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Oct 22, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Botanical Heights’

Good Fortune finds another home in Botanical Heights

Friday, September 29th, 2017

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Good Fortune, the long-anticipated modern Chinese-American eatery from Bob Brazell, Ryan McDonald and Hannah Chung of Byrd & Barrel and Corey Smale, former co-owner of Strange Donuts, has found a new home once again.

Smale said Good Fortune will open for business at 1641 Tower Grove Ave., in the Botanical Heights neighborhood – just across the street from its former announced location at 1654 Tower Grove Ave.

“This is the third location we’ve said it was going to be at,” said Smale. “It’s been a long road. Although I would’ve liked to have been making money awhile ago, I’m thankful for the way that it’s going. I have so much confidence in this location and in the team.”

As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the building, which formerly served as the headquarters of Hoffmann Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning Inc., was recently purchased by restaurateur Ben Pormeba, who owns several restaurants in the area, including Elaia, Olio and Nixta.

Poremba said there eventually will be a total of three or four businesses calling the location home, though Good Fortune is the only tenant to have signed a lease so far. He said that construction is set to begin on the space next week. Poremba said as of right now, he has no plans to open another restaurant in the building.

Smale said the 1,500-square-foot space will have approximately 30 seats and should be ready to open by the end of the year.

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
Good Fortune finds a home in Botanical Heights

Nixta earns spot on Bon Appétit’s top 10 new restaurants list

Ben Poremba to open Mexican restaurant, Nixta, in former Old Standard space

Extra Sauce: Top 10 Sneak Peeks of 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

From new arcade bars downtown to long-awaited breweries in Maplewood, here are the 10 places you couldn’t wait to check out before they opened in 2016.

Don’t miss out! Follow Sauce Magazine on Facebook and Twitter to get Sneak Peeks and First Looks of the latest St. Louis-area restaurant, bar and shop openings.

 

 

1. First Look: Start Bar downtown

2. Sneak Peek: Farm to You Market in Washington

 

 

3. Sneak Peek: Sardella in Clayton

4. Sneak Peek: The Sliced Pint in downtown St. Louis

5. Sneak Peek: Wicked Greenz in Clayton

 

 

6. Sneak Peek: Side Project Brewing in Maplewood

7. Sneak Peek: Yolklore in Crestwood

8. First Look: Catrinas in Edwardsville

 

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9. First Look: Nathaniel Reid Bakery in Kirkwood

10. Sneak Peek: Nixta in Botanical Heights

Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Related Content

10 Best New Restaurants of 2016

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2016

Extra Sauce: Top 10 Scoops of 2016

 

 

Best New Restaurants: No. 5 – Nixta

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened: St. Louis’ 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016.

 

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{ from left, chef Tello Carreón and owner Ben Poremba}

Surrounded by hip Latin music and tropical plants at Nixta’s recent soft opening, we kept spontaneously exhaling and saying, “This feels like vacation.” Along with the bright, beachy colors and dim, candlelit atmosphere of Ben Poremba’s newest restaurant, the menu is strewn with flowers and fruit: ceviche served with a fragrant, viscid sphere of rose water espuma; pork belly al pastor topped with caramelized pineapple pico de gallo; a sea scallop in a pool of green, bergamot-infused aguachile sprinkled with tiny whole blooms.

This pretty chiaroscuro of rich meats and delicate seafoods, deep dark mole and bright vegetal spice, is thanks to executive chef Tello Carreón. He’s the reason Poremba wanted to open a Mexican restaurant.

They got to know each other in the kitchen of Poremba’s fine-dining restaurant Elaia, just down the street. “I like his cooking a lot and thought a modern take on Mexican food – his kind of food – would make a great restaurant,” Poremba said. Why look outside – why go to New York to research new ideas – when you have such talent inside your own St. Louis kitchens?

Carreón’s passion for creativity is reflected in unexpected dishes, like the tuna tostada with lime-white shoyu glaze, and in more traditional offerings he grew up eating. “What I’m trying to say is you don’t have to be stuck with the same ingredients,” Carreón said. Which is why he paired his grandma’s classic mole recipe with braised beef cheeks instead of the expected chicken.

