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The Scoop: Nick Martinkovic parts ways with Death in the Afternoon, Blood & Sand

December 5th 04:12pm, 2014


{Nick Martinkovic}



Nick Martinkovic is no longer executive chef for Death in the Afternoon or its sister restaurant Blood & Sand. The change, which occurred in mid-November, sees colleague and chef David Rosenfeld leading the culinary team at both locations.

“We just felt that our vision of how to grow the restaurants in the future were similar but not exact,” explained Adam Frager, who co-owns both restaurants with business partner T.J. Vytlacil. “We realized it would be in both parties’ best interest to part ways at a time when we were at a point of strength and not ignore potential differences that may arise in the future … We are appreciative and grateful for his contributions. He has his own style that was really well received.”

Martinkovic said the separation was an amicable one. “It was a heartfelt separation with tears and everything. It’s better to end it that way than kind of butting heads,” he said.

Martinkovic has made local food headlines since he arrived here in early 2013 from New York City (where he worked at popular pizzeria Roberta’s) to open Central Table Food Hall. He left that post nearly one year ago to take the helm at Blood & Sand. Martinkovic said he is in the process of starting his own venture focused on healthy, in-home cooking classes. “Most likely it will take me outside of St. Louis,” he said. “I’ve loved my time here. All the other chefs I’ve met – I’ll miss everyone like crazy.”

One of those chefs will be David Rosenfeld, whom Martinkovic tapped to come with him from Roberta’s to open Central Table and then join him at Blood & Sand. Rosenfeld said he felt the chef transition was fairly seamless. “The food at Blood & Sand, since I came on in January, has had a lot of my influences, especially since Death in the Afternoon opened, since Nick was over there,” Rosenfeld said.

Rosenfeld hopes to make the menu at Death in the Afternoon a little more static. “It’s confusing for diners how much the menu changes,” he said. “We’ve gotten great reviews for our pastrami sandwiches and for a lot of other things. For a lunch diner, they want consistency. They read about it; they want to eat that. It should be on the menu when they are there.”

Rosenfeld is also gearing up for collaboration with Mike Sinclair and Chris Gaglio, founders of Upper 90 Brewing Co., whose brewing operation is located in Death in the Afternoon’s basement. Earlier this week, The Scoop reported that Death in the Afternoon will add beer tastings and a truncated evening menu in February 2015. Frager said Rosenfeld will be working with Sinclair and Gaglio to craft dishes around specific beers. Upper 90 will commence brewing operations next week with its first beers slated to be released Feb. 1

By Ligaya Figueras

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