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Aug 21, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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The Scoop

The Sweet Divine reopens today in Soulard

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

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After a fire destroyed The Sweet Divine in October last year, the Soulard bakery reopens its shop at 1801 S. Ninth St., today, Aug. 3.

Throughout the renovation, The Sweet Divine relied heavily on its cupcake truck to continue business. Co-owners Jason and Jenna Siebert used MacArthur’s Bakery on Delmar Boulevard served as a temporary commissary kitchen until the storefront was complete. Jason Siebert said old wiring in the building’s basement caused the fire.

Siebert said they collaborated with contractors to design a completely new space. The interior is completely open, and guests can now watch bakers create their confections while seated at the bar area enjoying treats and Park Avenue coffee. The space now seats around 20 people.

“The inside is hardly recognizable,” Siebert said.

There will also be a few changes to the menu and store hours. “We’re not taking anything away, but we’ll be adding things,” Siebert said.

Look for croissants, muffins and chocolate in addition to its renowned cupcakes, as The Sweet Divine will now be open at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.

The store also plans to stay open later to catch the after dinner crowd in Soulard, closing at 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.

“We think people are going to enjoy hanging out here,” Siebert said.

Photo courtesy of The Sweet Divine

Caitlin Lally is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine. 

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Pan-Asia Supermarket opens in Manchester

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

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Manchester has a new specialty store: Pan-Asia Supermarket at 14246 Manchester Road.

The 30,000-square-foot grocery hosted its grand opening Saturday, July 22, and offers a wide variety of Asian products, including fresh seafood, dry goods, fruit and veggies, international liquors and spices.

This is the third location for the supermarket chain; it also has stores in Nebraska and Kansas. Store manager Ethan Lin said while Manchester had a few smaller Indian markets, it lacked a grocery with ingredients essential to other Asian cuisines.

“We are more focused on Asian [ingredients], and compared to other stores, we have a larger selection: more vegetables, more fruit, more meat and better pricing,” Lin said.

Pan-Asian offers national foods from China, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and more. Kim said the store hosts a wide range of fresh produce from bok choy to dragon fruit and Korean brown pears, as well as a bakery. The deli selection features grab-and-go items like marinated beef and pork and roast duck.

“The [specialty] Kit-Kats and Pocky are popular with our American customers,” Lin said. “Right now [Americans] are probably 10 to 15 percent of our customers, and we hope that number will go up to 20 to 25 percent in the future.”

Pan-Asia Supermarket is open Sunday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Pan-Asia Supermarket

Rachel Wilson is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine. 

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Stage Left Diner closes in Grand Center

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Stage Left Diner closes in Grand Center

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

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Stage Left Diner quietly closed its doors on Monday, July 31.

The diner, located at 541 N. Grand Blvd., debuted in September 2016, when owner Steve Smith and restaurant consultant Brad Beracha took over the space next-door to the Fabulous Fox Theatre from the former City Diner.

Beracha said the announcement was more abrupt than he liked, but necessary.

“The area is very event-driven and the off-season is very off, and we made a decision based on the sales and the short term to focus on other projects,” he said. “I’ve got my hands full with BaiKu and the City Foundry project opening in 2019. We have a lot of effort put into these projects, and a lot of exciting news is coming out within the next month or so.”

Beracha said there are currently no plans for the space, which is owned by Fox Associates.

In a press release, Smith, who also owns BaiKu Sushi Lounge and Triumph Grill, thanked the diner’s patrons for their support. “The challenges to grow the Stage Left Diner brand were too difficult to overcome, and the decision to close was made so that our focus could shift to our other restaurants,” he said.

Photo by Michelle Volanksy 

Rachel Wilson is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine.

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Pie Hard pizza truck launches in Belleville, will expand to STL

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

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Another chef with fine dining creds has left the white tablecloths behind and opted for a more low-key culinary approach.

