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May 24, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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The Scoop

The Scoop: Chef Nick Blue lands at Sugarfire Smoke House

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

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{ Chef Nick Blue } 

 

Former Sardella executive chef Nick Blue has left fine dining behind and is headed in a more casual direction. Last week, he began a new chapter at Sugarfire Smoke House.

“After Sardella, I got reached out to by so many great chefs and restaurant owners and it was really a great feeling,” Blue said.

As The Scoop reported in April, Blue left Sardella and Pastaria executive chef Ashely Shelton added the eatery to her list of duties at Niche Food Group. During his hiatus, Blue met Sugarfire owner Mike Johnson, and something clicked. Both had backgrounds in fine dining and worked for chef Charlie Trotter in Chicago during their careers.

“Mike’s a great guy,” Blue said. “He’s got a lot of things happening, and he has a lot of fun with what he does.

So, Blue decided to give the fast-casual barbecue world a try.

“I’ve never done anything this casual, I’ve never done anything barbecue related,” Blue said. “I’m only a week in, but I’ve never experienced a culture in a restaurant like this. Everybody has fun with what they do, with their co-workers. It’s been great.”

Blue said he’s not stepping into a specific position at Sugarfire, but is working in a variety of roles and learning the ropes at Sugarfire’s Olivette location. Once barbecue competition season starts in earnest, Blue said he’d likely be helping out at other Sugarfires.

“I’m doing everything,” he said. “I’m trying to learn everything I can at the restaurant to be an asset.” That includes learning the pit, helping out with specials working the line and working the floor.

“I’m kind of along for the ride,” he said. “I’m willing to do whatever they need. I want to prove myself to them as much as I can and see where it goes from there.”

Photo by Ashley Gieseking

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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The Scoop: Pastaria’s Ashley Shelton is named Sardella exec chef

The Scoop: Nick Blue leaves post at Sardella

What I Do: Nick Blue of Sardella

The Scoop: Chef Jessie Gilroy to open Pangea in St. Charles

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

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{ Chef Jessie Gilroy } 

 

Another Sauce One to Watch is striking out on her own. Jessie Gilroy, currently sous chef at Sidney Street Cafe, will soon head west to start her own restaurant, Pangea. Gilroy plans to open doors in The New Town  neighborhood in St. Charles this September.

Gilroy – who declined to share the exact address at this time – said the concept will be casual fine dining, and, as the name of the place implies, the menu will be eclectic.

“I don’t want to do the white tablecloth thing. That’s just not me,” Gilroy said. “But I do want people to be able to enjoy that kind of food but not have to get dressed up. It doesn’t have to be a once a month kind of thing. I don’t want to blow people’s budgets.”

Gilroy said the menu will span the globe and blur borders.

“Pangea was the super continent before all of the continents split, so I want to have a worldly influence on the food and show that you can have spices or techniques from anywhere in the world and have it be cohesive,” Gilroy said.

“You don’t have to just do Italian or just do French. People ask me what kind of food I like to eat, and I like to eat everything, so the best way I can put me on a plate is to show that everything can go together.”

One dish that’s already in her sights: foie gras and a miso waffle with a shallot and pepper mostarda, a mashup of Italian and Asian influences.

Gilroy said the space doesn’t need much in the way of rehabbing and most of the work will be cosmetic.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Ones to Watch 2015: Jessie Gilroy of Cucina Pazzo

The Scoop: The Tavern CDC Jessie Gilroy to join Peacemaker, Sidney Street Cafe

The Scoop: Sidney Street Cafe’s Kevin Nashan wins James Beard Award

 

 

The Scoop: Lemmons by Grbic to give new life to an STL favorite

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

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{ fried chicken at Lemmons by Grbic } 

 

An old favorite is getting a new lease on life, thanks to the folks behind Grbic Restaurant. Lemmons by Grbic is slated to open on Wednesday, May 24, at 5800 Gravois Ave.

The popular South City bar and music joint closed doors in June 2014 after 12 years in business. As The Scoop reported later that year, the Grbic family bought the building in August and embarked on an extensive gut rehab. The new space has 99 seats, a full-service bar and plenty of TVs.

According to Senada Grbic, who also helms the kitchen, the total investment in the building is just less than $1 million.

“It’s your friendly neighborhood sort of place,” Grbic said. “As far as the food goes, I’m going to do a short, simple menu, things that I love to eat and I know other people love to eat.”

Grbic said she’s excited for the chance to be a bit more creative with the cuisine at Lemmons, which she refers to as “American cuisine with a Balkan fusion.”

Take the 50/50 burger. Because many people from the Balkans don’t eat pork, Grbic uses equal parts ground beef and ground beef bacon, which Grbic said has a similar texture to pork bacon. The burger is topped with provolone and a fried egg seasoned with vegeta, a traditional Balkan spice blend.

