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Mar 29, 2015
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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: The Wood Cask to debut in former Eleven Mile House spot in Kirkwood

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

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The Wood Cask is set to open doors at 10332 Manchester Road in Kirkwood this May, setting up shop in the former home of Eleven Mile House.

First-time restaurant owner Dan Marten said the 2,800-square-foot space is undergoing extensive renovation and will look nothing like its former occupant. The Wood Cask will seat 120 patrons, who can nosh on Southern-influenced cuisine. The menu, created by Marten and consulting chef Ben Welch, is divided between starters, entrees, sandwiches and flatbreads like The Cowboy, featuring shaved steak, whiskey-glazed onions, horseradish cream and smoked Gouda. Chef Zach Dale, formerly of Robust in Webster Groves, will take the reins as executive chef starting April 10.

True to its name, The Wood Cask will offer a wide selection of whiskey, bourbon and scotch, as well as an extensive list of wines by the glass and bottle. Eight draft beers will also be available from local breweries like 4 Hands and Civil Life, and more brews will be available in bottles. The Wood Cask will be open daily for lunch and dinner.

The Scoop: Copper Pig gastropub to open on Macklind Avenue

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

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Macklind Avenue in the Southampton neighborhood will soon see yet another restaurant joining its burgeoning ranks. Owner Nhat Nguyen plans to open Copper Pig in mid-summer alongside neighborhood establishments like The Mack Bar & Grill and Macklind Avenue Deli and more recent additions like Russell’s on Macklind and Grapeseed.

Nguyen, who used to own now-shuttered Urban on South Grand, is currently renovating the space at 4611 Macklind Ave., which once housed an eco-friendly home goods store. “I bought the building in July and have been (working) with it ever since then,” he said. The 2,200-square-foot space will seat 40 to 50 inside, and Nguyen plans to install large panel windows in front that will open to let in fresh air in lieu of a patio.

Nguyen envisions The Copper Pig as a gastropub serving elevated bar food like pork belly and maduro Cubans. Look for a few dishes with Asian influences, too, like fish sauce-marinated wings and bulgogi cheesesteaks. Once a liquor license is approved, the bar will serve a wide variety of draft and bottled brews from the St. Louis area, as well as European and Belgian styles.

 

 

 

The Scoop: Gerard Craft named JBFA finalist for Best Chef: Midwest

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

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Finalists for the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards were announced today, March 24, and one St. Louis-area chef remains in the running. Gerard Craft, chef-owner of the Niche family of restaurants, made the short list in the Best Chef: Midwest category. Craft was also among last year’s finalists in that category. “I think it’s a great testament to our team, that 10 years in, we are still part of the conversation,” Craft said. “To be included with that group of people is such an honor.”

St. Louis chefs who did not get past the semifinal round in the Best Chef: Midwest category are Kevin Willmann, chef-owner of Farmhaus; Ben Poremba, chef-owner of Elaia, Olio and Old Standard Fried Chicken; and Kevin Nashan, chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe and Peacemaker. Ed Heath, chef and co-owner of Cleveland-Heath, was also in contention for the title of Best Chef: Great Lakes. Heath was a first-time JBFA semifinalist.

Among national awards, Annie Gunn’s was one of 20 restaurants named semifinalists in the Outstanding Wine Program category. The estimable fine-dining institution did not advance to the final round.

Winners of the chef and restaurant awards will be announced at a ceremony in Chicago May 4. A full list of nominees is available here.

 

Editor’s Note: This post was updated March 24 at 10:15 a.m. to include a quote from Gerard Craft.

The Scoop: Beer-focused 99 Hops House to open doors at Hollywood Casino

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

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Get ready to choose your next round from 99 (-ish) different brews when 99 Hops House opens doors at Hollywood Casino in the first week of April. This is the second location for the beer-centric sports bar; the original is located in another Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

Food and beverage manager Rhaisha Dobbs said the sports bar offers around 100 different brews – 20 draft and 80 bottles – including local offerings like Schlafly, Six Row and Urban Chestnut. The restaurant has even gotten into the collaboration game, partnering with O’Fallon Brewery to make its original Hollywood Ale, which will be served in the restaurant and on the casino floor.

The food menu consists of pub grub classics like nachos, wings, hefty burgers, ribs and more, all with suggested beer pairings. Look for other local brews to make appearances as ingredients, such as the beer cheese soup made with Schlafly pale ale and O’Fallon’s amber ale in the batter for the fried cod sandwich. “We tried to stay with things our guests are going to be familiar with, plus we get to support our local industry,” Dobbs said.

Guests can forgo blackjack and slots for 99 Hops House’s dartboards, shuffleboards and Golden Tee video game, or they can kick back with a brew and watch the pros on one of 20 TVs scattered throughout the restaurant.

99 Hops House will be open Mondays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to midnight, Fridays from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant will typically be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, opening for special events in the adjacent concert venue.

