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Jul 28, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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In This Issue: A chat with Anthony Ellerson Jr.

September 10th 10:09am, 2013

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After a year in business, The Kitchen Sink’s Anthony Ellerson Jr. feels more like a mayor than a cook. Now he’s running for a second term as he prepares to relocate his tiny diner adjacent to the Forest Park MetroLink station to a 150-seat space at 255 Union Blvd., in the Central West End. Here, he discusses his career, his campaign staff and the struggles of keeping his constituents happy.

Why’d you decide to open a restaurant?
I was running a kitchen, but I lost my desire to work there. I sat at home, and I told my mom I wasn’t going to work for anybody else. We put our money together and started The Kitchen Sink.

Does she work at the restaurant?
She likes to come in and sit down and order food.

Does your dad help?
He does my bookkeeping. It’s mom and pop all the way.

What have you learned during your first year of owning a restaurant?
I was not prepared for the spotlight. I enjoy talking to my customers, but I feel like a politician because everybody shakes your hand. I’m just cooking food. I didn’t do anything special.

You started as a busser at Rigazzi’s. What’d you learn there?
Work ethic. At the old Rigazzi’s, you had to bust your butt. It was one of the busiest restaurants I worked at besides Blueberry Hill.

What’s your favorite dish there?
I like the nachos. The cheese sauce they make is pretty good.

It’s an Italian place.
Yeah, they make good cheese sauce. I’m a simple guy. My favorite places to eat are Steak ‘n Shake, Chris’ Pancake, Blues City Deli and Olympia. When I go to those places, I get the same thing every time.

What’s in your fridge?
There’s nothing in there that’s good. It’s filled with sodas or milk. My dog eats good. He’s lovin’ the restaurant.

What’s the most popular dish on Kitchen Sink’s menu?
Crab Cake Benie, The Kitchen Sink – a very different spin on shrimp and grits – the burgers, the wings … pretty much everything.

Pretty much everything is less than $10.
I have two items over $10. I’m not in it to be a millionaire.

How would you define the menu?
St. Louis-style Creole. None of us is from New Orleans. I went to New Orleans and stayed at my friend’s. I didn’t eat the food ‘cuz we spent all the money drinkin’. I don’t know what Cajun food in New Orleans tastes like.

Would you call The Kitchen Sink a diner?
We’re a five-star diner without the five-star ambiance.

Will that change when you move?
We won’t have canned sodas, and we’ll have alcohol. One of the problems I have with moving to another place: I want to change my menu, but there’s not one thing I can take off without pissing somebody off.

Why are you going into a bigger space?
I think we do a good job now, but I’d like to see what we can do when we’re on equal ground as other restaurants. On my arm, I have the seven deadly sins tattooed. I commit a lot of these [sins] thinking about other places. I’m envious of other restaurants all the time.

Why do you think you’ll succeed?
I have a good team of people around me. Murph [Patrick Norton], who’s moving to the front of the house to be my GM, grew up in the restaurant business. Aurthur [Brooks], the kitchen manager, has a newborn baby. Everybody has their reason, what they’re busting their ass for.

What sets your restaurant apart?
Customer service. We have to go the extra mile to make people want to come back. People always ask me, “Are you the owner?” I tell them the honest truth: “No, I’m the manager. You’re the owner. Because if you don’t come back, I don’t have a business.”

The Kitchen Sink, 280 DeBaliviere Ave., St. Louis, 314.261.4455, letseat.at/thekitchensink

-Photo by Ashley Gieseking

 

 

 

 

By Ligaya Figueras

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2 Responses to “In This Issue: A chat with Anthony Ellerson Jr.”

  1. Graham Says:
    September 13th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Everyone talks about customer service, but this guy is legit. I’m a waiter in a different restaurant but live near TKS and the service there is awesome. I’ve been in that place probably 5 times and every single time, they’ve done something special. Just little things like throwing in a few fritters on the side or starting to cook it before I paid for it when he could tell I was really hungry. One time he had just closed and opened back up when I came in late. The attitude there is awesome, and so’s the food. If you haven’t been, check this place out.

  2. whitney Says:
    March 31st, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I love this place my cousin took me hear and I been back atleast once a week I love it n I am having my daughter birthday DINNER THEI I try to send other ppl their and Ive took my aunt and husband and they all say they wonna go back thanks for the great time LOVE U GUYS

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