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Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Teitelbaum’

The Scoop: Three Flags Tavern chef-owner to helm Herbie’s kitchen

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

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The chef-owner of the recently shuttered Three Flags Tavern has landed a new job as executive chef at Herbie’s in Clayton.

John O’Brien’s first day at the helm is today, May 17. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, O’Brien replaces Patrick Shaughnessy, who took over in March after the departure of Christopher Vomund.

“I was looking for someone who had the type of experience, knowledge and management style that matched up with the kind of business that we do today,” said Herbie’s owner Aaron Tietelbaum. “We’re kind of an old guard-style restaurant and I need somebody running my kitchen that has the capability to understand classics and tradition, while at the same time having the ability to manage a young and excited team, and John fit that bill perfectly.”

Three Flags Tavern closed in March after three years in business.

Teitelbaum said Shaughnessy is definitely a talent in the kitchen, but he wasn’t the best fit for executive chef position.

“Patrick is a spectacular cook, and he does amazing food, but I think it was a little bit too big of a team and operation for an executive chef’s first executive chef job,” Teitelbaum said. “And I hired him knowing that, and I probably put him in a position where he wasn’t quite ready for. He’s got a lot of potential, and he will do something great with somebody at some point.”

Teitelbaum said O’Brien will bring some of the dishes he was known for at Three Flags Tavern, and they will also work together to create new menu items. He said the target is 45 to 60 days for a menu change.

O’Brien said he could definitely see Three Flags’ famous burger and lobster roll making appearances on Herbie’s menu, and due to his penchant for seafood, he hopes to beef up the restaurant’s oyster program as well.

O’Brien was almost ready to pursue a position in Cape Cod when he got a call from Teitelbaum.

“I was about five minutes away from moving,” O’Brien said, but he was attracted to the larger scale operation at Herbie’s. He also has some history with the brand, having worked for Herbie Balaban in the 1980s.

“It was important to find someplace I feel comfortable in,” he said. “I like the restaurant, I like the French style. It’s how I like to cook and how I like to eat.”

 

Photo by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Extra Sauce: A tour of Herbie’s new space in Clayton

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

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It’s been a year of change for fine dining eatery Herbie’s Vintage ‘72. In May, owner Aaron Teitelbaum announced he would move the 8-year-old restaurant from its corner in the Central West End to the home of Cardwell’s in Clayton, which closed Oct. 1.

Herbie’s dropped the Vintage ’72 from its name when it moved into 8100 Maryland Ave., and opened doors to its new space in early November. Chef Chris Vomund recently took Sauce on a tour of the new 183-seat space.

 

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Customers stepping into the bar area will immediately recognize light fixtures, chairs and booths from the CWE space in a new home. Vomund said it was important to bring key elements of the former location’s character into the new restaurant. Large prints of 1920s liquor posters scattered throughout the dining area harken back to Herbie’s previous location.

 

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While many new restaurants trend toward light wood, Edison bulbs and communal tables, Herbie’s new dining room offers white tablecloths and privacy. Clusters of banquettes sectioned off by dark wood partitions and frosted glass create a sense of intimacy in the large space.

 

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A handful of additional rooms offer private dining for small six-person gatherings to larger soirees. Cardwell’s former wine room has been transformed into a 10-seat dining space equipped with a large television for presentations. And when warmer weather arrives, Herbie’s will add nearly 100 seats on its large patio that wraps around the corner from Maryland Avenue to Brentwood Boulevard.

 

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{ Herbie’s chef Chris Vomund }

 

Diners aren’t the only ones adjusting to the new space. Vomund is navigating a significantly smaller kitchen. He compared the move to downsizing from a house to a condo. However, he said this means his crew is more organized and operates more seamlessly than before, only one step away from each other.

While the dinner menu remains familiar, Vomund has added weekday lunch to serve the Clayton business crowd. The menu features soups, salads and sandwiches including a bison burger, a roasted beet Rueben and a BLTM (mozzarella, that is.) Seven heftier entrees are available for hungrier diners, such as bouillabaisse, steak frites and vegetable lasagna. Lunch is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Photos by Michelle Volansky

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The Scoop: Herbie’s owner to open chess-themed Kingside Diner in Central West End

The Scoop: Herbie’s Vintage ’72 to move to Clayton, Cardwell’s in Clayton to close

Monday, May 16th, 2016

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{The Grand Plateau at Herbie’s Vintage ’72} 

 

The Clayton dining scene gains a new neighbor in October when Herbie’s Vintage ’72 pulls up stakes in the Central West End and replants them in Clayton. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, the 8-year old French-American restaurant will serve its last crepe in the CWE on Oct. 2, move to 8100 Maryland Ave., and reopen at the beginning of November. Herbie’s Vintage 72 will take over Cardwell’s in Clayton, which will close on Oct. 1 as owners Rich and Debbie Gorczyca retire.

