Hello Stranger | Login | Create Account
Mar 24, 2018
Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
Email | Text-size: A | A | A

Posts Tagged ‘Brad Beracha’

Stage Left Diner closes in Grand Center

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017



Stage Left Diner quietly closed its doors on Monday, July 31.

The diner, located at 541 N. Grand Blvd., debuted in September 2016, when owner Steve Smith and restaurant consultant Brad Beracha took over the space next-door to the Fabulous Fox Theatre from the former City Diner.

Beracha said the announcement was more abrupt than he liked, but necessary.

“The area is very event-driven and the off-season is very off, and we made a decision based on the sales and the short term to focus on other projects,” he said. “I’ve got my hands full with BaiKu and the City Foundry project opening in 2019. We have a lot of effort put into these projects, and a lot of exciting news is coming out within the next month or so.”

Beracha said there are currently no plans for the space, which is owned by Fox Associates.

In a press release, Smith, who also owns BaiKu Sushi Lounge and Triumph Grill, thanked the diner’s patrons for their support. “The challenges to grow the Stage Left Diner brand were too difficult to overcome, and the decision to close was made so that our focus could shift to our other restaurants,” he said.

Photo by Michelle Volanksy 

Rachel Wilson is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine.

Related Content
First Look: Stage Left Diner in Grand Center

The Scoop: Stage Left Diner to take the spotlight in Midtown

The Scoop: City Foundry to open in Midtown 2018

First Look: Stage Left Diner in Grand Center

Friday, September 16th, 2016



Stage Left Diner is currently in dress rehearsals at 541 N. Grand Blvd. As The Scoop reported earlier this week, the former City Diner in Grand Center underwent a concept change after owner Steve Smith bought out the former owners.

Rev Hospitality president Brad Beracha frequently consults at Smith’s restaurants (including Triumph Grill and BaiKu Sushi Lounge), and he lent his expertise to the latest project. Beracha said he and the new management focused on improving the overall customer service experience and brightening up the space with a fresh coat of paint.

Arguably the most notable change is executive chef Ryan Cooper’s new menu, which includes classic diner dishes like smashed griddle burgers and lighter fare like a portobello sandwich. A forthcoming liquor license will see boozy milkshakes, but customers can also enjoy a full menu of espresso coffee drinks and or a pull of nitro cold brew coffee.

Stage Left Diner hosts its grand opening Sept. 24, and it is currently open Monday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to midnight. Here’s a First Look at the new face of a familiar diner in Grand Center.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


-photos by Michelle Volansky 



The Scoop: Stage Left Diner to take the spotlight in Midtown

Monday, September 12th, 2016



The former City Diner space at 541 N. Grand Blvd. has a fresh new name and look. Stage Left Diner (named for its next-door location to The Fabulous Fox Theatre) will host its grand opening Sept. 24, according to Brad Beracha, who serves as restaurant consultant on this project.

Beracha said Stage Left Diner owner Steve Smith has made several changes to the space in recent months, updating the interior design and improving the overall customer service experience. “The culture has changed drastically,” Beracha said. “It’s an intangible, but the energy and feel of the restaurant is much improved.”

Customers will also see changes on a new menu created by chef Ryan Cooper. Cooper previously served as chef de cuisine at Beracha’s now-shuttered Araka, and he’s spent the last two years working in kitchens at Smith’s Triumph Grill and BaiKu Sushi Lounge. While the menu still includes diner classics like meatloaf, burgers and a slew of breakfast options, lighter fare is also a focus of the new concept. “It’s still very large, just more health conscious,” Beracha said, noting items like a kale and apple salad, a portabello sandwich and crepes.

Recognizing that many of their customers will attend performances after dining, Beracha said the menu is also built for speed. “If we shave three or four minutes off a customer experience when they’re trying to get to a show, that’s valuable time,” he said.

It’s not only the theater crowd that Stage Left Diner is after, though. Beracha said he hopes new large developments like City Foundry and upcoming Hotel Agnad (slated to open in 2018 and 2017, respectively) will spur increased interest in Grand Center and Midtown. “We’d love for Midtown to be on the map (like) the Central West End and Clayton,” he said.

Stage Left Diner is currently open Monday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to midnight.


The Scoop: Elliot Harris rolls behind the sushi bar at BaiKu

Friday, April 22nd, 2016



{Onii-san maki roll at Baiku}

Former food truck sushi chef Elliot Harris has found a new, more stationary home. Harris, who sold Chop Shop STL in December 2015, is now executive sushi chef at Baiku Sushi Lounge in Midtown.

Baiku owner Brad Beracha said Harris actually joined the restaurant in January, but the announcement was postponed while Baiku temporarily closed its doors that month so Hotel Ignacio (located in the same building) addressed structural problems in the building. Beracha said Harris used that time to tweak the sushi menu. Repairs are made and Baiku will reopen for dinner next Tuesday, April 26 and lunch on May 3. The restaurant will be closed on Sundays.