Chef-owner Michael Pastor debuted his new pizza-themed food truck, Pie Hard, on Saturday, July 29, at a soft opening event at his commissary kitchen, located at 8201 W. Main St., in Belleville.

Pastor has worked in some impressive kitchens, including Gerard Craft’s Niche and Pastaria, Cielo at Four Seasons, and an externship during his culinary school days at world-renowned Alinea in Chicago. But when he decided to strike out on his own, Pastor chose a more casual focus.

“Fast-casual is a trend that’s been going on for quite a while now,” Pastor said. “People don’t want to sit down and eat three or four hour meals anymore. So I leaned toward a fast-casual concept, and that led to a food truck.”

Pie Hard is decidedly different from many of the rolling eateries in the area. It’s a custom 20-foot shipping container atop a massive flatbed truck that houses the 5,000-pound EarthStone wood and gas pizza oven. The truck measures just shy of 30 feet.

“It’s the biggest St. Louis city allows, ” Pastor said.

Pie Hard will cover a wide swath of real estate. In addition to periodic events at the Belleville commissary, Pastor said the truck will serve south St. Louis County, and St. Clair and Monroe counties in Illinois. Pie Hard will be available for private events as well.

“We can’t do St. Louis city just yet because there are no spots available,” Pastor said, though he hopes to operate within limits soon.

Pastor said initially there will be five staple 10-inch personal pizzas available on the truck, including The Queen, a traditional margherita pie; The Vladi, with vodka sauce, Italian meatballs, pickled shallots and rosemary; The Cuban, a play on a Cuban sandwich that includes a mustard bechamel, speck, porcetta and house pickles; and The King, featuring crunchy peanut butter, banana, bacon and a spicy grape jelly, along with one rotating special.

Pizza fans can keep track of the truck on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Pie Hard Pizza

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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Nixta, Vicia make Bon Appetit’s top 50 new restaurants list

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

 

 

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{ Vicia chef-owner Michael Gallina }

 

Bon Appétit has announced its list of 50 Best New Restaurants in America, and two of St. Louis’ hottest eateries, Vicia and Nixta, made the cut.

The Mole Negro de Abuelita Concepción, an homage to a recipe from chef Tello Carreon’s grandmother, was singled out as a must-try dish at Nixta, while the Goose Egg, scrambled eggs served in a “bird’s nest,” was one of the specialties highlighted on Vicia’s menu, along with the restaurant’s focus on vegetables.

“It’s been quite a week,” said Tara Gallina, Vicia co-owner and general manager. Vicia also landed on Eater’s 12 Best New Restaurants in America list, which came out last week. “It’s a lot – it’s exciting!”

 

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{ from left, Nixta chef Tello Carreón and owner Ben Poremba } 

 

Nixta owner Ben Poremba, whose other eateries Elaia and Olio made the same list in 2013, said the news came as a complete surprise. “It’s nice to see the recognition on a national scale like that, especially coming back from the bittersweet moment of closing Old Standard and redoing the space,” he said.

Nixta landed on Sauce’s Best New Restaurants of 2016 shortly after opening in November last year.

Bon Appétit’s list of 50 will be whittled down to the Hot 10 on Aug. 15, which are featured in the September issue.

“That list has some pretty heavy hitters on it,” said Poremba. “But you never know.”

Gallina agreed that landing a top 10 spot would be remarkable. “There’s a lot of incredible competition this year,” she said. “A lot of amazing places have opened, so just to be on the list, as cheesy as that sounds, is quite an honor.”

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Red Oak Eats ‘n Treats is now open on Washington Ave.

Friday, July 28th, 2017

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A new restaurant downtown has sprung up and is starting to grow on people. Red Oak Eats ‘n Treats, located at 1330 Washington Ave., opened on Wednesday, July 19. The fast-casual eatery features hydroponic plants on its menu.

Billing itself as the first “room-to-table” eatery in Missouri, Red Oak grows produce in house and hydroponically in water and without soil. The food that is not grown in-house is sourced from owner Derek Schuzle’s farm in Warrenton, in addition to local distributors.