“I know the Rich and Debbie and originally looked at Cardwell’s when I first wanted to open Herbie’s,” said chef-owner Aaron Teitelbaum. “The location is right, the patio and the building matches up to who Herbie’s is.”

Rich Gorczyca agreed. “We’ve had a good, long run and Herbie’s is going to be a great fit,” he said. “The arrangement is good for all of us and what really swayed me is that (Teitelbaum) is going to offer every one of my current employees a position.”

In addition to familiar faces, Herbie’s current historic feel with French decor will remain the same at the new location, but customers will be able to enjoy new features, including three additional private rooms, a 100-seat patio and lunch service.

“We’re excited to be in Clayton where there’s such a great lunch clientele,” Teitelbaum said. “Clayton has a lot going on, and Herbie’s clients know our team to be professional and accommodating.”

Teitelbaum said he looks forward to bringing that accommodating environment and eclectic menu, including seafood, steaks and burgers, to the Clayton dining scene.

“For us, we’re driven by a team mentality,” he said. “We have a chef that will cook without ego. He has a menu and specials, but it’s more important that we are accommodating to if a guest wants something, we say, ‘Yes.’ If we don’t have it, we’ll run out and get it.”

Don’t look for the Gorczycas to ride off into the sunset. The couple plans to travel and Rich hopes to pursue volunteer opportunities with St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Humane Society. “We want to thank all of our friends and patrons and business associations who have supported us for almost 30 years,” Gorczyca said.

 

-photo by Carmen Troesser

 

First Look: Kingside Diner

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

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Kingside Diner, a new restaurant from Herbie’s Vintage ’72 owner Aaron Teitelbaum, is now open in the Central West End. Located in the former Lester’s space at 4651 Maryland Ave., adjacent to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, Kingside serves breakfast all day, plus burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, salads and blue-plate specials.

Kingside looks to offer a modern take on classic diner fare, and most items ring up around $10. Many ingredients are made in-house, and dishes sport creative twists, such as French toast turned into a waffle or the massive Thanksgiving All Year sandwich, which piles quintessential Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixin’s between slices of bread. Such ideas are the work of Chris Vomund, promoted this week to executive chef for both Kingside and Herbie’s. (Vomund was executive chef at the now defunct The Nest, and briefly worked at Eleven Eleven Mississippi before joining Teitelbaum at Herbie’s.)

Beverage offerings include coffee and espresso-based drinks featuring Wild Horse Creek coffee, a specialty brand from local roaster Ronnoco. Once the restaurant’s liquor license is approved, it will also offer a full bar, and late May will see the launch of a dessert menu with a full range of shakes and floats.

The decor at Kingside stays true to the diner’s name with photos of chess matches adorning the walls of the 90-seat main dining area. Vintage travel chess sets sit on display near a stairwell that leads to a second floor patio with an additional 30 seats. Kingside has also partnered with its neighbor, the St. Louis Chess Club, which will offer occasional classes in one of the restaurant private dining rooms.

Here’s a first look at what to expect when you eat at Kingside Diner.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Herbie’s owner to open chess-themed Kingside Diner in Central West End

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

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The team at Herbie’s Vintage ’72  in the Central West End is extending its talents to pancakes and sides of bacon. Herbie’s owner Aaron Teitelbaum has announced plans to open Kingside Diner this April in the former Lester’s at 4651 Maryland Ave., as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

Teitlebaum said the daily diner will fill a void in the Central West End restaurant scene since the closure of longtime staples like Herschel’s and The Majestic. “There’s a very big void also for late-night dining,” he said, adding that Kingside will be open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The kitchen will churn out classic diner fare for all-day breakfast and lunch beginning at 6 a.m. Herbie’s chef Chris Vomund, formerly of The Nest, will oversee the menu development and culinary operations at the new diner, which will also feature daily blue-plate specials. Herbie’s beverage director Amanda Wilgus will handle the beverage program, which will focus on breakfast cocktails and bottled beer.

Kingside will seat 90 people inside and an additional 90 to 100 when warmer weather allows for patio seating. The diner will also offer a walk-up counter and a grab-and-go section for customers on the move.

