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Mar 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Alton’

Solera wine bar will open next month in Alton

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017




Illinois oenophiles will soon have another spot to enjoy their vino. Solera, a new wine bar, will open soon at 212 W. Third St., in Alton. Co-owner Chris Aldridge said he plans to open Solera by mid-September.

“We were in Mendoza, (Argentina) doing a wine tour, and they did such a nice job of educating us on winemaking and the different grapes and the history,” Aldridge said. “It was just inspirational, and I wanted to bring that back to Alton.”

While he wants to create a fun place to hang out, Aldridge said he also wants to help educate patrons on what they’re drinking, and bring in some bottles that are less commonly seen in the area.

Aldridge said the bar will feature wines by the glass and also a retail component. There will be 150 to 175 labels available to drink on site or take home. By-the-glass offerings will include four dry reds, four dry whites, four to six local wines from Illinois and Missouri, and a selection of sherries and ports. In addition to wine, Solera will also have a limited food menu.

“We’re going to try and focus on stuff that’s a little more local and a little less commonly found, at least on the Illinois side,” Aldridge said, including chocolate from Kakao Chocolate and charcuterie from Salume Beddu.

Solera will have approximately 38 seats inside with a few more outside and plans to be open Tuesday through Sunday.

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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4204 Main Street Brewing rebrands as The Perfect 10 in Alton

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4204 Main Street Brewing rebrands as The Perfect 10 in Alton

Friday, August 4th, 2017



4204 Main Street Brewing in Alton recently closed its doors, only to rebrand and open as The Perfect 10 Pub & Grill on Friday, July 28.

As reported by the Belleville News-Democrat, the new restaurant occupies the same space behind Alton Square Mall at 180 E. Center Drive.

4204’s director of marketing Rebecca Wuest said the concept of The Perfect 10 came from the sum of the numbers in the brewery’s name.

With a new name comes a new menu featuring items all priced less than $10 including burgers, chicken wings and endless sides. Daily specials include an entree, side and a tall glass of 4204 beer all for $10. “You get a good bang for your buck and still get access to craft beer,” Wuest said.

Customers can now get boozy milkshakes with their meals – an option that was not available before. Along with 4204 brews, The Perfect 10 also offers full bar access and soft drinks.

The interior of the 144-seat restaurant is “similar, but definitely updated,” Wuest said. Changes include different signage and paint, as well as new kitchen equipment.

“We’re really excited that we get to do this with Alton. The [owner’s] family grew up in Alton, and it’s important to us to show our hometown our support,” Wuest said.

Photo courtesy of The Perfect 10 

Caitlin Lally is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine. 

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The Scoop: Germania Brew Haus to serve coffee, beer in Alton

Thursday, April 20th, 2017



Alton will soon be home to a new destination for coffee and beer. Husband and wife team Jared and Carolyn Brynildsen will open Germania Brew Haus at 617 E. Broadway in late May.

The Brynildsens are active duty military officers, he with the Army and she with the Air Force. Jared grew up in Alton, and Carolyn spent some of her childhood in Troy, Illinois, though they didn’t meet until they were both deployed to Afghanistan. A mutual desire to participate in Alton’s revival led them to put down business roots – though they’re currently stationed in Hawaii.

The couple will remain in Hawaii and will keep tabs on the business remotely, but day-to-day operations will be handled by Jared Brynildsen’s brother, Ben Brynildsen, who has a background as a barista and bartender.

“Because we’re in the military, we’ve traveled all over the world, and we’ve seen many things we’ve liked, so we’ve compiled them into Germania Brew Haus,” said Jared Brynildsen.

Those things include brews two ways, coffee and beer, as well a convivial atmosphere. Germania Brew Haus will feature Crimson Cup coffee during the day, and it will turn into a taproom in the evenings with 16 craft beers and ciders on tap via a self-serve iPourIt system. Wine will also be available, though not via iPourIt.

Neighbor Frost Bakery, located down the street at 4 E. Broadway, will provide light bar fare like pretzels. Brynildsen said the space is meant to provide an environment for friends to hang out and converse over quality beverages.

“It’s not going to be a sports bar. There won’t be a bunch of TVs or loud music. It’s meant to stimulate social gatherings,” he said.

The Brynildsens bought the building, which was a bank in a former life, in March, and only minor renovations were needed. The space will have approximately 20 seats outside and 60 to 80 seats inside, including a quieter second-floor study and a private meeting room.

Photo courtesy of Germania Brew Haus

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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The Scoop: Alton gourmet popcorn shop reopens as PopUtopia

The Scoop: Alton gourmet popcorn shop reopens as PopUtopia

Monday, April 3rd, 2017



The Hive, a gourmet popcorn and confections shop in Alton, officially reopened under a new name last month. PopUtopia opened doors at 231 E. Delmar Road on March 11.

According to owner Rebecca Pattan, support from the Alton community kept the business afloat after the building’s owner closed the storefront in 2014. “We wanted to keep the store in Alton – this is home,” Pattan said. “We had a ton of support, text messages, phone calls, a Kickstarter – with the short attention span people have these days, that blew my mind.”

