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Mar 30, 2015
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Posts Tagged ‘Brian Hardesty’

The Scoop: Guerrilla Street Food signs on for a brick-and-mortar

Monday, January 19th, 2015


{Guerrilla Street Food at Food Truck Friday}


Heads up, South Grand: a Filipino invasion is headed your way this spring. Co-owner Brian Hardesty announced that his popular food truck Guerrilla Street Food has signed a lease to open a brick-and-mortar location at 3024 S. Grand Blvd., as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

The space, formerly occupied by Sekisui, sits at the intersection of Grand and Arsenal Streets at the burgeoning dining and entertainment district in Tower Grove. Hardesty said he anticipates an April opening. “We love the South Grand neighborhood,” he said. “It’s a place that we go when we get off work … It’s a great community and we just want to be a part of it.”

Hardesty, who left his position as executive chef at Element in November, said the 1,500-square-foot space would allow for about 24 seats inside and about 12 on the adjoining patio. He envisions a fast-casual spot open for lunch and dinner service with an expanded menu of Guerrilla Street favorites and new offerings. “(We’ll) more than double our current menu,” Hardesty said. “We’ll add a bunch of side dishes … There are so many new dishes from the Philippines we have yet to explore.”

Guerrilla Street Food joins a growing list of food trucks that have added brick-and-mortar spaces to their operations. Lulu’s Local Eatery opened in May 2014 in the same neighborhood, and Seoul Taco relocated to a larger location at 6665 Delmar Blvd. in University City in December 2014.

Can’t wait until April to get your Filipino fix? It’s business as usual on the food truck, which will continue to roll after the brick-and-mortar opening. Hardesty is also opening a Guerrilla Street satellite kitchen at 33 Wine Bar at 1913 Park Ave., in Lafayette Square. The food begins flying this Friday, Jan. 23, and will continue every Friday and Saturday night.

-photo by Michelle Volansky


The Scoop: Chef Brian Hardesty and Element part ways, Brian Coltrain steps up to executive chef

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014



Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 12 with comments from Element co-owner Carol Hastie.

Executive chef Brian Hardesty has left the kitchens of Element, as of today, Nov. 12. Hardesty said the choice came down to a “difference in vision” and that the decision was a mutual one. “I wish them the best,” he said. “I hope to watch Element evolve and succeed, and they have a great crew over there.”

Element co-owner Carol Hastie said chef Brian Coltrain will step into the role of executive chef. “He has lots of really cool ideas, and he’s a great chef,” Hastie said. “He’s good at teaching, and he’s a good leader.”

Hastie said Element will soon see a new lunch menu and changes to the dinner offerings under Coltrain’s leadership. “We’re not going to change what we do as far as the local, seasonal items on the menu,” she said. “But we want to put a little more approachable items on the menu, as well.”

As for Hardesty, he will continue to focus on the growth of Guerrilla Street Food. He is co-owner of the popular food truck, which serves Filipino fare.

Element, which opened in September 2013, is known for innovative new American cuisine created under a team of several chefs. Sauce reviewed the downtown establishment in January.


-photo by Michelle Volansky

Hit List: Three new restaurants to try this month

Friday, September 6th, 2013


Gamlin Whiskey House: 236 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, Facebook: Gamlin Whiskey House

From the owners of Sub Zero Vodka Bar comes whiskey-and-steak place Gamlin Whiskey House, opening in late September. Brothers Derek and Lucas Gamlin have brushed the dust off the old-school steakhouse concept and have given it contemporary flavor, pairing beefy entrees with a selection of fine whiskeys from around the world. You’ll find classic steakhouse fare like a 16-ounce dry-aged rib-eye steak, as well as comfort fixin’s like a grass-fed beef potpie and bourbon fried chicken. Booze highlights include hand-selected whiskeys on tap, bourbon and whiskey flights and nearly two dozen craft cocktails.



Element: 1419 Carroll St., St. Louis, 314.241.1674, elementstl.com

Sept. 6 marks the grand opening of Element, a restaurant and lounge located on the second and third floors of the former City Hospital power plant. Collaboration is the core concept at Element, where executive chef Brian Hardesty and four other chefs will offer new American cuisine that highlights peak-of-season ingredients on large and small plates. The newly renovated space retains an industrial feel with exposed metal and brick, yet it’s softened by warm lighting and dining tables fashioned from reclaimed wood. If it’s date night, head upstairs to the lounge and grab a seat at the massive, elegant bar or one of the royal high-back armchairs. Then enjoy draft beer, wine or one of a dozen cocktails paired with a cheese or charcuterie plate from the lounge menu. Before you leave, catch a glimpse of the downtown skyline from the terrace.