“I like to have dishes fresh and more alive than you typically find them. I want to elevate them a little more – bring them to life,” Carreón said. “I think I have the taste, the cuisine that people want to try.”

We think so too, jefe.

 

More about Nixta

• Sneak Peek: Nixta in Botanical Heights

• The Scoop: Ben Poremba to open Mexican restaurant, Nixta, in former Old Standard space

The Scoop: Old Standard Fried Chicken to close

Photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: Ben Poremba to open Mexican restaurant, Nixta, in former Old Standard space

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

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Three months after closing Old Standard Fried Chicken, Ben Poremba has a new concept ready to debut: Nixta, a Mexican restaurant at 1621 Tower Grove Ave. A soft opening is slated for Nov. 11. “I’ve opened many restaurants in the past five years,” Poremba said. “This one is as exciting as Olio.”

Don’t expect endless bowls of chips and salsa or a long list of tacos. Nixta’s menu will focus on the complex styles and techniques found in traditional Mexican cooking. “It’s a Mexican restaurant, but not in the traditional American sense of the word,” Poremba said. “It’s mostly inspired by street food, but it’s also inspired by my partner chef Tello Carreon’s grandmother’s cooking.”

Carreon spent the past two years as chef de cuisine at Elaia, and the previous year and a half between Elaia and Olio’s kitchens. “Tello appeals to me. I’ve been working side by side with him. We’ve been toying with ideas to showcase his cuisine,” Poremba said.

Dishes will also see some South American and Spanish influences, which Poremba said run parallel to the Mediterranean and North African influences he’s known for at Olio. Dishes include pepita guacamole, grilled octopus with mole, roasted pork shoulder, braised beef cheek mole and more. The bar program will focus on pisco drinks.

 

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{Bengelina Hospitality Group owner Ben Poremba}

 

The Mexican restaurant is only one project in the works for Bengelina Hospitality Group, which has had an eventful year. In June, Poremba passed the top toque of Elaia and Olio to chef Ben Grupe, shifting his focus to that of restaurateur for the group’s Botanical Heights establishments and newest restaurant, Parigi in Clayton.

Now more details have emerged about Poremba’s Jewish deli project, which The Scoop reported in June 2015. AO&CO is slated to open next year, in a location yet to be determined (Clayton, the Central West End and University City are all contenders, Poremba said.), but customers can get a sneak peek of what’s to come at brunch popups beginning next month at Parigi.

Poremba said he wants to bring a contemporary Jewish deli to the St. Louis area in the vein of Russ & Daughters Cafe. To that end, menu items for the first popup include house-made bagels, cured fish, chicken soup, beef tongue tartine and other traditional deli items with a Poremba twist. “I want to make it feel sort of traditional and true to the spirit of a Jewish deli,” he said.

Though the first popup on Nov. 20 has already sold out, Poremba said there will be some walk-in seating available, and he hopes to host the next at the beginning of December.

 

The Scoop: Old Standard Fried Chicken to close

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

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Nearly two years after first flipping on the fryers, Old Standard Fried Chicken will shutter its doors after brunch service on Sunday, July 31. Owner Ben Poremba announced the closure today, July 26.

“It is a business decision,” Poremba said. “It wasn’t doing what we wanted it to do or fitting in with our general strategy.”

Poremba opened the fried chicken restaurant in Botanical Heights across the street from his two flagship restaurants, Elaia and Olio, in October 2014. Sauce reviewed the restaurant in March 2015.

Poremba, who also owns Parigi and co-owns La Patisserie Chouquette, said the space at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., will not sit idle long. He will announce a new concept, as well as any personnel changes or transitions, in the next week or so.

It’s been a busy year for Poremba. He opened his Italian concept, Parigi, in Clayton in February, and in June, he handed the executive chef role at Elaia and Olio to Ben Grupe in order to shift his focus from chef to restaurateur.