 

 

The Scoop: Antonio’s Bistro & Market opens doors in the Southampton

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

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Antonio’s Bistro & Market opened doors March 18 at 5005 S. Kingshighway Blvd., in the Southampton neighborhood, where first-time restaurant owners Adisa and Meho Beharic aim to bring a taste of Bosnia to the neighborhood. “We’re serving Bosnian food and some Italian food, so it’s a lot of stuff we all grew up eating. The menu has plenty of American options, too,” said Aldijana Ibrahimovic, a close family friend who works at Antonio’s Bistro.

Ibrahimovic said the restaurant serves breakfast until noon, offering traditional American early-bird fare such as customizable omelettes, steak and eggs, pancakes, hash browns and turkey bacon. Bosnian dishes can be found on the lunch and dinner menus, including items like cevapi (flatbread stuffed with grilled beef sausages), cheese or meat pitas and other grilled items. Baklava and other traditional desserts are also available to finish the meal.

Not up for a Bosnian meal that night? The menu also includes items steaks, European-style pizza, spaghetti and salads. While alcohol is not served, customers can sip on soda, juices, coffee and tea. The family-owned restaurant seats 30 people, and outdoor seating will be available during warmer weather. Antonio’s Bistro is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

 

The Scoop: Herbie’s owner to open chess-themed Kingside Diner in Central West End

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

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The team at Herbie’s Vintage ’72  in the Central West End is extending its talents to pancakes and sides of bacon. Herbie’s owner Aaron Teitelbaum has announced plans to open Kingside Diner this April in the former Lester’s at 4651 Maryland Ave., as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

Teitlebaum said the daily diner will fill a void in the Central West End restaurant scene since the closure of longtime staples like Herschel’s and The Majestic. “There’s a very big void also for late-night dining,” he said, adding that Kingside will be open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The kitchen will churn out classic diner fare for all-day breakfast and lunch beginning at 6 a.m. Herbie’s chef Chris Vomund, formerly of The Nest, will oversee the menu development and culinary operations at the new diner, which will also feature daily blue-plate specials. Herbie’s beverage director Amanda Wilgus will handle the beverage program, which will focus on breakfast cocktails and bottled beer.

Kingside will seat 90 people inside and an additional 90 to 100 when warmer weather allows for patio seating. The diner will also offer a walk-up counter and a grab-and-go section for customers on the move.

The diner’s chess-inspired name comes thanks to its neighbor – and landlord – the World Chess Hall of Fame. Teitelbaum said he plans to partner closely with the organization, opening Kingside to beginner’s play Sundays through Thursdays after 3 p.m., when the menu will switch from breakfast and lunch options to small plates and a full bar.

“We’re not here to bring in something that’s going to compete with my friends and neighbors,” said Teitelbaum. “We want to be something that adds to the community.”

 

 

The Scoop: Rick Lewis to leave Quincy Street Bistro, open chicken shack with Pappy’s Mike Emerson

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

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Fried chicken is flocking to St. Louis, and two big restaurant names have just thrown their knives into the ring. Chef Rick Lewis announced today that he is leaving Quincy Street Bistro to open a chicken shack called Southern with Pappy’s Smokehouse owner Mike Emerson, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

Emerson and Lewis hope to open Southern, which will be located at 3108 Olive St., next door to Pappy’s in Midtown, in mid-April. Lewis described the fast-casual concept as a mixture of popular Nashville hot chicken spot Hattie B’s and Southern/Cajun-focused Cochon in New Orleans. Southern will serve hot chicken as well as sandwiches made with house charcuterie and other classic Southern fare.

The two men have been friends since Lewis took the helm at Quincy Street in 2012. Lewis’ elevated comfort food at Quincy Street received local and national acclaim; in 2014 he was a semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation Award in the Rising Star category. The friendship grew to a business partnership recently when Lewis, looking to start another project, sat down with Emerson, who sought to add another restaurant to his fold. Emerson also co-owns popular barbecue spots Bogart’s and newer Adam’s Smokehouse, which Sauce reviewed in July 2014.

“We started our business based on comfort food, and this guy takes comfort food to another level,” remarked Emerson about Lewis’ talent as a chef. “In the barbecue business, you start with the best product, and when I get to start with one of the best chefs in town, that doesn’t hurt either. It’s like signing Derek Jeter.”

Emerson said he wasn’t worried about the growing roster of fried chicken restaurants opening in St. Louis, and that he looked forward to Lewis’ unique contribution to the genre. “It’s always been one of my favorites,” said Emerson of fried chicken. “We’re in love with anything along the comfort food line. I’m not going to stop just because places keep popping up.”

At Quincy Street, Lewis said chef Chris Tirone (a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2011) will take the helm as executive chef, a role he has unofficially filled since hip surgery limited Lewis’ role in the kitchen for several months last year. “I’m not trying to tear something I built apart,” Lewis said.

