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Feb 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Audra Luedde’

The Libertine will close for good this weekend

Thursday, January 4th, 2018



The Libertine has announced doors will close this weekend. In a Facebook post, owners Nick and Audra Luedde said the Clayton eatery’s last night of service will be Saturday, Jan. 6:

“We will be ending operations as The Libertine so as to focus our collective efforts on a brand new restaurant concept that we will be announcing the details of later this month … so stay tuned!”

The Lueddes went on to say in the post that while they looked forward to the new project, closing The Libertine would be “truly bittersweet.”

“The Luedde family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of you for the past five years of unforgettable moments that only a night at The Libertine could provide.

“Audra and I will cherish the great times we shared with all of you at The Libertine and we will truly never forget them. I am so proud of what we have done at The Libertine, its contributions to the STL culinary scene and what The Libertine represented.

“We are so grateful to our staff, family, patrons and friends who have made the experience of operating The Libertine so unforgettable!

“Again, thank you to everyone that helped make The Libertine a truly special place and we look forward to feeding you all very soon!”

The Libertine opened to critical acclaim in May 2013 with chef Josh Galliano at the helm. In June 2015, Galliano left the Clayton eatery for Companion Bakery, and chef Matt Bessler took over the kitchen. Farmtruk chef-owner Samantha Mitchell took the top toque in April 2017.

Mitchell said she won’t continue on with the Lueddes’ new concept. Instead she will focus on Farmtruk and participating in the upcoming food truck court, Court Louie, located at 4001 Utah St., which will have its soft opening on Friday, Jan. 19.

Nick and Audra Luedde did not immediately return requests for comment.

Photo by Jonathan Gayman 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Farmtruk’s Samantha Mitchell named executive chef at The Libertine

• The Libertine’s Josh Galliano to join Companion Bakery, Schlafly chef Matt Bessler to replace Galliano

• Review: The Libertine


The Scoop: The Libertine’s Josh Galliano to join Companion Bakery, Schlafly chef Matt Bessler to replace Galliano

Monday, June 15th, 2015




Executive chef Josh Galliano is leaving The Libertine and joining the bread-baking crew at Companion beginning June 22. Galliano’s last day at the Clayton eatery, which he has helmed since it opened in May 2013, is this Thursday, June 18.

“I’m going to be … learning the ins and outs of everything they do,” Galliano said, noting his recent fascination with fermentation. “It’s stuff I want to know about. This allows me to delve into (bread baking) more and to do it with training wheels on because these guys are pros at it.”

Companion owner Josh Allen likened Galliano’s position to that of a bread production manager. In addition to his interest in baking and food science, Allen said Galliano also brings “tremendous leadership skills and a great mentoring ability” to Companion. He also said Galliano’s skills as a chef will be used when Companion moves to a larger facility in Maryland Heights Sept. 1.

The new location will have an educational center with a baking school and a full-service bakery and cafe. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for both of us,” Allen said. “(Josh) is always posting pictures on Instagram about baking bread, and he’s kind of a science geek at heart.”

Galliano’s departure means that Matt Bessler, former chef at Schlafly Bottleworks will helm the kitchen at The Libertine. Bessler, a longtime friend of co-owners Nick and Audra Luedde, started his career at Schlafly in 2000 and worked his way from prep cook to chef with an emphasis on farm-to-table cuisine.

“Josh knew for months that he was going to move on to Companion,” said Nick Luedde, who wished Galliano well in his future endeavors. “Ultimately we’re a family restaurant and a close team … (Bessler) will be true to the heart of The Libertine.”

The Libertine kitchen will also see the departure of chef de cuisine Josh Poletti, who confirmed he is leaving for another opportunity. His last day is also June 18. However, sous chef William Volny will stay on to work with Bessler on the new menu, which Luedde said will change from “fine dining where people can only afford to eat once a month to a place where the neighborhood can come out once a week and not burn a hole in their pocketbooks.”

Bessler’s new menu will include a more traditional format – appetizers, entrees and sides – and also feature sharable items that can serve two to 20.


Ligaya Figueras, Kristin Schultz and Catherine Klene contributed to this report.

In This Issue: New and Notable – The Libertine

Thursday, September 12th, 2013



Deadline be damned, I wanted fried chicken. Specifically, I wanted Josh Galliano’s fried chicken: the deep-fried, crunchy, spicy bird that I – and seemingly half of St. Louis – devoured last year at his one-night pop-up event. This was well after Monarch (where most of us first fell under the spell of Galliano’s chicken) had closed, so there was much pent-up demand and curiosity about what he was going to pull out of the skillet this time. Since then, the New Orleans transplant put on another pop-up (gumbo-themed) and designed and executed the meat MX Movies downtown.