In addition to PopUtopia’s 150 flavors, the new store also features a taffy wall, nostalgia candies and bulk candies, as well as lighter, healthier popcorn flavors. Pattan said she aims to emphasize a sense of nostalgia through old-school service and fun, atomic decor.

“That’s my age, that’s what I grew up with. We want to do things the old-fashioned way with a really sincere sense of customer service,” she said. “This area needs and deserves really great specialty shops, to really create something our residents are hungry for – not necessarily popcorn, but that type of experience.”

PopUtopia is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy of PopUtopia

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Drink This Weekend Edition: Spruce Brown Ale at Old Bakery Beer Co.

Friday, December 2nd, 2016



The St. Louis beer scene is ripe with collaborations and local support. The most recent example can be found just across the Mississippi in Alton. Old Bakery Beer Co. has teamed up with The Nature Institute to offer a series of special brews showcasing ingredients locally foraged at TNI’s managed property. This series showcases 12 cask beers offered on the first Friday of every month through October 2017.

Each combination highlights a native Illinois plant and its importance to the environment. Over the course of this yearlong series, imbibers can vote for their favorite combination. Old Bakery will brew the winner at full scale and release it to the public at this time next year. And if that wasn’t enough, half of the proceeds from specialty beer sold benefits TNI’s research and education program.

The first in this series, a Persimmon Pub Ale, was offered in November during Alton Craft Beer Week, but fear not, local beer drinkers – the second cask is tapped tonight, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. Head to Alton for the Spruce Brown Ale, Old Bakery’s A-Town Brown Ale hopped up with Simcoe and Chinook and finished with spruce tips. It’s festive, creative and sure to be delicious served at cask temperature.

Can’t make it tonight for the second release? Cask No. 3, Hairy Mountain Porter – a porter brewed with Hairy Mountain mint – debuts Jan. 6, 2017.


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The Scoop: Templar Brewing to move to larger facility in Alton

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015




Templar Brewery is moving to the Milton Schoolhouse building at 1320 Milton Road in Alton, pending a city hearing. Owners Rick Blevens and his two sons, Richard and Nick Blevens, said the new space will give the brewery room to grow, and building features like a garage door will make operations more efficient. “Our brewery’s been growing at a pretty good rate since we started two years ago … we’re looking for a place that can support our business,” Richard Blevens said.

Templar currently sells its three brews – Crusader Golden Ale, Urban Brown Ale and Singulus IPA – wholesale in Illinois, but the Blevens hope to open a tap room in the new space later this year and add a wheat beer and Imperial stout. The first priority, he said, is settling into the new space by September 2015. “You’ve to do this like a game of chess. It’s one move at a time,” Blevens said.

The new location, owned by Joel and Meredith Elliot, already houses a dog grooming service and cafe, among other businesses. The Blevens plan to keep focused on serving the local area for the foreseeable future.


Hit List: 4 new places you must try this month

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015



1. Clementine’s Creamery: 1637 S. 18th St., St. Louis, 314.858.6100, clementinescreamery.com

Owner Tamara Keefe has peddled her rich ice creams to dozens of St. Louis-area restaurants since last fall, and now customers can snatch up “naughty” (alcohol-infused) and “nice” (non-alcoholic) creations any time at the petite shop in Lafayette Square. A rotating selection of 24 ice creams is made ultra-creamy thanks to a high 16- to 18-percent butterfat content. Try flavors like Manchego with Truffles and Honey (featuring local label Woodside) or Salted Crack Caramel swirled with house-made caramel and chocolate-covered cracker candy. Chocoholics can indulge in the luxurious (and surprisingly vegan) Coconut Chocolate Fudge made with Patric chocolate. Order your scoops in a house-made waffle cone (pictured) or, for a sophisticated sundae, get a waffle bowl and top your selection with house hot fudge lightly spiced with cumin and cinnamon.


2. Elijah P.’s: 401 Piasa St., Alton, 618.433.8445, elijahps.com

Alton has stepped up its restaurant game in recent months, and the newest addition to the roster is Elijah P.’s, serving up creative burgers, hearty appetizers and plenty of suds. The massive space boasts more than 200 seats between the large dining room, bar and spacious outdoor pavilion. Chef Jarvis Putnam helms the kitchen, creating a menu of approachable dishes like potato croquettes studded with ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano, breaded with crushed potato chips and served with house-made ranch dressing. Burgers make up the core of Elijah P.’s entrees (order the BaconJamBrie), but generously sized appetizers like littleneck clams (pictured) swimming in a fragrant broth of chorizo, white wine, tequila, clam juice and garlic can easily serve as a meal. Among the 60 draft brews and 40 bottled varieties, look for Alton breweries Templar and Old Bakery Beer, heavy hitters from The Lou like 4 Hands and Urban Chestnut, and numerous other standout beers from the Midwest.


