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Oct 08, 2015
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First Look: Robata in Maplewood

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015



Church’s Chicken flew the coop at 7260 Manchester Road in Maplewood, and Robata swooped in to take its spot. Thom and Emily Chantharasy, former owners of now-shuttered Sekisui on South Grand, opened their ramen, sushi and yakitori restaurant Monday, Sept. 28.

The newly remodeled space features bar-height seating and dining tables to accommodate approximately 30 dinner diners. The sushi menu offers single servings of both cooked and raw nigiri, five- and six-piece sashimi and two-piece tempura styles, as well as 30 fully cooked maki rolls and 28 rolls with raw or partially cooked ingredients.

Steaming bowls of ramen can be built to order, starting with the noodle (fresh imported Japanese thin cut, regular cut, fat cut or a rice noodle), then the style (variations of pork, chicken or vegetable broth with toppings), and finally the option to add more vegetables or protein to your bowl.

The yakitori menu offers 16 chicken, pork and seafood skewers and nine vegetable skewers meant to be mixed, matched and shared around the table (the same goes for the sushi). The meat may be ordered plain (shiro) or marinated in a sweet, savory sauce (tare).

Robata is open Monday through Thursday from 5 to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. Here’s a first look at what’s in store at one of Maplewood’s newest eateries:


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 -photos by Meera Nagarajan

First Look: Union Loafers Cafe and Bread Bakery in Botanical Heights

Thursday, October 1st, 2015



After years of planning, renovating and baking, Ted Wilson and Sean Netzer quietly opened Union Loafers Cafe and Bread Bakery yesterday, Sept. 30, at 1629 Tower Grove Ave., in Botanical Heights. As The Scoop reported in June 2012 and July 2013, this highly anticipated bakery will turn out naturally leavened, hearth-baked breads. The small team at Union Loafers includes Brian Lagerstrom, formerly of Niche and a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2015.

Union Loafers serves up a lunch menu of sandwiches, open-faced tartines, soups and salads. “Everything’s made from scratch. Especially the bread,” Wilson said, and he means everything – including pickles, mayonnaise, jams and even butter, all made from Missouri dairy. “The only thing we’re not doing is curing meat – yet.”

After the grand opening this Sunday, Oct. 4, drop in for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or buy a loaf of fresh bread from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (or until supply runs out) Tuesdays through Sundays. Union Loafers is currently waiting on a liquor license, but Wilson hopes to stock a bar with a selection of beer, wine and whiskey.


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-photos by Meera Nagarajan



First Look: Brasilia on South Grand

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015



South American fare has joined the international strip of South Grand. Brasilia started serving up Brazilian and South American dinner at 3212 S. Grand Blvd., on Saturday, Sept. 19. Owners Jorge and Rachel Carvalho are restaurant veterans having owned both Café Brasil and Côco Louco, as The Scoop reported in April.

For their South Grand venture, the Carvalhos have created a brightly painted, relaxed eatery that seats around 50 inside with about 16 seats available on the patio.

Beef, chicken and seafood dominate the menu. Nine shareable starters include Brazilian-style chicken croquettes and marinated beef short ribs. Mixed greens tossed with ranch-like house dressing and can be topped with chicken, beef or a seafood mix for a large dinner salad. Fifteen entrees features three grilled chicken dishes, two beef offerings and the rest a mix of seafood, fish and combination plates most of which see accompanying rice, sauteed collard greens and sauteed seasonal vegetables.

While dessert is not currently listed on the menu, Brasilia does offer vanilla and chocolate Brazilian-style flan, a denser and more textural version of the more common Mexican flan. Two Brazilian beers and several cachaça (a spirit distilled from sugar cane and a national product of Brazil) cocktails.

Brasilia is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. Here’s a first look at one of South Grand’s newest restaurants:



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 -photos by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: Wild Sun Winery in Hillsboro

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015



Pack a picnic and hit the road – Wild Sun Winery is now open at 4830 Pioneer Road in Hillsboro. As The Scoop reported in June, respected Missouri winemaker Mark Baehmann fulfilled his lifelong dream when he left Chaumette Vineyards to open Wild Sun with business partner Ed Wagner.

Along with swarms of volunteers, the pair transformed an 1870s home into a 4,400-square-foot winery with a tasting room, production building, expansive patio space and event amenities. Wild Sun sits on 10 acres, but events will be capped at 125 people. “We want to be known as a winery,” Baehmann said. “It’s all about the quality of the experience, the quality of the wine.”

Wild Sun is open for tastings, picnics and yard games, if you bring them. Customers can also bring their own food or order from a small menu of pizzas and snacks to enjoy on a three-level patio. Sip and wander around the pond or the barn they plan to transform into a brewery this spring.

