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  SAUCE MAGAZINE
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Jul 26, 2016
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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The Scoop

The Scoop: Dan Sammons takes over as Demun Oyster Bar exec chef

Monday, July 25th, 2016

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A new tide has rolled in at Demun Oyster Bar. Fifteen-year kitchen veteran Dan Sammons began his tenure as executive chef today, July 25. Sammons fills the spot left behind after chef Ben Edison exited the kitchen earlier this year. Sammons brings a range of experience from corporate operations chef at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood to working the kitchens at Berkeley, California’s eatery, Revival Bar & Kitchen.

“I fell in love with farm-to-table dining at Revival,” said Sammons. “The farmers brought the deliveries every day. We had to eighty-six menu items when we ran out of ingredients.”

For the past year and a half, Sammons has been working at LHM hotel properties, most recently serving a seven-month stint as the executive chef at Three Sixty. Both Sammons and Demun Oyster Bar general manager Tom Halaska said they are eager to work together to bring more local ingredients to the menu.

“In our initial interview, I asked him which farmers he knew and he said, ‘Which kind of farmer?’ That lead to a 45-minute conversation about who we knew and what they were doing,” said Halaska. “We have the same passion for food and drink.”

Diners can expect that passion to translate to changes on both the food and beverage menus. Halaska aims to create cocktails that complement the restaurant’s well-known oyster program and food menu, rather than a set list of standalone cocktails. “We want the food and beverage programs to work together in a unified way,” he said.

Sammons, who grew up on Southern cooking and summertime produce from his grandfather’s garden, plans to add and tweak menu items to reflect his experience. “There will be a salmon dish on the menu,” he said. “It will be like a salmon summer succotash with fresh vegetables.”

 

Tweet Beat: The week’s top tweets from #STL foodies

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

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The Scoop: Chef Carl Hazel takes helm at West End Grill & Pub

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

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After taking six months off, chef Carl Hazel is once again top toque in the kitchen. Hazel started as executive chef at West End Grill & Pub (WEGAP) on July 13.

As The Scoop reported in January, Hazel spent the majority of the last nine years running The Scottish Arms’ kitchen before departing at the beginning of the year. “The pub atmosphere is something I really enjoy,” he said. “(WEGAP) runs the gamut from super, super casual, cold beer and flip-flops at the bar to a really nice date-night place in the dining room.”

The 20-year industry veteran plans to change the menu’s focus to an emphasis on local, sustainably grown and responsibly raised ingredients, but he will balance that change with what restaurant regulars have come to know and love. “We’re definitely going to change things quite a bit, but we’ll be real careful not to lose the personality of WEGAP,” he said. “People are more aware of what we eat and what we put in our bodies.”

Hazel also said he plans to improve plating presentations and perhaps incorporate wild game dishes. “People will see more than the standard beef, chicken and pork choices,” he said.

In addition to the menu, the 8-year-old restaurant will also update its interior and beverage selections. Hazel anticipates the new menu will be released in mid-August. “I’m excited to be back in the kitchen, doing what I love to do,” he said.

 

-photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: LuLu Asian Kitchen to open in Olivette and Rock Hill

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

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Expansion has been the theme this year for LuLu Seafood and Dim Sum, which recently launched its first food truck and, as reported by St. Louis Magazine, plans to open two locations this fall called LuLu Asian Kitchen. They will feature a pared down, casual menu with items that food truck and LuLu Fresh Express customers will recognize.

“We learned a lot selling at Dierbergs and at the food truck,” said Julia Li. “We learned that people want orange chicken and crab rangoon.”

In addition to Americanized Chinese dishes, the menu will see rotating authentic Chinese dishes as well as LuLu Seafood classics like steam buns and pot stickers.

The Olivette location will be at 9626 Olive Blvd., while the Rock Hill restaurant will be located at 9737 Manchester Road. Coincidentally, the building on Manchester used to house a Chinese restaurant at which Li’s mother took her first job after immigrating to the United States in 1993.

Li eventually plans to expand LuLu Asian Kitchen out of state, starting with locations in Chicago and Miami.

 

The Scoop: Gamlin brothers unveil concept for new project

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

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The Central West End’s newest establishment, courtesy of Derek and Lucas Gamlin (of Gamlin Whiskey House and SubZero Vodka Bar) will be called 1764 Public House and, as previously announced, will open at 4910 W. Pine Blvd. Breaking with the spirit themes of their other establishments, 1764 Public House will instead honor the history of the building, as well as the city of St. Louis.

“When we started researching the building, we discovered it had so much crazy St. Louis history, we felt we had to do something that would harken to that history,” said Lucas Gamlin.

Gamlin said the building used to house Circus Snack Bar nightclub in the middle of the 20th century during which time pianist Liberace was a weekly fixture, as were other famous artists.

To harken to that history, the food menu at 1764 Public House will include versions of the Lou’s most iconic dishes including “a twist on hand-made toasted ravioli.” While the menu is still being finalized, diners can also expect St. Louis-style pizzas with and without Provel.

In a move Gamlin admits is ambitious, the restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and a late-night crowd. Customers can expect to see local doughnuts, as well as de rigueur local beers on 16 or so taps. A curated spirits and cocktail list, as well as a wine list, will round out the beverage program.

An opening date has not been set, but when doors open, the space will accommodate around 120 diners inside with additional space for guests outside. “We want to open a comfortable, casual place that people can come to every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said Gamlin.