Grbic said for the first few weeks, Lemmons by Grbic will only be open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, but lunch service will soon follow.

Photo courtesy of Lemmons by Grbic

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
The Scoop: Grbic family wins ‘Guy’s Grocery Games,’ announce plans to open new Lemmons

The Scoop: Lemmons in South City to close

The Scoop: Three Flags Tavern chef-owner to helm Herbie’s kitchen

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

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The chef-owner of the recently shuttered Three Flags Tavern has landed a new job as executive chef at Herbie’s in Clayton.

John O’Brien’s first day at the helm is today, May 17. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, O’Brien replaces Patrick Shaughnessy, who took over in March after the departure of Christopher Vomund.

“I was looking for someone who had the type of experience, knowledge and management style that matched up with the kind of business that we do today,” said Herbie’s owner Aaron Tietelbaum. “We’re kind of an old guard-style restaurant and I need somebody running my kitchen that has the capability to understand classics and tradition, while at the same time having the ability to manage a young and excited team, and John fit that bill perfectly.”

Three Flags Tavern closed in March after three years in business.

Teitelbaum said Shaughnessy is definitely a talent in the kitchen, but he wasn’t the best fit for executive chef position.

“Patrick is a spectacular cook, and he does amazing food, but I think it was a little bit too big of a team and operation for an executive chef’s first executive chef job,” Teitelbaum said. “And I hired him knowing that, and I probably put him in a position where he wasn’t quite ready for. He’s got a lot of potential, and he will do something great with somebody at some point.”

Teitelbaum said O’Brien will bring some of the dishes he was known for at Three Flags Tavern, and they will also work together to create new menu items. He said the target is 45 to 60 days for a menu change.

O’Brien said he could definitely see Three Flags’ famous burger and lobster roll making appearances on Herbie’s menu, and due to his penchant for seafood, he hopes to beef up the restaurant’s oyster program as well.

O’Brien was almost ready to pursue a position in Cape Cod when he got a call from Teitelbaum.

“I was about five minutes away from moving,” O’Brien said, but he was attracted to the larger scale operation at Herbie’s. He also has some history with the brand, having worked for Herbie Balaban in the 1980s.

“It was important to find someplace I feel comfortable in,” he said. “I like the restaurant, I like the French style. It’s how I like to cook and how I like to eat.”

 

Photo by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
Extra Sauce: A tour of Herbie’s new space in Clayton

The Scoop: Riverbend Restaurant, Three Flags Tavern close

The Scoop: Herbie’s Vintage ’72 to move to Clayton, Cardwell’s in Clayton to close

 

The Scoop: The Vine to eliminate grocery, add juice bar

Friday, May 12th, 2017

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Some significant changes are afoot at The Vine Mediterranean Cafe and Market at 3171 S. Grand Blvd. The Mediterranean eatery is in the process of eliminating its grocery selection and adding a juice bar.

“Last year we did a renovation where we removed most of the market and we added tables,” said operating manager Ali Mohsen. “We left a small section of the market, and we’re going to use that area now for the juice bar. Jay International is just across the street. It didn’t make sense to keep on trying to carry the same items.”

He said hookah supplies and fresh meats would still be available for purchase.

The new bar will feature a variety of nonalcoholic beverages. “We’re going to have about 10 ‘energy drinks:’ mixtures of kale, spinach, beets, carrots and things like that,” Mohsen said. “And we’re going to have Mediterranean cocktails, which are mixtures of fruits with custards, honey and almonds and things like that.”

The renovated bar space will feature elaborate tile work and showcases for the fresh ingredients. Construction is already underway, and Mohsen said the juice bar should be running by the end of June.

Photo courtesy of The Vine 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
First Look: Pizza Head on South Grand

First Look: Sheesh Restaurant on South Grand

The Scoop: Cafe Mochi owner to open new restaurant on South Grand

 

The Scoop: Bob Komanetsky leaves Mac’s Local Eats in Dogtown

Friday, May 12th, 2017

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 { from left,  Bob Komanetsky and Chris “Mac” McKenzie } 

 

Bob Komanetsky, the chef-owner of Completely Sauced food truck who recently began helming the kitchen at Mac’s Local Eats, has parted ways with the restaurant, effective Wednesday, May 10. Komanetsky cited “philosophical differences” as his reason for leaving.

“During my time there I developed some good relationships with some great people,” he said. “I think Tamm Avenue is a great establishment in a great neighborhood. You couldn’t ask for a better place than Dogtown, if you ask me. It’s been my pleasure to help things get up and running and I wish Tamm Avenue and Mac’s great success.”

Komanetsky’s departure from Tamm doesn’t necessarily mean that the Completely Sauced truck, which has been on hiatus, will hit the road again in the near future, though.

“It’s an asset that I have and if I can utilize it I will,” Komanetsky said. “If I decided to pursue that right now, it’d take me a month to get up and running.” He added that the food truck scene has changed significantly.