Earlier this year, Nick and Audra Luedde tapped Galliano to head the kitchen at The Libertine, their new restaurant in downtown Clayton; and you thought all that buzz you heard was the cicada invasion. Nick is a practiced mixologist, sommelier and restaurateur, while Audra is a master chef and sommelier. A year ago the husband and wife team moved to St. Louis (Nick’s hometown) from Chicago to open The Libertine.

To read more about our reviewer’s thoughts on The Libertine, click here.

-Photo by Jonathan Gayman



Sneak Peek: The Libertine

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Since owners Nick and Audra Luedde announced in January that they were teaming up with local chef talent Josh Galliano, buzz has been building about The Libertine.

The Libertine, located at 7927 Forsyth Blvd., in the old Chez Leon space, will officially join the Clayton restaurant scene on Tuesday, May 14. Described as “a reimagined neighborhood eatery that serves accessible yet ingredient-driven food,” the restaurant’s menu is divided into three categories – vegetable, meat and seafood – plus desserts. Dishes range from small bites to entree-size portions to small plates intended for sharing. The menu also features numerous house-made items, including bread, cheese, charcuterie and desserts. Like the food menu, drink options spotlight local products – whether in a handcrafted cocktail or a pint of beer – rounded out by small production and boutique wines.

When the Libertine opens, it will serve dinner daily, except Mondays, beginning at 5 p.m. Lunch service is expected to be added later this year. Reservations are accepted but are not required. They can be made by phone at 314.862.2999 or online at www.libertinestl.com.

For a sneak peek at what’s in store at The Libertine, head to our Facebook page.

The Scoop: Josh Galliano to open The Libertine with restaurateurs Nick and Audra Luedde

Friday, January 4th, 2013

UPDATE 1.8.13: Co-owner Nick Luedde expects to sign a lease for The Libertine within the next few days at 7927 Forsyth Blvd., in Clayton. This is the former home of Chez Leon, Leon Bierbaum’s upscale French restaurant that closed in May of last year. Luedde noted that, although the contract has yet to be signed, the terms still being negotiated are “all minor stuff.” St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe broke the news of the location, which Luedde has now confirmed to The Scoop.

Ever since Monarch restaurant closed in March of last year, St. Louisans have been waiting for news on what its executive chef, Josh Galliano, would do next. The wait is over. Galliano is teaming up with restaurateurs Nick and Audra Luedde to open The Libertine this spring. An announcement regarding the restaurant’s location is expected in the coming weeks, though Galliano did tell The Scoop that it will be in Missouri, not Illinois.

According to a press release, The Libertine will be a “reminagined neighborhood eatery” that combines the “warmth and easy one finds in their favorite local ‘everyday’ eatery.” It went on to say that it will “defy convention with fresh and creative cuisine, exemplary drink and impeccable service, all provided in a space that is fun, comfortable, but also stylish and perhaps, even a little bit sexy.”

The culinary focus will be to offer the “nuance and flavor” of top-tier restaurants but “without the pretension or the hefty price tag.” The menu, comprised entirely of shared plates, will be divided into the three categories: vegetables, meat and seafood. Galliano will prepare numerous items in-house, including bread, cheese, charcuterie and desserts. Initially, the restaurant will only offer dinner service; lunch service is anticipated later in the year.

The beverage program, under Nick Luedde’s direction, will include “modernized parlor cocktails” prepared using fresh and house-made ingredients, as well a diverse assortment of eclectic, value-driven wines and a selection of small-production craft beer. Nick Luedde, a St. Louis native, and his wife, Audra Luedde, have extensive experience in the beverage world. He is a sommelier and mixologist with 15 years of experience, including time working at restaurants and nightclubs in New York and Chicago, and has been recognized as Chicago’s Best Sommelier and Best Mixologist-Midwest. He also received The Wine Spectator’s Grand Award of Excellence.

According to the release, the design of The Libertine will be inspired by “the pared down styles of the early 19th century English Georgian and French Directory. The English club and the French salon were the beginning of the modern venue for socializing and drinking. The project will not only use stylistic cues from these precedents but, more importantly, will use spatial references: exposed brick, glass, metal, industrial accents and clear hand-blown glass along with rich accented lighting to create places of intimacy conducive to the art of conversation.”

Since Monarch shuttered, Galliano has kept busy. He launched a couple of one-day-only pop-up restaurants in August and September, and he recently signed on to design the menu for MX Movies, the new dine-in movie theater slated to open in the Mercantile Exchange downtown.  We’ll have more on The Libertine, including location details, as we learn them.

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