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The Scoop: Blood & Sand owners to open restaurant at Citygarden

February 3rd 03:02pm, 2014



Blood & Sand owners Adam Frager and TJ Vytlacil have another project in the works. The business partners are going to open a restaurant called Death in the Afternoon at 808 Chestnut St., in Citygarden, as reported by the Post-Dispatch’s Ian Froeb. The restaurant is expected to open in mid-to-late April.

Lunch will be the main focus at Death in the Afternoon, and the restaurant’s unique setting at the Citygarden sculpture park appealed to Frager and Vytlacil as a special events space. Unlike members-only Blood & Sand, Death in the Afternoon will be open to the public.

“We thought downtown would benefit from an outstanding lunch destination that was very approachable in its food and price point with creative preparation, done with love and attention, and it in a timely manner,” Frager said. Its lunchtime focus means Death in the Afternoon will not compete with its sister restaurant, Blood & Sand.

Frager described the menu as “delicious, approachable food … stuff everyone loves, but slightly new, done differently, with new ingredients.” Hot dogs, burgers, pastrami sandwiches and house-made charcuterie are some items patrons can expect. “It’s not going to be an expensive place. Not $20 lunch items,” Frager said. “It’ll be very affordable for virtually everybody and offer a tremendous amount of value.” Helming the kitchen will be chef Nick Martinkovic who joined Blood & Sand in January.

While handcrafted cocktails are a draw at Blood & Sand, Frager said the beverage focus at Death in the Afternoon will be creative nonalcoholic drinks. He, Vtylacil and Blood & Sand bartender Jayne Pellegrino will develop that menu, which will be rounded out with local draft beers and a small, boutique wine list.

Two restaurants – Terrace View and Joe’s Chili Bowl – have come and gone in the space Death in the Afternoon will soon call home. Restaurateur Jim Fiala operated the Terrace View for two years, while Joe’s Chili Bowl was open for just 18 months before closing in October 2013. Frager said he doesn’t think the space or location will pose a challenge.

“People said the same thing about our space at Blood & Sand. It’s in an alley; there’s no visibility. But what we look for in a space is uniqueness. I don’t think there is any space that is cursed or handicapped. Some might take more time and money to develop. But if you are rooted in fundamentals – founded in excellence in quality, food, atmosphere, service, genuineness, transparency – if you excel in those realms, you can be successful. Obviously, the more remote you are, the better you have to be to overcome those. I see nothing but overwhelming positives about the space. It’s one of the most unique spaces in the country, not to mention St. Louis. It’s such a great canvas to start with.”

While Frager and Vytlacil will not be making structural changes to the space (apart from constructing a prep kitchen and charcuterie area in a lower level), they are giving the “canvas” a facelift. Interior design changes will include new accents, lighting and furniture.

-photo courtesy of Citygarden


By Ligaya Figueras

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