The Biergarten at Anheuser-Busch St. Louis Brewery: 12th and Lynch streets, St. Louis, 314.577.2626, budweisertours.com

It holds a permanent place on your where-to-take-out-of-towners hit list, but A-B has given us another reason to return to its storied brewery in Soulard. The Biergarten, a new, 275-seat outdoor space adjacent to the tour center, offers 17 A-B beers on tap along with beer-friendly food. Best of all, you don’t have to take the tour to hang at The Biergarten. So let the in-laws listen to the spiel while you sip on Stella.

-Photos by Michelle Volansky


The Scoop: Chefs on the move

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Three area chefs are adding heat to an already hot restaurant scene. Brian Hardesty (pictured, left) co-owner of food truck Guerrilla Street Food, is planning to open a restaurant, as reported by St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe. Hardesty, who was executive chef for the short-lived Root at Starr’s in Richmond Heights and who previously helmed now shuttered Terrene, plans to open his restaurant, Element, at 1419 Carroll St., on the doorstep of the Lafayette Park neighborhood.

Element will be a “modern American restaurant that is local, seasonal and affordable,” said Hardesty. Its home will be on the second and third floors of the former power plant for City Hospital. The industrial feel of the space – there will be a restaurant and a lounge as well as two outdoor terraces – is also one of the inspirations for the restaurant’s name, related Hardesty, adding that the name was abstract enough to give the concept and the cuisine some “freedom.”

Leeway will be key, Hardesty emphasized, since his newest project is still in its infancy. “We’ve got blueprints drawn out. But until construction starts, I can’t say when it will be completed. Summer of 2013 is totally a guess. It’s more like, ‘hope [for] summer.’”

While Hardesty is excited to be back in the world of fine dining, he is still involved with Guerrilla Street Food, noting that he and his business partner, Joel Crespo (pictured, right), remain on the hunt to find the right brick-and-mortar place for their Filipino fusion operation. “We’re not in any hurry,” he said in regards to that business move.

John Perkins, chef-owner of underground dining and mobile catering business Entre, is another local food figure making moves. Starting in January, Perkins will be holding month-long, themed restaurants at 360 N. Boyle Ave., in the Central West End, another news item that Mahe was first to report.

Perkins’ first concept is chicken-themed Le Coq. Why chicken? “I love chicken, and I feel like it’s not very well appreciated as an ingredient,” said Perkins. “We’re trying to improve its reputation, [to show] that you can do a lot with chicken, use it a lot of ways. Pretty much every dish on the menu has chicken on it.” To get an idea of the pointedly poultry menu, check out the November 26 post on Entre’s Facebook page.

Le Coq is one of four concepts that Perkins has planned. Following Le Coq, and likely to debut in April, is A Good Man is Hard to Find. The concept, inspired by Flannery O’Connor’s short story that explores tensions between the old and new South, will feature Southern comfort food. This summer will see the arrival of a vegetarian restaurant, Green. The fourth concept, Black Walnut, will feature dishes prepared from hyper-local food sources.

Le Coq (and subsequent concepts) will operate for one month only, Thursday through Saturday, serving dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. At Le Coq, diners can choose from a 3-course prix fixe for $35, a 5-course prix fixe for $55, or a chicken dinner for four that runs at $160. The latter, noted Perkins, will also be available for carryout. Reservations to Le Coq are not necessary but will be accepted. Perkins is in the process of updating the Entre website so that reservations can be made online.

Finally, Jon Dreja is the new executive chef at Franco, as reported first by Evan Benn of the Post-Dispatch. Dreja replaces Kris Janik, who took over this spring when Chris Williams moved over to Nico, Franco’s sister restaurant in The Loop, to help open the new eatery. Dreja has worked for restaurateurs Paul and Wendy Hamilton at Eleven Eleven Mississippi and most recently at Vin de Set.

The Scoop: Root closes after just three weeks

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Root, the restaurant inside gourmet food and wine shop Starr’s located at 1135 S. Big Bend Blvd., has closed just three weeks after opening its doors, according to executive chef Brian Hardesty.

The restaurant has a storied history. Nosh, which was originally located in Maplewood, closed less than a year after opening. A few months later, the restaurant reopened inside Starr’s, which is owned by Bud Starr (also an owner of Nosh). The restaurant kept its original chef, Angela Komis, but she later left to appear on The Food Network and was replaced by Matt Shucart, who came over from PW Pizza.

In November of last year, Hardesty took over as executive chef at Nosh, splitting his time between the restaurant and his food truck, Guerrilla Street Food. The restaurant quickly closed and announced that it would reopen as Root, with a menu offering “Old World American” cuisine inspired by American history beginning with the early European settlement.

According to Hardesty, Starr cited high overhead costs as the reason for shuttering the short-lived restaurant, despite a packed house last Friday evening. “I just can’t believe it,” said Hardesty, who told The Scoop he had “never been more ready” in terms of opening a restaurant. Last night marked the last day of service at Root. More as we learn it.

The Scoop: Nosh to become Root, focus on 300-plus years in American cookery

Monday, December 19th, 2011

121911_rootThe final day of service at Nosh was this past Saturday. On Jan. 10, the restaurant located at 1135 S. Big Bend Blvd., inside gourmet food and wine shop Starrs, will reopen as Root.

