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Jan 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Brazell’

First Look: Mac’s Local Eats in Dogtown

Monday, March 6th, 2017



Last year, a broken sewage line during Game 7 of the World Series shuttered Tamm Avenue Grill for several months, during which the Dogtown bar and restaurant underwent a total renovation. During the hiatus, co-owner Bob Brazell (who also co-owns Byrd & Barrel and upcoming Good Fortune) said he and his partners decided to up the bar’s food game.

They approached Chris “Mac” McKenzie of local food distributor Mac’s Local Buys to start a new concept that would a step or two above the usual bar food. McKenzie partnered with Completely Sauced owner Bob Komanetsky to operate an independent kitchen inside Tamm Avenue Grill. And so Mac’s Local Eats was born on Thursday, Feb. 2.

Mac’s menu features items made with premium ingredients like dry-aged beef for the smashed burgers (which come in single, double, triple and quadruple patty versions), sausage links and boudin balls. Most everything at Mac’s is made in-house, and since Mac’s buys whole animals, the menu frequently changes.

McKenzie said sometime before May, he’ll open Mac’s Local Market in the same building, where he’ll offer fresh cuts of meats and other local products. The market will also serve as Mac’s Local Buys HQ for CSA and meat share pickups.


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Photos by Michelle Volansky

Related Content
The Scoop: The Corner Cup coffee shop opens in Dogtown

The Scoop: Chef Bob Brazell launches catering business, revamps The Corner Cup menu

The Scoop: Good Fortune finds a home in Botanical Heights

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017



{ Rendering of the future home of Good Fortune in Botanical Heights }


Highly anticipated Chinese-American restaurant Good Fortune has finally found a home. Co-owner Corey Smale announced today, Feb. 8, that the restaurant will open this July in the Botanical Heights neighborhood.

Smale, former co-owner of Strange Donuts, purchased a building at 1654 Tower Grove Ave., with attorney James P. Sanders and realtor Chris Hulse. The trio will be the landlords, with Good Fortune as the tenant. The upcoming eatery is also co-owned by Bob Brazell, Ryan McDonald and Hana Chung of Byrd & Barrel.

Good Fortune announced its inception last year and was on the hunt for a location for several months. The team hosted several pop-ups and collaboration dinners around town, introducing people to its takes on Chinese-American fare.

J.P. Burcks will provide arts and graphics for the project, and Gabe McKee and V Three Studios will handle architecture duties. The building, which was constructed in 1954, was most recently a day care facility. Smale said there’s a lot of work to be done before the doors open.

“It’s pretty gnarly right now,” Smale said. “We’re going to keep the bricks and floor and whatever we can. We’ll make it ours.”

While construction is underway, Good Fortune will host some more pop-up events to whet the public’s appetite, including a 12-course collaboration with chef Mike Randolph at Half & Half in Clayton on Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25.

The Scoop: Parlor to open in The Grove

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016


A new arcade bar is coming to The Grove as five co-owners prepare to open Parlor in next spring or summer at 4170 Manchester Road. As reported by Feast, the hangout will feature pool tables a rotating selection of classic and modern pinball and cabinet games, as well as a drink menu of local craft beer and classic, straightforward cocktails.

“We want to be the neighborhood bar,” said co-owner Sean Baltzell. “There are a lot of party bars in The Grove to dance in until 3 in the morning, but there’s a lack of places with that neighborhood bar feel.”

Baltzell also owns Tower Classic Tattoo in The Grove and Knife & Flag aprons, and has ownership stakes in Union Barber Shop, City Tattoo and Alton Tattoo. Fellow Grove business owner Mike Cracchiolo of The Ready Room, veteran barman Casey Colgan, Casey Watson and Josh Martin round out the ownership team.

While Parlor will not have a kitchen, the bar will team up with Byrd & Barrel by way of a food truck, which will be parked adjacent to the 50-seat patio on Kentucky Avenue. Byrd & Barrel owner Bob Brazell is currently looking for a school bus to convert into the Nug Bus. In addition to serving the South City restaurant’s chicken nuggets (aka Nugz), Brazell plans to offer some of the same sides his brick-and-mortar does, including the tots and mac and cheese, as well as some funkier offerings.

“We’re still working on it,” Brazell said. “But I can see people eating fresh pork rinds with hot sauce and playing video games.”

While the design has not been finalized, Brazell plans to have a service window facing Kentucky Avenue so that Parlor patrons – and others walking by – can get a bite.

Parlor hopes to join booking forces with The Ready Room and offer music and live DJs to an after-show crowd. Look for Parlor to be open from 3 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. daily.


The Scoop: Tommy Andrew to join kitchen at Byrd & Barrel

Friday, September 25th, 2015



The band is getting back together. Tommy Andrew is slated to man the line as sous chef at just-opened Byrd & Barrel. He will join co-owner and chef Bob Brazell, as well as fellow chefs and cooks Ryan McDonald, Drew Sedlack and Luke Cockson. Andrew and McDonald first met in the kitchen at Monarch, and their paths have since crossed at eateries around town including Juniper and Truffles.