Despite his new project, expect to see Lewis frequently Quincy Street often – his in-laws own the joint. “I’m always going to be up in that place,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

 

 

The Scoop: Ranch dressing-themed restaurant to open in Soulard

Friday, March 13th, 2015

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Rejoice, devotees of that most American salad dressing: Twisted Ranch, a new eatery enshrining ranch dressing, is coming to Soulard in June, as reported by St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe.

Located at 1730 S. Eighth St., Twisted Ranch promises a “secret homemade ranch recipe” that is incorporated in various ways into every dish on the menu. The kitchen will also offer around 18 different ranch flavors, such as smoked paprika, chipotle, buttermilk basil, durkee and teriyaki.

“I’m the type of person who puts ranch on everything,” said co-owner Chad Allen, who signed a lease this week with business partner Jim Hayden. “I told everybody, ‘If I ever start a restaurant, it’s going to have to be ranch-themed.’” This is the first restaurant venture for Hayden and Allen, though both have experience in the St. Louis catering industry. The peculiar rendering of the restaurant’s name on the logo (twisted RAnCh) capitalizes the first initials of Hayden’s three children.

The initial menu offers a lineup of 11 appetizers, two soups, 13 sandwiches and five entrees. Four flatbread dishes, like horseradish-ranch brisket and hickory-smoked pulled pork, will also be available, the bread and meat both prepared in-house. A drink menu with signature cocktails, wine and locally focused beer is in the works also.

Allen and Hayden are now in the process of hiring a chef and a bar manager. Allen said the 1,500-square-foot space will hold about 50 diners, whom he hoped would be drawn from the large crowds who frequent the Soulard Farmers Market.

“We like the historic aspect of (Soulard), and it is an area we’re hoping will have a bit more foot traffic – and more of a neighborhood-y feel,” Allen said.

 

 

 

The Scoop: Sugarfire Smoke House to open downtown next to upcoming blues museum

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

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Few things make a better match than barbecue and the blues, and downtown St. Louis is about to get both. Sugarfire Smoke House inked a deal with Spinnaker St. Louis yesterday, March 10, for a new location in the rapidly expanding Mercantile Exchange building downtown.

“Barbecue and blues sort of go together. They both have Southern roots,” said Amos Harris, principal at Spinnaker and developer of the National Blues Museum, which is set to open next spring. The museum will celebrate, in all its forms, the influential African-American musical genre, which informed rock ’n’ roll and other styles of modern music.

The new Sugarfire location will open in September, according to Harris, and will be located adjacent to the museum at 605 Washington Ave. Dual entrances will allow access from both the street and museum during business hours. The new location will be the fourth for Sugarfire which is co-owned by Mike Johnson, David Molina and Charlie Downs. Other locations include spots in Olivette, St. Charles and O’Fallon, Missouri. Johnson did not return requests for comment.

Sugarfire’s new digs are the latest among several other highly anticipated dining establishments in the MX space, including Gerard Craft’s Porano Pasta + Gelato, set to open this summer, and Tazé Mediterranean Street Food, which will open doors in April. Existing MX tenants include Robust and Pi Pizzeria. Harris said the brisk expansion was part of his ambition to put downtown St. Louis back on the map.

“We want the MX to be the ‘They’re there,’” Harris said. “It means when you come to St. Louis, the memory you take with you is that stretch of Washington Ave.”

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

 

 

The Scoop: Elijah P.’s Burgers & Brews to open in downtown Alton

Monday, March 9th, 2015

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The name Elijah P. Lovejoy is familiar to history buffs and journalism students, and it will soon be well-known to customers at the Elijah P.’s Burgers & Brews in Alton, Illinois. The new pub slated to open at 401 Piasa St., is a project by Russ Smith, who named it for the Alton newspaper editor and abolitionist murdered by a pro-slavery mob in 1837.

Ross, who also owns Bossanova Restaurant & Lounge, said burgers will feature prominently on the menu. Elijah P.’s will source its proprietary blend from nearby Hansen Packaging Co. in Jerseyville and buns will be made in-house. The menu will also include salads and soups, and Ross hopes to make use of local ingredients. Jarvis Putnam, executive chef at Bossanova, is developing the menu at Smith’s newest restaurant.

Beer lovers will find 60 choices on tap and another 40 in bottles, with cicerones on staff to help decide. Expect local brews from both sides of the river, including Alton nanobrewery Templar and Excel Brewing in Breese. Smith also hopes to have draft beer by Scratch Brewing.

Located in a former furniture store, the space has been rehabbed to offer seating for 200 and a warm ambiance with an historic feel. Seating capacity will double when a patio with a pavilion opens in warm weather. Smith said Elijah P.’s Burgers & Brews will open as early mid-March with a grand opening slated for mid-April.

 

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