“We see a lot of farm-to-table restaurants, and we’re trying to challenge that,” said first-time restaurateur Schulze.

Growing up on a farm, Schulze said he’s seen the way uncontrollable factors have affected food security, and believes growing indoors eliminates those factors. Without using pesticides or herbicides and using significantly less water, he grows lettuce and basil in the restaurant that appears in nearly every dish.

“We think St. Louis is a great place to showcase hydroponics, being at the fore front of agriculture for hundreds of years,” he said.

Featuring fresh greens and family recipes, Red Oak serves breakfast, lunch and made-from-scratch bakery items daily, with a late night menu available on the weekends. The menu includes a Midwestern Corn Belt Salad with corn and black bean salsa, avocado cream, pickled red onion and a Southwestern ranch dressing, a breakfast biscuit sandwich, and the Home-Style Sandwich featuring a meatloaf recipe passed down through generations.

The 800-square-foot establishment that formerly housed A2 Cafe now displays antiques from Schulze’s great-grandparents’ barn and flourishing hydroponic gardens. Schulze said he wanted the atmosphere to showcase farming from 1880s and the future of farming, all in one space.

Red Oak seats 49 currently, although Schulze said once he receives a sidewalk permit, 20 more seats will be available outside, and is currently open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Red Oak Eats ‘n Treats

Caitlin Lally is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine. 

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• Eater names Vicia one of the country’s Best New Restaurants

Eater names Vicia one of the country’s Best New Restaurants

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

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Vicia has made a splash on the local and national dining scenes even before its highly anticipated opening in March, and now, the Central West End restaurant has just been named one of Eater’s 12 Best New Restaurants In America.

Eater restaurant editor Bill Addison wrote that each year, he has two goals when identifying the top new eateries: “Identifying the essential modern classics for our Best Restaurants in America list, and seeking out the new paragons — the restaurants that energize their communities and will come to define national excellence.”

Addison lauded owners Tara and Michael Gallina for their use of seasonal procduce and no-waste philosophy, as well as Vicia’s price-conscious lunch service and tasting menu. “Tara and Michael Gallina’s remarkable debut restaurant … aims for out-and-out usefulness to its community,” he wrote.

General mangaer Tara Gallina said they were excited to receive the news.

“We’re very proud and honored to represent the city of St. Louis on a national scale,” she said. “We’ve been working really hard since before we opened and pushing everyone to do their absolute best, so it’s awesome for the entire team to be recognized,” she said.

Photo courtesy of Vicia

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Sparkling wine and oyster bar, Extra Brut, will open in Clayton

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

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Fans of sparkling will soon have an oasis in which to imbibe a wide variety of bubbles. Extra Brut, a sparkling wine and oyster venue from the folks behind Louie’s Wine Dive, is set to debut at 16 S. Bemiston Ave., in Clayton on Friday, Aug. 4.

“It’s simple in a lot of ways, but with complex products,” said owner Whitney VinZant.

Patrons enter the space speakeasy-style via a nondescript entrance adjacent to Louie’s and tagged with the initials EB. After traversing a long hallway lit by vintage-inspired sconces, they’re ushered into the space itself, which seats approximately 55, including booths and communal tables. Light fixtures crafted from used wine barrels and custom glassware cabinets enhance the minimalist design aesthetic of the space, and a small stage in the corner will feature live music.

Extra Brut will only be open on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. During the week, the space will serve as a private dining area for Louie’s.

Despite the under-the-radar entrance, advanced sommelier and corporate beverage director Patrick Olds said he hopes Extra Brut shows people sparkling wines aren’t just for special occasion.

“The environment, awesome as it is, is secondary,” said Olds. “The goal is getting really good juice in front of people and making it accessible.”

To this end, the beverages are limited to just sparkling wines – no spirits, no cocktails, no beer – and certified sommeliers will be on hand to help navigate the offerings.