Andrew, a member of this year’s Ones to Watch class, currently serves as head butcher and sous chef at Truffles Butchery under executive chef Steven Caravelli. Andrew and McDonald worked together at Butchery until McDonald left for Byrd & Barrel in June.

Andrew’s first day at the new fast-casual fried chicken shack will be around Oct. 8, and he’s anxious to get back in the kitchen. “I haven’t cooked in a year and I’ve missed it,” he said.

Byrd & Barrel currently uses Andrew’s Inappropriate Apiaries honey in its sweet chili honey sauce, but Brazell recruited his former co-worker for more than his culinary chops. “He’s an amazing chef,” Brazell said. “And his attitude is the best. He’ll do anything for anybody.”


-photo by Carmen Troesser

Sneak Peek: Byrd & Barrel in South City

Thursday, September 24th, 2015



Smooth your feathers and grab your appetites on Friday, Sept. 25, when Byrd & Barrel  opens its doors at 3422 S. Jefferson Ave., in St. Louis for flocks of fryer fanatics.

As The Scoop reported in November 2014, Bob Brazell announced his plans to open a fast-casual chicken shack in a former Popeye’s in South City, complete with dine-in and drive-thru options.

Unlike traditional deep-fried chicken, Brazell uses a pressure fryer to quickly fry his buttermilk-marinated fried chicken, available by the piece, bucket or as boneless chicken “nuggz.” Sides include mashed red potatoes and fried chicken gravy, kale cole slaw, Provel mac-n-cheese and house-made tater tots. Wash it all down with one of 11 varieties of Vess soda or a sudsy 58-cans list of beer from 4 Hands to Hamm’s.

While fried chicken dominates the menu, Byrd & Barrel does not put all its eggs in one basket. Start with one of six appetizers featuring everything from fried chicken skins to roasted cauliflower. Sandwiches are also up for grabs, including a fried chicken-liver bahn mi or the larger than life Mother Clucker. Byrd & Barrel will offer daily specials, one of which will be vegetarian or vegan friendly.

The fast-casual eatery just south of Cherokee Street seats about 40 inside at banquets and two bar-style areas; another two dozen spots available outside. Starting Monday, Sept. 28, patrons won’t even have get out of the car to get a fix; a pared-down version of the menu will be available at its drive-thru.

Byrd & Barrel will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Here’s a sneak peek and what to expect when the fryers heat up tomorrow.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

The Scoop: Bob Brazell to open fast-casual fried chicken spot near Cherokee

Monday, November 17th, 2014



Bob Brazell, former executive chef at Athlete Eats, is bringing a new riff on chicken to the old Popeye’s at 3422 S. Jefferson Ave., with a fast-casual concept, Byrd & Barrel. As first reported by St. Louis Magazine, Byrd & Barrel, which is slated to open in January, will allow on-the-go guests to zip through the drive-thru, while others can enjoy the sit-down dining space and bar.

“This is an idea I’ve had for a while,” explained Brazell, who left his post at Athlete Eats in August to launch his catering business Snack STL, which he will continue to operate. “We found this location at Jefferson and Cherokee, and being that it was an old Popeye’s, we decided it would be a chicken-focused restaurant … We want to give people the opportunity to get good, locally sourced food from a drive-thru.”

One of Brazell’s partners is Ben Strake, who also co-owns Tamm Avenue Grill and The Corner Cup, where Brazell recently consulted on the menu. Another partner is Mike Rostek, who has worked for the past eight years at Entertainment Consultants International, most recently as the operations executive at Ballpark Village and a managing partner of PBR St. Louis. Brazell said Strake will handle the marketing and business end of Byrd & Barrel, while Rostek will focus on front-of-house matters.

Brazell plans to feature chicken from different local purveyors in weekly specials. “You’re going to see a lot of different cultural influences on the food,” he said, citing everything from Asian- to Mexican-inspired menu items that push past the expected fried chicken. Some dishes will have their own local flair, such as the Provel-laced mac-n-cheese topped with a mixture of breadcrumbs and Red Hot Riplets (one of Brazell’s favorite guilty pleasures).

Since Brazell plans to cook everything to order, the drive-thru menu will be streamlined with a smaller selection of fried chicken with sides, soups, salads and sandwiches. “It’s not fast food,” explained Brazell. “It’s food that you want to eat.” There will be more options for those who dine in, including starters and a wider selection of main entrees.

With about 50 varieties, canned beer will certainly dominate the beverage list, but Brazell mentioned bottle-only breweries will not be excluded. Wine and a modest list of specialty cocktails will also be available.

Renovations to the dining room and kitchen are currently underway, and Brazell estimates that there will be around 30 seats, inside while the patio will add an additional 45 during warmer weather. Byrd & Barrel will offer lunch and dinner and will likely cater to the late-night Cherokee crowd. “It’s going to be a good atmosphere where people want to go and hang out,” Brazell said.

-photo by Greg Rannells

The Scoop: Chef Bob Brazell launches catering business, revamps The Corner Cup menu

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014



Chef Bob Brazell, former executive chef at Athlete Eats, has recently launched Snack STL, a catering business that will also offer the occasional pop-up dinner. Brazell said he hopes to collaborate with other local chefs and food purveyors, and menus will vary widely depending on the event.  “I enjoy cooking everything from Southern to Korean to Thai to Mexican,” Brazell said.