 

The Scoop: Vero Pasto to deliver pizza and pasta kits

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

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After a limited trial run earlier this year, Katie and Ted Collier, along with Katie’s mother Belinda Lee and brother Johnny Lee, have secured a space in Creve Coeur where they will launch Vero Pasto – a meal delivery service initially offering a weekly selection of pizza and pasta. The Colliers, who also own Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria, hope to have the business open by the holiday season.

Unlike some other local options, Katie Collier said Vero Pasto (that’s “real meal” in Italian) will deliver the raw ingredients and customers will cook the dishes courtesy of written recipes, as well as You Tube tutorials.

“We’re doing this because we love our restaurant and love serving the community,” said Collier. “With a restaurant we can only reach so many people and we’ve been thinking how to expand and reach more people with our food.”

Meal kits will include the raw ingredients necessary to prepare pizza or pasta at home, including handmade pizza dough and extruded pasta along with raw vegetables and other components. New kits are available each week. The Lees and Colliers plan to source fresh, seasonal ingredients and hope to use local vendors like Volpi and Salume Beddu.

“We want this to be a fun experience,” said Collier. “We want it be easy but interesting so people can cook then say, ‘Wow, I made that.’”

Orders will be placed online. Delivery will follow a couple of days later with ingredients arriving in temperature-controlled packaging. Pricing is still being determined, but each kit pizza kit will contain items for two pizzas, and each pasta kit will serve four people and will run between $25 and $30.

“We’ll pivot and learn as we grow,” said Collier. “We’re starting off humbly and small, but we chose a space where we can grow quickly if we need to. The meal delivery system, like Blue Apron, is a new phenomenon within the last few years. We’ll learn and grow it naturally.”

 

The Scoop: Yori opens in Chesterfield

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

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Don’t let the Kampai Sushi Bar sign fool you. Yori, a new Korean restaurant, has opened at 1637 Clarkson Road in Chesterfield.

As reported by Feast, co-owners Sae Kim and Jay Moon were looking for a place to expand from their flagship location in West Lafayette, Indiana, and discovered one of Kim’s St. Louis friends, the owner of Kampai Sushi Bar, wanted to leave the 2,200-square-foot space in West County. Kim and Moon said they welcomed the opportunity to expand the neighborhood’s palate. “We’re trying to introduce our authentic Korean food to people who aren’t so familiar with it,” said Moon.

A few signature dishes include the galbi, short ribs marinated with Korean barbecue sauce, and soon tofu soup. “The tofu has a very silky smooth texture, and we make the broth with seafood and beef stock so it has a very deep flavor,” said Moon.

Kim and Moon quietly opened the 85-seat space three weeks ago, and it will hold a grand opening next week partly to celebrate one important change. “Our sign still shows Kampai Sushi Bar. We are just waiting to get a new sign,” said Moon, laughing.

Yori is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday from 3 to 9:30 p.m.

The Scoop: Owners of Sugarfire Smoke House to open burger joint this fall

Friday, July 15th, 2016

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The owners of Sugarfire Smoke House are opening another restaurant – but barbecue isn’t on the menu. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, The Hi-Pointe Drive In will serve griddled burgers on potato buns, fries and shakes in a new space at 1033 McCausland Ave., after tearing down the former Del Taco building at that address.

Sugarfire co-owner Mike Johnson has wanted to open a burger joint for years. “Probably even before Sugarfire first opened,” he said. “We’ve been working on it for a long time.”

The building will be made up of shipping containers, to be designed by Tom Cohen. “It’s going to be unreal,” Johnson said. “You won’t believe you’re in St. Louis.”

The fast-casual Hi-Pointe Drive In is slated to open in November.

The Scoop: Chefs Kevin and Britt Pellegrino launch BK Catering

Friday, July 15th, 2016

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Husband-and-wife duo Kevin and Britt Pellegrino, both formerly of Five Bistro and Olive & Oak, are starting their own catering company, BK Catering, Feast Magazine reported. BK Catering will focus on smaller private events in clients’ homes.

“We wanted to do something different and try to work on our own thing,” Britt Pellegrino said. “We’re trying to do something on a smaller scale, a little more specialized, (and) I think it is nice for us and for the guest.”

The Pellegrinos also want to do in-home cooking classes for small groups. “I’ve gone to one of those parties and it’s nice to have somebody come in, it’s like girls night out (and) everyone has wine and we teach them something fun,” Britt Pellegrino said.

While they’re still pulling parts of the company together — they don’t have a website yet — Kevin and Britt have done several events together already. Additionally, Kevin is working at Claverach Farm in Eureka, Britt is a private chef for two families and they are catering together whenever they can.

Eventually, the two hope to open a fast-casual Filipino spot—Britt’s family is Filipino. Even when the restaurant opens, catering will remain a part. Until then, track down Kevin and Britt through email at bkcateringstl@gmail.com or give them a call at 314-435-1068.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: PerJax Americana Kitchen closes just two months after opening

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

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PerJax Americana Kitchen has come and gone in University City, closing just two months after opening. As Feast Magazine reported, the news surfaced on Nextdoor, a neighborhood social networking site. It was confirmed yesterday, July 12, when chef-owner Steve Cupp announced the closure via Facebook.

“Business was not what we had hoped or needed,” Cupp wrote in the post. “The overly long construction schedule, which was not under our control, drained our limited resources.”

PerJax opened at 7401 Pershing Ave., in late May. Cupp served a Cajun- and Creole-inspired menu with dishes like shrimp Creole-topped steak and Pastalya, a jambalya pasta dish. Cupp owned the Columbia, Missouri institution Glenn’s Café for decades before returning to his hometown.

Cupp did not return requests for comment.

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