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The Scoop: Big changes at Niche restaurants

September 30th 03:09pm, 2010

093010_tasteRumors had been swirling for some time that Taste by Niche was going to move to the Central West End into the space vacated by chef Eric Brenner’s now defunct Moxy Bistro. Today, chef-owner Gerard Craft made the news official. However, Craft has been holding back since there were many more pieces to the puzzle than simply relocating mixologist Ted Kilgore and his crew next door to Craft’s French bistro Brasserie by Niche.

Apart from moving the popular cocktail bar to 4584 Laclede Ave., Craft will move his flagship restaurant Niche next door into the tiny Taste by Niche space, and will only serve 12 patrons at a time with exclusive focus on 8- and 12-course tasting menus. The space now housed by Niche will become Porano, an osteria serving Italian country cuisine that is set to open in January.

Why Italian? “Italy is a place that I love,” said Craft. “Especially Umbria and moving on up from there to Piedmonte and the region around there. It’s very soulful, very rustic cooking – like a grandmother would make. The dining in Italy is so communal – sitting around a table with good wine and pasta and roasted meat. It’s simple, but ingredient-driven. Yet if you look at Niche’s food, Niche’s pastas have always been a big part of that.” Craft mentioned that pistachio ravioli has been in the Niche repertoire for some time and that one of the longest-standing dishes on the menu was adapted from a dish he tasted in Porano, Italy: smoked pork shank papperdelle. The restaurant’s name, Porano, is a town in Umbria where Craft says that he had “the best meal of my life.”

As far as Niche goes, Craft said that the smaller space will allow him to control the Niche concept and continue to exceed expectations via creative tasting menus. “One thing that people have at Niche is high expectations. It has driven us up the ladder. We want that and this is my way of doing it. It’s good for me and my cooks.”

And moving Taste by Niche next to Brasserie? “Proximity has something to do to it. It made sense. We don’t want Taste to ever be overwhelmingly big. That space still feels cozy.” You can feel the coziness when Taste by Niche opens in December.

All of our coverage on the Niche family of restaurants

By Ligaya Figueras

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4 Responses to “The Scoop: Big changes at Niche restaurants”

  1. The Scoop: Big changes at Niche restaurants | Saint Louis Fun Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 7:52 am

    [...] Sauce Magazine Blog [...]

  2. Sauce Magazine Blog » Blog Archive » The Scoop: What did Kilgore age in the third barrel? Says:
    October 25th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    [...] barrel-aging project is only just getting started as Kilgore readies Taste for the December move to bigger space in the Central West End next to sister establishment, Brasserie. Next up, Kilgore [...]

  3. Sauce Magazine Blog » Blog Archive » The Scoop: Craft sells Taste to Adam Altnether Says:
    December 1st, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    [...] Scoop announced back in September that Craft planned to move Taste from its original location next to Niche on [...]

  4. Sauce Magazine Blog » Blog Archive » The Scoop: Changes at Niche no longer Says:
    January 4th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    [...] B: The RFT’s Ian Froeb has broken the news that Gerard Craft has changed the plans he announced in September for his Niche restaurants, which involved moving Niche into the neighboring 12-seat [...]

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