At Athlete Eats, Brazell created clean, low-carb, high-energy foods as the restaurant’s executive chef. Before that he cooked at Entre, Monarch and Niche and worked as a personal chef to professional athletes like Sam Bradford.

Brazell also plans to consult for area restaurants, beginning with a new menu at The Corner Cup in Dogtown that focuses on specific dietary needs and lifestyles. The rotating menu has lots of vegan, vegetarian and paleo choices using only locally sourced meats. Diners can also build their own burritos, omelets and breakfast sandwiches.

“We have a really great group of regulars now, and we’re interested in driving people here from all over St. Louis who are interested in quality and locally sourced food,” said Joe Buechler, general manager at The Corner Cup.

New menu highlights include apple-cinnamon French toast topped with caramelized apples and candied walnuts and drizzled with a coconut milk-horchata glaze, paleo pumpkin pancakes topped with toasted cashews and a coconut maple glaze, and a breakfast meatloaf made from grass-fed beef and topped with an egg from Cock and Bull Farms.

The Corner Cup chef Sean Gibson phased in the new menu two weeks ago, served 7 a.m. to noon Thursday through Monday. One staple that won’t change is Buechler’s house-made granola bars, packed with nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter, honey, toasted oats and a vegan protein. The Corner Cup has also added catering, delivering “meetings to go,” with coffee and pastries, and Buechler said he will soon add hot onsite breakfasts as well.

-photo by Greg Rannells


The Scoop: Fill up, stay fit at Athlete Eats

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014


Maybe you go to Cherokee Street for Mexican cuisine. Or perhaps for the vibrant bar scene or tasty baked goods. Soon, you’ll be able to hit the main business district of this bustling neighborhood for healthy drinks, snacks and meals.

Athlete Eats is opening in early February at 2837 Cherokee St. The company was founded two years ago by Simon Lusky, currently the team chef and nutrition specialist for the St. Louis Cardinals. At the time, Lusky held a similar position for the St. Louis Rams. What began as a small business cooking for players in the off-season has grown into prepared meals sold at area gyms such as some CrossFit locations and Nutraformance in Frontenac. Some six months ago, Lusky connected with local chef Bob Brazell (whose resume includes kitchen time at Mosaic, Niche, Monarch, Prime 1000, Pi at the MX, Gringo and most recently with chef John Perkins’ pop-up Agrarian and catering arm Entre). “We realized we both have the same belief in food and what we want to do locally,” Brazell said. So the pair decided to expand Athlete Eats with a sit-down location.

The tiny, 11-seat cafe will offer made-to-order juices and smoothies and even house-made kombucha on tap at its juice bar. Artisan coffees and loose teas also will be available. The food menu will rotate with a mere five items on the chalkboard at one time. Customers on the go can stop in and grab prepared snacks and meals.

When doors are unlocked, Athlete Eats will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.



The Scoop: Tracking a trio of chefs

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Three area chefs are making newsworthy moves. First, Bob Brazell has been hired as executive chef at Gringo, a Mexican eatery expected to open in mid-April at 398 N. Euclid Ave., in the Central West End. Brazell, promoted from his current position as kitchen manager at Pi Pizzeria’s newest location downtown at the Mercantile Exchange, is climbing the internal ladder for Euclid Hospitality Group, that also owns the Pi family of restaurants. Prior to joining Pi, Brazell worked as sous chef at Prime 1000 and spent time at Monarch and Niche. While Brazell will helm the kitchen at Gringo, Steven Caravelli remains corporate chef for the restaurant group. The announcement of Brazell’s hire was made yesterday from Gringo’s Twitter handle.

In more chef news, Rob Uyemura (pictured) has left his post as executive chef at Ya Ya’s Euro Bistro, as reported last week by the Post-Dispatch’s Joe Bonwich. Uyemura, whose final day at the Chesterfield bistro was January 9, served as executive chef since 2005 and clocked a total of 15 years with Ya Ya’s parent company PB&J Restaurants.

“I got a lot of things going on,” responded Uyemura when asked about his departure. “I’m trying to get my company going, called Local Chef STL.” Uyemura’s company includes a farming operation with a CSA component. It will also provide farm-to-school lunches, he explained. He noted that he is seeking a location to start a production kitchen. “It was just time to focus on that and part ways with Ya Ya’s – let them do their thing and let me continue to do my thing,” he summed. Look for Uyemura’s Local Chef STL website to launch in the coming weeks and for its Facebook page to be updated soon.

Finally, Eric Brenner, former chef-owner of Moxy, chef consultant and most recently chief culinary officer for Bold Organics, has a new project: to open Alumni St. Louis. Brenner told St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe that Alumni St. Louis, set to open this spring downtown at 200 N. 13th St., will  “celebrate the people, places and food that make St. Louis great.” The Riverfront Times’ Ian Froeb first noticed Brenner’s return to his hometown.

— photo by Jonathan Gayman

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