3. Tiny Bar: 1008 Locust St., St. Louis, 314.800.7218, tinybarstl.com

This diminutive downtown cocktail bar squeezes in 10 seats – and that’s if three people don’t mind getting cozy on the couch. With real estate at a premium, quality trumps quantity behind the bar. The cocktail menu, created by Planter’s House co-owner Ted Charak, shakes up classic cocktails like martinis and Manhattans, as well as a few originals. The 1/8th Cocktail, an eight-part sipper that’s fruity and rum-forward, was made in tribute to Eddie Gaedel, the dwarf with a brief baseball career as No. 1/8 for the St. Louis Browns. Five rotating local draft brews are also available, as well as glass pours of exactly one red, white, rosé and sparkling wine. Petite patrons, note the 5-Foot Special: a 25-percent discount for those shorter than 60 inches.


4. Kingside Diner: 4651 Maryland Ave., St. Louis, 314.454.3957, kingsidediner.com 

Traditional diner fare gets the royal treatment at Kingside Diner. Located next to Saint Louis Chess Club, the chess-themed daily eatery features fare fit for a king but sold at plebeian prices. If breakfast is on your mind any time of day, order the Kingside Slinger, which piles pulled pork, chorizo chili and fried eggs atop crispy hash browns. Those who waver between waffles and French toast don’t have to choose with Waffled French Toast, brioche that bathes for a day in French toast batter before getting pressed in the waffle iron. For lunch, try the Trout and Greens Salad, or dig into the Thanksgiving All Year sandwich (pictured), which combines the flavors of the best food holiday into one giant sammie.

-Clementine’s photo by Meera Nagarajan, all others by Michelle Volansky 

Eat This: Gooey Butter Cake from Spoon Baking Co.

Sunday, May 17th, 2015



St. Louis knows a thing or two about Gooey Butter Cake, so we do not make the following statement lightly: Spoon Baking Co. has raised the bar for our city’s classic dessert. A cookie-like crust is sturdy enough to stand up to a fork, yet meltingly tender on the tongue. It cradles a remarkable soft-centered filling that hits the perfect balance of pure sugar and luscious butter. Grab your keys and hit the road – this is one of the best gooey butter cakes you’ll find east or west of the Mississippi.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

First Look: Elijah P’s in Alton

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015



Alton is experiencing something of a foodie renaissance of late, with recent openings that include the massive Old Bakery Beer Co., the petite Spoon Baking Co., and the rockin’ bar-music venue Shakers. Now a new restaurant has entered the downtown scene: Elijah P’s quietly opened doors at the end of April, serving up creative burgers, hearty appetizers and plenty of suds.

As The Scoop reported in March, owner Russ Smith named the restaurant, located at 401 Piasa St., for Elijah P. Lovejoy, the Alton newspaper editor and abolitionist murdered by a pro-slavery mob in 1837. The name is just one nod to the river town’s past. The walls of the 8,000-square-foot eatery are decked with framed maps and prints extolling attractions and historical events from the 19th and early-20th centuries, and even the 17-seat bar was restored from a 1930s riverboat.

Smith, who co-owns Alton nightspot Bossanova, completely renovated a former furniture store, dividing the space into a 100-seat dining room, a private 70-person party room and a gaming room that will soon see video poker machines. Outside, a full 2 acres sees a 100-seat pavilion and ample parking.

Bossanova chef Jarvis Putnam also helms the Elijah P’s kitchen, creating a menu of familiar dishes with creative twists like house-made toasted ravioli breaded with crushed walnuts and pine nuts and served with a tomato-vodka sauce. Ten burgers are offered, all served on buttered house-made buns.

Sixty tap handles and 70 whiskey bottles gleam behind the bar. Two house cicerones have curated a wide selection of draft and bottled brews. Local heavy hitters like Civil Life and Urban Chestnut pour alongside local nanobreweries, such as Alton’s Templar and Scratch Brewing from Ava, Illinois.

Elijah P’s is currently open from 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Here’s a first look at what to expect at Alton’s newest restaurant:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: Shakers

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015



From the outside, the building at 554 E. Broadway in Alton doesn’t look like much. But follow your ears – and your nose – inside, where local bands keep Shakers rocking all night long. Married co-owners Paul and Lisa Light quietly opened their new bar on weekends in March, and they are now open for regular business Tuesday through Sunday.

The Lights have long been a fixture in the local music scene; Paul Light operated bar and music venue The Lighthouse in Alton for 15 years. The two decided to create a space where their passion for music and the arts would also provide a venue for Lisa Light’s daughter, chef Lauren Everhart Washburn, to showcase her culinary abilities.

Three performance spaces are spread through the two-story, 4,000-square-foot space. Two smaller stages frame the entrance, and customers can stroll to the back of the building where a new, much larger stage is nearly completed. Order a bottle of beer at the bar, then grab one of 80 seats downstairs and settle in for the night’s entertainment, or head up the large metal staircase to the bright, airy second floor and watch the sunset over the Mississippi River.

Washburn serves up a different kind of pub grub; deep-fried fare is eschewed in favor of made-to-order paninis, wraps and house-made flatbreads. Weekends see additional items like baked jalapenos stuffed with apple, cream cheese and bacon, as well as a rotating selection of stuffed mushrooms and fresh salsa and chips.

Shakers is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Here, a first look at one of Alton’s newest nightspots:


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Editor’s Note: This post originally located Shakers at 544 E. Broadway St. It has been updated to correct the error. 

-photos by Michelle Volansky 

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