reported in February, the menu is inspired by first-time restaurant owner Venkatesh Sattaru’s travels. Various curry, kabab and biryani dishes are offered with a choice of protein, and Sattaru hopes to add Naan wraps and Chinese barbecue dishes to the menu soon.

Sattaru has big plans for his new venture, hoping to open a second location in The Loop, a food truck and franchises across the country. For now, the Chesterfield Absolute BBQ Indian Wish Grill is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Here’s a first look at what the restaurant has to offer:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

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