 

-photo by Michelle Volansky 

 

 

First Look: Union Loafers Cafe and Bread Bakery in Botanical Heights

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

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After years of planning, renovating and baking, Ted Wilson and Sean Netzer quietly opened Union Loafers Cafe and Bread Bakery yesterday, Sept. 30, at 1629 Tower Grove Ave., in Botanical Heights. As The Scoop reported in June 2012 and July 2013, this highly anticipated bakery will turn out naturally leavened, hearth-baked breads. The small team at Union Loafers includes Brian Lagerstrom, formerly of Niche and a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2015.

Union Loafers serves up a lunch menu of sandwiches, open-faced tartines, soups and salads. “Everything’s made from scratch. Especially the bread,” Wilson said, and he means everything – including pickles, mayonnaise, jams and even butter, all made from Missouri dairy. “The only thing we’re not doing is curing meat – yet.”

After the grand opening this Sunday, Oct. 4, drop in for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or buy a loaf of fresh bread from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (or until supply runs out) Tuesdays through Sundays. Union Loafers is currently waiting on a liquor license, but Wilson hopes to stock a bar with a selection of beer, wine and whiskey.

 

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-photos by Meera Nagarajan

 

 

The Scoop: Ben Poremba reveals plans to open a chicken shack

Friday, October 25th, 2013

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As if Elaia, Olio, Salume Beddu and La Patisserie Chouquette weren’t enough to keep restaurateur Ben Poremba busy, the chef-proprietor of the first two establishments and co-owner of the latter two is adding more to his plate. Poremba revealed his plans for another restaurant with an anticipated April 2014 opening.

Poremba is currently finalizing paperwork to lease the building on Tower Grove Avenue in Botanical Heights, next door to bakery Loafer’s, opening this spring, and near the same intersection anchored by Elaia, Olio and Chouquette.

As the restaurant’s working name implies, Chicken Shack will focus on fried chicken. “Fried chicken is my favorite food,” said Poremba, when asked the impetus for the restaurant’s concept. “There are enough taquerías, pizzerias … in town.” And while some restaurants offer weekly fried chicken dinners, he sees a niche in focusing daily on “just good fried chicken,” along with upgraded southern sides like black bean hummus or bacon cheddar cornbread muffins using a family recipe from Chouquette co-owner Simone Faure. And yes, there will be waffles.

The bar will center its attention on house-made sodas and American whiskey, which Poremba said will be categorized by grain type on the menu. In a somewhat “build-your-own” manner, patrons will choose a whiskey and then decide whether they want to sip it neat, on the rocks, as a highball with a house-made sodas or in an Old Fashioned, Manhattan or mint julep. No other cocktails will be offered.

Poremba hopes elements such as a vintage jukebox, a stage for live music, a 20-seat bar and communal seating only (five communal tables with 10 seats each) will lend a casual feel to the restaurant and make it a nighttime hangout.

-photo by Greg Rannells

The Scoop: Ted Wilson to bring artisan bakery to Botanical Heights

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

{Ted Wilson}

It’s been more than a year since The Scoop announced that Ted Wilson, former baker at The Good Pie, was planning to open his own artisan bakery-cum-restaurant. At the time, Wilson had not settled on a space, but today, he moves one step closer to getting his venture, Loafers, off the ground.

Wilson signed the lease today for the space at 4301 McRee Ave., on the northwest corner of McRee and Tower Grove avenues in Botanical Heights. Loafers joins a trio of other newer eating establishments on that corner –La Patisserie Chouquette, wine bar Olio and its sister restaurant, Elaia.

As discussed in a Sauce feature story published in November 2012, Loafers will specialize in European breads, but it will follow a different business model than most bakeries, since fresh breads will come out of the oven in the afternoon, not the morning. And, since Loafers will have seating as well as a bar, it will offer sandwiches at lunchtime and small plates through the evening.

Wilson also plans to put a spotlight on pizzas of all styles at his Sunday Pizza Dinners. “It will be a playground for me,” said Wilson of the weekly pizza-fest idea during an interview with The Scoop last spring. Running the front of the house will be Wilson’s business partner Sean Netzer, currently charged with managing the beer and whiskey programs at 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar.

Wilson said he will occupy the space in late November or early December with a projected opening in spring 2014.

-Photo by Greg Rannells

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