“I’ve worked with Elliot before,” Beracha said. “He is talented, creative and with him selling the truck, the timing was perfect. He is right for the future of Baiku and the direction we want to go.”

Harris has nearly 20 years experience behind a sushi bar, including time spent at Beracha’s now-shuttered Miso in Clayton. He said he will focus on nightly specials with new items slowly making their way to the menu, like a variation of the Korean poke dish Harris once served at Chop Shop.

“I want to bring in specialty fish, and there will be a focus on seasonal ingredients,” Harris said. “This will let me open up to catering to the customer and do chef’s choice or things off-menu.”


Editor’s Note: This post was updated at 2 p.m. Friday, April 22 with correct information about starting dates for lunch and dinner service. 

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Sneak Peek: BaiKu Sushi Lounge

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

In July, The Scoop broke the news that Café Pintxos at Hotel Ignacio in Midtown was being reconcepted as BaiKu Sushi Lounge. Under the direction of Brad Beracha, owner of now defunct sushi restaurant Miso on Meramec and Araka, BaiKu has come to life. The restaurant is now open for dinner and will offer lunch service beginning Oct. 6.

The sushi menu is extensive. It features specialty nigiri and sashimi, Hawaiian fish flown in daily, a selection of eight specialty rolls and unique chilled appetizers. The sushi bar is manned by BaiKu’s executive sushi chef, Soung Min Lee, formerly sushi chef at Miso as well as Central Table Food Hall. Joining Lee behind the counter is his brother, sous chef Soung Ho Lee.

Hot dishes at BaiKu are prepared in the kitchen at Triumph Grill, which adjoins the first floor of the hotel. Warm appetizers include creatively prepared bites like lobster shumai (Chinese-style dumplings), lettuce cups holding steamed Hawaiian blue prawns and steamed buns. Larger plates feature Korean-style hanger steak, Alaskan salmon and Hawaiian snapper.

BaiKu offers a variety of noodle dishes; guests can choose between soba, udon or ramen, the latter made locally by Midwest Pasta Co. The hot food menu was developed by Triumph executive chef Josh Norris. A native of Maui, Norris said he grew up eating a number of these dishes during his youth on the island.

Premium sake headlines beverage offerings. Rounding out the drink selection are more than 50 beers – including five Japanese brews – and wines chosen for their ability to pair with sushi. Here’s what’s in store at BaiKu:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


-photos by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Café Pintxos at Hotel Ignacio to become sushi lounge BaiKu

Friday, July 25th, 2014


Japanese flavors are coming to Midtown. Sushi lounge BaiKu is slated to open in the former Café Pintxos space at Hotel Ignacio at 3407 Olive St., in early September.

When Café Pintxos opened in 2011, it operated as a soup-salad-sandwich cafe by day and a Spanish tapas bar by night. Neither concept quite caught on, and Café Pintxos has been quiet for some months.

Steve Smith, a partner in Hotel Ignacio and the owner of a trio of businesses in the complex - Triumph Grill, Moto Museum and Moto Europa – looked to reinvigorate the space. Smith tapped as his consultant Brad Beracha, owner of the now-defunct Japanese restaurant Miso on Meramec and Araka. The plan: Japan. “There’s not a lot of sushi for Midtown in this area by Grand (Boulevard),” Beracha said.

BaiKu, which means “motorcycle” in Japanese, will specialize in sushi. It will offer basic rolls, as well as five to seven specialty rolls. “It’s not a big roll menu,” Beracha said. “I want it to be small and done great.” The restaurant will also offer eight to 10 Japanese-inspired appetizers, such as ginger-scallion-sake wings and lobster shumai (steamed dumplings). The dinner menu will be rounded out with a couple Japanese entrees. During lunch hours, BaiKu will also offer Asian noodles with an eye on ramen. Other mid-day meal options will include bahn mi and a few stir-fry items.

BaiKu’s beverage program will focus on sake and wines that pair well with sushi, which will be offered as a special during happy hours. Look also for a small cocktail menu and Japanese brews on the beer list.

Helming the sushi bar will be chef Soung Min Lee, who worked at Miso until it shuttered, and then held the position of executive sushi chef at Central Table Food Hall since it opened last year. Beracha said Lee departed from Central Table a month ago. While the sushi-making action will take place behind the bar at BaiKu, all hot food will be prepared next door in the Triumph kitchen, where chef Josh Norris leads the culinary crew.

Beracha said sushi was a perfect fit for the space’s small bar, and he also hoped that the lighter fare of Japanese cuisine would appeal to ticketholders attending performances in Grand Center. “It’s not heavy,” he said. “When you go to a show, you’re not wanting to take a nap.”

The entire space – bar, dining area, lobby lounge area and patio – will undergo a remodel. Besides new furnishings, look for pieces of a disassembled motorcycle to be a focal point along one of the walls.