“I was No. 16 out of the gate, and now there are probably well over 80 trucks at this point,” Komanetsky said. “I’m really not sure what lies ahead, or where I’ll land, but I’m exploring several opportunities. One thing that I can tell you for sure is that I’ll always remain 100 percent from scratch, local and high quality. I have no intention of leaving the culinary industry at this point, and I’m looking forward to what’s next for sure.”

 

Photo by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
First Look: Mac’s Local Eats in Dogtown

The Scoop: Completely Sauced on Wheels food truck to roll onto streets soon

The Scoop: Chef Josh Charles departs Blood & Sand

Friday, May 12th, 2017

 

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{ Chef Josh Charles } 

 

After three months helming the kitchen, chef Josh Charles has left Blood & Sand. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, Charles decided to redirect his career to focus on his growing family.

Before Blood & Sand, Charles was executive chef at Element. “When I took the job, my wife was pregnant, and we thought ‘We can make this work, it’ll be fine.’ But the second the baby came, we realized it wasn’t going to work. Those first five weeks, I was not there at all because I was at the restaurant.”

In an effort to spend more time at home, Charles has taken a position as a prep cook at Boundary, which he said gives him more normal, daytime hours and a reduced stress level. He said he’d eventually like to get back to his pastry chef roots and delve into making some of the breads and pastries for the restaurant.

Charles said he’s still consulting with Blood & Sand while the search is on for his replacement, and he’ll also continue to create recipes, videos and blog posts for his website. He also plans to do some pop-up events.

“Hopefully now that I have a bit more time I can do a pop-up every other month or so, so I can still work that creative side of me, and work with friends and farmers,” he said.

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
The Scoop: Josh Charles leaves Element, heads to Blood & Sand

• The Scoop: New owner discusses vision for Blood & Sand

Ones to Watch 2014: Josh Charles

 

The Scoop: Denver-based Garbanzo to open first St. Louis location

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

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A tasty little bean is taking over Clayton this September when Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh opens at 8143 Maryland Ave.

With the help of St. Louis investor Michael Staenberg of The Staenberg Group, St. Louis native and CEO James Park is bringing the Denver-based chain home to offer fresh, healthy flavors in a casual, quick setting.

Park said the onsite Clayton manager will be Marvin Brown, who has been with the company for eight years. “We believe there’s a great opportunity in St. Louis,” Park said. “The universe was coming together, and it was the right time for us. We’re excited to bring [Garbanzo] to St. Louis and celebrate with St. Louis.”

Serving up falafel, shawarma, gyros, falafel and pita, Garbanzo’s menu is friendly to vegan, vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free diets.

“The Mediterranean diet is the healthiest recognized diet in world,” Park said. “It’s delicious and nutritious. A lot of food today unfortunately doesn’t follow those guidelines — they can be incredibly tasty, but poor in nutrition.”

The idea for the restaurant came from the founder’s Mediterranean roots and got its name from a core ingredient derived there — the chickpea, aka the garbanzo bean. “The original founder was from Israel, so a lot of the food was inspired from the cooking of his grandmother back home,” Park said.

Park said there are plans to open at least two more stores in the year following Clayton location’s grand opening.

“We’ve already planned out 10 potential sites in St. Louis,” Park said. “We’re looking to go full steam ahead and target those sites aggressively.”

Photo courtesy of Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh

Caitlin Lally is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine. 

The Scoop: Pappo’s Pizza closes St. Louis location

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

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The St. Louis location of Pappo’s Pizza & Brew Co. at 3960 Forest Park Ave., has shut down operations. The restaurant made the announcement via Facebook on Monday, May 7, which was also the last day of service.

According to the post, the restaurant shuttered because “it was not sustainable,” and the company is “looking at other options in the St. Louis area,” including a location to continue brewing its beers.

Pappo’s opened in January 2016 in the former Six Row Brewing Co. space in Midtown. The pizzeria stepped in to the brewing game with a rotating house beer list.

The Pappo’s locations in Osage Beach and Springfield, Missouri, remain open. Pappo’s owner Chris Galloway did not return repeated requests for comment.

Photo by Meera Nagarajan

Related Content
Eat This: Chocolate Chip Cookies at Pappo’s Pizzeria

First Look: Pappo’s Pizzeria & Brew Co. in Midtown

The Scoop: Pappo’s Pizzeria & Pub to open in former Six Row space, launch house beer

The Scoop: Grapeseed closes in SoHa

Friday, May 5th, 2017

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As reported by St. Louis Magazine, Grapeseed in the SoHa neighborhood has shut its doors. Grapeseed was reviewed by Sauce Magazine shortly after opening in 2014. The last day of service was Sunday, April 30 and the closure was announced via Facebook. According to the post, the owners closed the restaurant to pursue “opportunities outside the area.” Grapeseed’s owners did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

 

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