The diner’s chess-inspired name comes thanks to its neighbor – and landlord – the World Chess Hall of Fame. Teitelbaum said he plans to partner closely with the organization, opening Kingside to beginner’s play Sundays through Thursdays after 3 p.m., when the menu will switch from breakfast and lunch options to small plates and a full bar.

“We’re not here to bring in something that’s going to compete with my friends and neighbors,” said Teitelbaum. “We want to be something that adds to the community.”

 

 

The Scoop: Former exec chef at The Nest Chris Vomund joins culinary team at Herbie’s

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

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Herbie’s Vintage 72 is seeing changes to its kitchen crew. Chris Vomund will join the team at the CWE restaurant Oct. 14. He will initially assume the position of chef de cuisine, but Herbie’s owner Aaron Teitelbaum said the goal is for Vomund to become the restaurant’s executive chef, replacing chef Chris Ladley, who left Herbie’s in September. Teitelbaum called Vomund “a solid cook” whose style suits the classical French cuisine at Herbie’s.

Previously, Vomund was executive chef at The Nest in Frontenac. Upon its closure this summer, he took an interim position as sous chef at 1111 Mississippi. His 12 years of restaurant experience also includes working as kitchen manager at Pi in the CWE, helping to open the Pi carryout location in Chesterfield and managing the kitchen at Hard Rock Cafe at Union Station.

“I’m looking forward to taking classical French and maybe incorporating a little of the great farm-fresh stuff we have in the Midwest,” Vomund said of his new position.

As for Ladley, who ran the kitchen at Herbie’s since March 2013, he has joined chef Rick Lewis’ culinary brigade at Quincy Street Bistro. In addition, he is butchering for The Block. “I spend my Wednesdays breaking down lots of pigs and Fridays doing the same thing with beef,” Ladley said. “It’s nice to have a life again and see my fiancee.”

The Scoop: Jeff Orbin bids farewell to Herbie’s and Monarch

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

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{Jeff Orbin}

 

A longtime face in the restaurant industry has decided to call it quits. Jeff Orbin, business partner of Aaron Teitelbaum and a familiar face at Herbie’s Vintage 72 and Monarch Event Space, is leaving the hospitality world. Teitelbaum is now the sole owner of both spaces.

“I’m going back into the design world. That’s what love to do,” said Orbin, whose background in design includes graphic design, Web, print, interior and brand solutions. “It just got to be that time for me. I wanted to do what I am passionate about.” Orbin said there are currently many opportunities for design and consulting, and he expects to branch out beyond hospitality-related design projects. He will remained based in St. Louis.

Orbin, who created the logo and brand identity for now-defunct Miso on Meramec, said when he partnered with Teitelbaum to launch Monarch, he wanted “to do something different for design” in St. Louis restaurants.

Orbin said he has considered leaving the restaurant business for more than a year. Last week, he and a third partner, Gabe Grossberg, reached a buyout agreement with Teitelbaum. “It was a tough decision,” Orbin said. “Aaron and I are great friends, even before the business, and we will be great friends.”

Teitelbaum agreed that Orbin’s departure was amicable. “It was time for the company to continue growing, but also a time to evaluate where everybody wanted to be,” Teitelbaum said. “Jeff and I have been best friends since we were kids. My passion has been restaurants. Jeff’s was design. He wanted to follow his passions a little bit more.”

Teitelbaum and Herbie’s executive chef Chris Ladley have been busy preparing for the April 1 launch of new menus for both the bistro and the dining room. The bistro menu will be primarily small plates, featuring anything from house-made sausages to cheeses to steak tartare to sliders. On weekends, diners can expect to see a chef at a raw seafood bar making fruits de mer platters.

The new dining room menu will feature upscale French-style cuisine, similar to dishes served at the 1904 World’s Fair.  “We’re going to elevate the dining scene in our dining room,” Teitelbaum said. “We think there hasn’t been enough focus on fine dining; we think people are afraid of it.”

- photo by Brian Fagnani

The Scoop: Chris Ladley named exec chef at Herbie’s

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Chris Ladley has been hired as the executive chef at Herbie’s Vintage ’72. Yesterday was Ladley’s first official day at the restaurant, located at 405 N. Euclid Ave. Ladley joins the anchor restaurant in the Central West End having bid goodbye last weekend to Pastaria and The Dubliner, where he juggled jobs in both kitchens.

“I am stepping away from the kitchen,” said the restaurant’s co-owner Aaron Teitelbaum, who has helmed the back of the house at Herbie’s since purchasing the restaurant with business partner Jeff Orbin in 2008. “I will still be fully around, but Chris will be the executive chef,” said Teitelbaum, noting that he will be working side-by-side with Ladley until he “gets his feet wet.” Also teaming with Ladley will be sous chef Travis Odle.