Wild Sun opens with nine wines all made with Missouri grapes, except for a cabernet sauvignon, which is made with grapes from Washington state. Grab a bottle of that or a Missouri favorite like chardonel, Norton or chambourcin to bring home.

Wild Sun is open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect when you make the drive to Hillsboro:


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-photos by Meera Nagarajan


First Look: Milque Toast in South City

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015



Breakfast and lunch eatery Milque Toast has opened doors at 2212 S. Jefferson Ave., in South City, serving up big flavors in a teeny space. Co-owners Colleen Clawson, Rachel Moeler and Amanda Verauld launched their cafe Saturday, Sept. 12.

The 600-square-foot counter-service restaurant holds just 16 seats inside, but there’s ample room to roam on the side patio. The menu features an array of options, from simple toasts like a thick slice slathered with a seasonal jam or cinnamon sugar to more elaborate options like an apple and cheddar melt or house-made gravlax and cucumbers. The trio locally source as many ingredients as possible; toast is made with Companion or Breadsmith loaves and a house-made gluten-free option is in the works.

Taking a tip from a favorite childhood book, Clawson created the George & Martha soup of the day, simmering quietly in countertop slow cookers. Rotating salad options and side options depend on the day’s produce. Saturdays and Sundays are for sampling. Customers can choose three or five different toasts served with side dishes, part of the Danish-inspired Smørrebrød brunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Beverage options include whole milk, coconut milk and house-made nut milks like cashew and almond. All are customizable with house-made syrups in flavors including mint, peach, malt and ginger chai. For a caffeine boost, look for Mississippi Mud Coffee, Japanese cold-brew coffee and several tea options.

Milque Toast is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect when you step inside this petite eatery:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: Seven Zero Eight on Laclede’s Landing

Monday, September 14th, 2015




Co-owners and burlesque performers Boss Chaos (Elliot Winter) and Katerina VonRocket recently opened doors at Seven Zero Eight, a restaurant, bar and burlesque theater at 708 N. Second St., on Laclede’s Landing.

As The Scoop reported in May, the 7,500-square-foot space holds a full-service restaurant and bar at the front of the house and a burlesque theater with a hardwood stage in the back. While burlesque shows are restricted to the 18 and older crowd, Winter said the restaurant is family-friendly: “more old Vegas than anything else.”

Chef Brian McGrath, who previously worked in kitchens at Truffles and Basso, heads the kitchen and Cajun-influenced menu of bar food and classics. McGrath is currently sourcing his beef from Arrowhead Specialty Meats and andouille from Louisiana-based Crescent City Meat Market. McGrath also heads the bar program, which focuses on whiskey and craft beer. Excel Brewery used an old homebrew recipe of Winter’s to create the restaurant’s house beer, a dark, rich 708 Stout.

Burlesque shows take place on Fridays and Saturdays and rotate themes every six weeks. Tablet-wielding servers place food and drink orders for the audience from a specialty menu themed with the show.

Seven Zero Eight is open Tuesday through Sunday from 4 to 11 p.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect when you step into Seven Zero Eight:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: Reeds American Table in Maplewood

Thursday, September 10th, 2015



Reeds American Table is now open at 7322 Manchester Road in Maplewood. As The Scoop reported in February, this is the first restaurant for Matt Daughaday, formerly executive chef at Taste and a member of the 2013 class of Ones to Watch. Daughaday leads a team of industry notables, including executive pastry chef Summer Wright (formerly of Niche Food Group) and advanced sommelier Andrey Ivanov (formerly of Elaia and Olio) as beverage director.

The 3,400-square-foot space that once saw life as Home Wine Kitchen now seats 96 on two levels. The menu offers a selection of elevated classic and comfort food dishes, such as a pastrami Rueben sandwich made with beef tongue and caraway-pickled cabbage, or a green bean casserole that’s been deconstructed into sauteed green beans with leek-mushroom cream, topped with crunchy, flash-fried leeks.

Ivanov captains a three-man bar team including class of 2015 One to Watch Zach Althaus, Richard Vagnino (formerly at Rooster and Small Batch) and Adam Smith. David Schroeder serves as Reeds’ beer director. As such, a Russian novel-length beverage menu suggests pairings for everything from small plates to desserts and offers selections for those who feel lost in Reeds extensive inventory. Look for lengthy curated wine and beer lists, craft cocktails featuring house-made shrubs and specialty coffee beverages.

Reeds American Table is open Wednesday through Monday from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect when you arrive at Maplewood’s newest eatery.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

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 



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