The Scoop: A-B unveils The Biergarten at Brewery and Tour Center

Monday, August 5th, 2013



This afternoon, Anheuser-Busch unveiled The Biergarten, the new outdoor establishment at its Brewery and Tour Center,  located at 12th and Lynch streets in Soulard. Speaking to an assembled crowd of guests and media, Mayor Francis Slay called The Biergarten an enhancement to what is already “a must-see attraction for the hundreds of thousands of people who come to our city every year.”

As The Scoop reported in May, the new 275-seat space, surrounded with iconic A-B signage, is intended to give guests a relaxing place to gather while exploring a variety of A-B beers, including 17 beers on draft. One of the highlights will be a 3 p.m. Brewmaster’s Tasting, when of-age drinkers can taste beer at precisely the same time that Anheuser-Busch brewmasters from around the country taste beer each day to ensure quality and consistency.

Food also will be available at The Biergarten. That menu, which Brad Beracha, owner of now-defunct Miso on Meramec and Araka, consulted on, will be divided into “Snacks,” “Pick-up Sticks” (your choice of chicken, steak au poivre or shrimp on a stick) and “Dogs-n-Brats.”  The menu includes suggested pairings for individual beers, as well as flights. A children’s menu also is available.

The Biergarten will open tomorrow, Aug. 6. Hours of operation will be Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 -Photo by Michelle Volansky


The Scoop: Araka to shutter on March 9

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

After more than five years in business, Araka is closing its doors. Owner Brad Beracha announced today in a press release that he was shuttering the restaurant, located at 131 Carondelet Plaza. The restaurant’s final day will be on March 9 and will conclude with a farewell party beginning at 9 p.m.

News of Araka’s fate comes on the heels of the January closure of Miso, Beracha’s other restaurant. According to the release, “Though he has no immediate plans to re-open in a different location, Beracha doesn’t rule out the possibility of bringing a new concept to St. Louis sometime in the future.”

According to St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe, first to report the news on Araka, the space will not remain empty for long. It is slated to become 801 Chophouse, a restaurant with locations in Des Moines; Omaha; Kansas City, Mo.; and Leawood, Kan. Per Mahe, 801 Chophouse will assume control of the space on April 1. No opening date for the restaurant has been announced.

—  photo by Ashley Gieseking

The Scoop: Miso on Meramec to Close

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Sushi restaurant and lounge Miso on Meramec is shuttering. “All good things must come to an end, and after an awesome 11-and-a-half-year run, Miso on Meramec will be closing its doors,” wrote owner Brad Beracha in a letter sent to supporters this past Monday. St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe beat Beracha in sharing the news last Saturday about the Clayton restaurant’s fate.

Beracha explained that multiple issues factored into his decision to close. “I put a lot of effort into Clayton this year helping with strategic planning. They lost a lot of traffic on that side of Clayton. Everyone has noticed that the vibrancy is gone. There’s not a lot of traffic to draw from.” Beracha also cited a change among his clientele: “After over a decade we just cycled through our regular, loyal customers even though we expanded and probably had more square footage than we needed.” The Underground Lounge was remodeled in May of last year. “When we remodeled, we did it for a demographic that isn’t anywhere to be had in the city of Clayton.”

Will St. Louisans see the Miso concept moved to another space? “It is a consideration,” responded Beracha. “With a smaller footprint, I could have similar success to Miso as we had in the early going. Right now, I’m keeping that door open but not aggressively pursuing it.”

Beracha confirmed that his other restaurant, Araka, also located in Clayton, will be untouched by Miso’s closing. “Araka has had a good holiday season. The two business models are so different; they still operate independently. My kitchen staff is the best that I’ve had in the five-year run that I’ve had down there. We’re still fighting the fight.”

Miso will offer dinner service through this Friday, January 4. A final farewell will be held on Saturday in the Underground Lounge, beginning at 7 p.m. Beracha noted that numerous previous employees will be on hand during the final days. Eliott Harris, Miso’s former executive chef who left to open sushi food truck Chop Shop, will be behind the sushi bar this Friday, while other former bartenders will be stirring and shaking things up on Saturday for what Beracha called “one last throwdown” that will feature a DJ spinning 1980s tunes.

— Photo by Brian Fagnani

The Scoop: Chefs from within to replace Eliot Harris at Miso

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

102511_harrisThis Saturday will mark Eliot Harris’ last day of service at Miso. The chef is leaving the Japanese restaurant located at 16 N. Meramec Ave., in Clayton, to open a food truck specializing in Japanese cuisine.

According to Miso owner Brad Beracha, two of Harris’ co-workers, Dobri Dobrev and Kory Kim, will share executive chef duties at Miso after the departure. Beracha noted that he expects a smooth transition since Dobrev and Kim have worked with Harris at Miso for more than three years. Both chefs will have a hand in new sushi and dinner menus that sport what Beracha called “seasonal edits,” slated to launch in early November.

— Photo by Brian Fagnani

Keep up with one or all of your favorite Sauce Magazine columns
Conceived and created by Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC 1999-2018, Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Sauce Magazine 1820 Chouteau Ave. St. Louis, Missouri 63103.
PH: 314-772-8004 FAX: 314-241-8004