{Chris Ladley, photographed at Herbie’s Vintage 72} 

Ladley, a St. Louis native, opened Wicked Lady Pub in October of 2010. When it closed some nine months later, he was hired to work at Brasserie and Taste; he also assisted with off-premise events for Niche. After a brief culinary-inspired trip to Paris in late 2011 and some time off, he returned to his hometown, accepting kitchen positions at The Dubliner and Pastaria. “So I’ve made the full Gerard Craft circuit,” chuckled Ladley. Being a frequent patron at Herbie’s, where his fiancee is a reservation manager, led to discussions with Orbin and Teitelbaum.

Teitelbaum emphasized that a change in the chef brigade does not mean a change in concept at Herbie’s. “Tradition is what has made us great. We are bringing Chris in to enhance and refine Herbie’s, but the concept and style and menu and the way that we operate will not change.”

Teitelbaum explained that the change will enable him and Orbin to “focus on building Monarch and improving the already great restaurant we have in Herbie’s.” Monarch, located at 7401 Manchester Road in Maplewood, closed as a restaurant last year and is now used as a private event space. “We’re working on the catering side of our company a little for 2013 because we want to start thinking of other projects in 2014,” said Teitelbaum. When asked if that meant another restaurant, he replied, “We are still unfocused on that right now. 2013 is about focusing on what we have and making it the best it can be.”

— photo by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Monarch to shutter in March

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Monarch is closing. After a search to move the Maplewood restaurant to a smaller location over the past year, owners Jeff Orbin and Aaron Teitelbaum have decided to close the restaurant that has stood at 7401 Manchester Road for the last nine years, according to a press release sent out this afternoon. Orbin and Teitelbaum, who also own Herbies in the Central West End, explained that a trio of problems – poor economic conditions, the sheer size of the restaurant and the “multitude of discount dining deal programs” – led to their decision.

“Unfortunately, the St. Louis dining population has been unable to adequately support a restaurant of our caliber and size, in our current location on a consistent basis,” the release said.

Executive chef Josh Galliano, who was named a semifinalist for a 2012 James Beard Foundation Award in the Best Chef: Midwest Category just this week, confirmed to The Scoop that, while he doesn’t know what his next moves will be, he plans to stick around.  “I’m privileged to stay in St. Louis to do what I do. I’ve made my culinary reputation in other cities and I’m making it here as a chef.”

There is a ray of sunshine for Orbin and Teitelbaum as well. Amid announcing the closure, Orbin and Teitelbaum also noted that they are looking to launch a new concept in fall 2012, with hopes of making the announcement this summer. Monarch will shutter its doors on Sunday, March 11.

See all our coverage of Monarch here.

The Scoop: Owner of Monarch, Herbie’s discusses changes, including more pay-what-you-like

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

072610_monarchDid the “pay what you like” promo at Monarch pay off? That was the question The Scoop posed to Jeff Orbin, who, along with co-owner Aaron Teitelbaum, is coming off of a month-long promotion that offered diners the option to pay what they felt their meal to be worth every Monday and Tuesday in January. The results? “Great!” said Orbin, “We got a lot of business. It was better than any coupon deal you could offer.”

By Orbin’s calculations, on promo nights, 32 percent of the checks were discounted, with diners giving themselves a discount on food that ranged between 17 and 23 percent. However, continued Orbin, Monarch experienced more than double the business that it would typically see on a Monday or Tuesday in the historically slow month. “We were doing upwards of 80, even 120 covers,” he said.

Orbin and Teitelbaum are pleased with the results, but what about the service staff and those in the back of the house? Servers apparently didn’t suffer from a loss of tips, Orbin said, and the kitchen liked the boost. “Sometimes when you have slow nights, the problem is that people get off their rhythm. When they are busy, they don’t have to stand around.”

Pay what you like was successful enough that restaurant-goers can expect the promo to reappear this year. “There are a couple of months that are historically just dogs; we’ll bring it back in a slow month,” said Orbin, adding that it made more sense to wait and offer the promo again later on in 2011. “What makes it special is to do it a few times throughout the year,” he said.

Orbin and Teitelbaum have also made changes at their other restaurant, Herbie’s Vintage ’72. Beginning Feb. 5, the Central West End restaurant will open for Saturday brunch, in addition to the ongoing Sunday brunch. Brunch runs both days from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. However, the restaurant is no longer serving lunch on weekdays. The bar at Herbie’s now opens on weekdays at 3 p.m.; happy hour starts at 4 p.m.

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