The bar will have a list of approximately 60 variations, ranging from French Champagne to cremant to Spanish cava and Italian prosecco. A couple of by-the-glass offerings will be available, but Olds said the focus is sharing bottles.

Photo courtesy of Extra Brut

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Driftwood Eatery owner to open Pig & Pickle in St. Louis

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

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{ Pig & Pickle chef-owner Ryan Lewis } 

 

Chef-owner Ryan Lewis is moving his popular Springfield, Illinois, restaurant Driftwood Eatery & Cocktail to St. Louis.

The restaurant – to be renamed and rebranded Pig & Pickle Eatery – is set to open this fall at 5511 Pershing Ave., and includes the space that formerly housed Atlas Restaurant. Driftwood closed its doors this Saturday, July 22.

Lewis said Pig & Pickle would have the same concept as Driftwood, yet with a bit more refinement. “The idea is locally focused small plates with a southern feel,” he said.

Most of Lewis’ management team will join him in the move to St. Louis, and the restaurant will keep several of its original suppliers like Garden Gate Farm in Fairbury, Illinois, which supplies his grits.

Lewis, who is originally from Bethalto, Illinois, said it was time to move on from Springfield, and he hoped St. Louis, with its vibrant culinary scene, would welcome his creativity.

“The food scene in St. Louis is blowing up,” Lewis said. “I’ve been (in Springfield) for eight years, and I’ve done all I can. It’s time to make the move to a new area and use what I’ve learned.”

Pig & Pickle will serve a variety of small plate options including braised pork cheek, roasted bone marrow and blackened shrimp. A few popular dishes from the old restaurant will remain, including the pretzel-crusted cheese curds and the fried chicken and biscuit.

Lewis said the new restaurant would retain the cocktail focus of Driftwood, but the hefty 70-cocktail list would be pared down significantly.

The restaurant will offer dinner Tuesday through Saturday and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, with possible plans to serve lunch in the future.

Photo by Kari Bedford for Pig & Pickle 

Rachel Wilson is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine.

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The Scoop: Juniper to move to new location in Central West End, launch new concept

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

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{ Juniper chef-owner John Perkins }

 

Southern comfort food spot Juniper will move to a new location in April 2018.

Chef-owner John Perkins said the eatery’s new digs would be located on the first floor of the new mixed-use building currently under construction at 4101 Laclede Ave., in the Central West End.

“I would imagine in a year from now we’ll be open in that spot,” Perkins said. “We expect to get the space by the beginning of November, and then take it from there and do the build out.”

The new space will be larger than the original location at 360 Boyle St., which opened in October 2013, but not overwhelmingly so.

“I wanted to get bigger, but I didn’t want to get too big,” Perkins said. “There will be about 3,200 square feet, which is about 1,400 square feet more than we have now,” Perkins said. “There’ll be a bigger kitchen and a wood-burning grill that I’m excited about.”

The current Juniper location has 64 seats, including the bar. Perkins said the new incarnation would boast 120 seats. The new dining room will have the same 56 seats the original space has, with most of the new seats picked up in the expanded bar area. Two separate patio spaces round out the floor plan. As befits the larger bar area, Perkins said to expect an expanded bar program.

Perkins said he’s aware of the perils of relocating from an established spot, but he’s confident in the move.

“I think I have a pretty good idea of what the space is going to look like, and I think it’s going to feel like a continued evolution of what Juniper is. It won’t feel disconnected,” he said.

Fans of the original Juniper location shouldn’t despair. Perkins said he plans on keeping the space for private events, and he’ll develop a new concept there called Little Bird in the near future (details to follow). Juniper will stay open in its current location until March 2018.

Perkins is also still in the running for the Fantasy Food Fare competition, sponsored by Equifax, Rise and the St. Louis Small Business Development Center. The winner will receive two years rent free in a fully set-up restaurant space in Old North, among other prizes. If he takes the top spot, Perkins said he’ll open a meat-and-three concept in the space.

Photo by Greg Rannells

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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