Brian Hardesty, the chef who recently came aboard Nosh to helm the kitchen in addition to his role with mobile eatery Guerrilla Street Food, explained the reason for giving the restaurant a new concept: “When I first came on here, they had the opinion there was no need to change the name or identity of the place, just the menu [and] staff and improve everything. I came to the conclusion that I felt like I was stealing someone else’s ideas. It was a lot of effort, so why not just apply it to a whole new concept and give it a real fresh start?”

Root will offer what Hardesty called “Old World American” cuisine, taking inspiration from our nation’s history, beginning with the early European settlement. Hardesty’s starting point will be the early 1600s (due to his difficulty in locating culinary-related documentation prior to that period) and span until 1930. His interest lies in exploring lesser-used methods of preparation and techniques like poaching meats and a process called crimping – in which fish is cooked in a court bouillon with the heat turned off once the fish has been added. Among weekly specials, watch for large table presentations, such as a whole roasted rabbit plus sides, served family-style. Also look for familiar foods on the seasonal menu, offered in the manner in which they were eaten long ago, such as quail as a finger food appetizer rather than an entrée.

“There are so many great new American places around. I don’t want to compete with those,” said Hardesty. “I feel like the curiosity will be there for the [Root] guest. I’m not doing anything new. I’m doing everything old.”

A Root website, rootstl.com, and Facebook page are in the works. In the meantime, look for details expressed in 140 characters or less from the Root Twitter handle, @RootSTL.

Food trucks find ways to let customers give back

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

100211_charityAs the food truck trend has officially entered here-to-stay territory, a few area mobile culinary mavens are using their booming business models to offer curbside customers more than just pizzas and tacos. They’re giving them a chance to give money to a good cause.

Beginning today, Pi on the Spot will be roaming the streets with the dual purpose of feeding St. Louisans and helping worthy causes, as reported earlier this week by Chrissy Wilmes of the Riverfront Times. Rather than designate a single charitable organization as the regular beneficiary of its monetary donations, Pi will follow a charity-of-the-day model. Today, 50 percent of sales go to local nonprofit Meds and Food for Kids.

If you are one to tip the food truckies, Shell’s Coastal Cuisine gives you a good reason to eat its “Floribean” fare as well. Each month since it hit the streets this May, Shell’s has donated one-third of its tips to a charitable cause. The tips earned during the month of November went to Crisis Nursery. The designated charity is determined each month by a vote on Shell’s Facebook page.

Finally, come spring, the folks at Guerrilla Street Food will switch into the charitable mode when they begin “battling” brick-and-mortar restaurants with proceeds to benefit a yet-to-be-determined charity. The truck’s kitchen brigade will serve up Filipino food “re-imagined” to match the style of the restaurant against which they are competing. “So, if it was a sushi place, we would invent Filipino sushi,” explained Guerrilla Street Food co-owners Joel Crespo and Brian Hardesty.

The Scoop: Food truck chef keeps foot on solid ground at brick-and-mortar restaurant Nosh

Monday, November 28th, 2011

060711_gsfBrian Hardesty (pictured at left) has been hired as the executive chef at Nosh, the bistro located inside wine shop Starrs in Richmond Heights. As reported by Byron Kerman for St. Louis Magazine, Hardesty will be splitting his time between the restaurant, located at 1135 S. Big Bend Blvd., and his burgeoning food truck biz, Guerrilla Street Food. Last spring, Hardesty resigned from the top kitchen spot at the now-defunct Terrene to devote himself to his meals-on-wheels operation.

How will Hardesty juggle helming the kitchen at Nosh and keeping a hand in food truck affairs? “With a full staff on the truck and in the restaurant, I won’t be on the truck for daily service,” explained Hardesty. “Instead, I will get more time to create dishes for the truck in the prep kitchen.”

Hardesty is planning a complete menu overhaul at Nosh, a restaurant that has seen several chef changes as well as a move from its original Maplewood location where it sat for less than a year. So, can customers at the brick-and-mortar eatery expect to see some items from the Filipino-inspired Guerrilla Street Food menu? “No, completely separate [menus],” Hardesty confirmed.

— Photo by Ashley Gieseking

The Scoop: Terrene to close this week

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

062811_terreneWord came from a tweep this weekend that Terrene, the nearly six-year-old restaurant in the Central West End, may be closing. And today, owner John McElwain confirmed the sad news, noting that doors are scheduled to close this week. McElwain and his wife, Sunny McElwain, cited that “as our family dynamic changed so have our professional goals and direction.” The couple welcomed a baby into the family in early March.

Brian Hardesty recently left his role as executive chef at Terrene to enter St. Louis’ food truck scene with Guerrilla Street Food, which hopes to hit the streets very soon. Read what Hardesty had to say about exiting the restaurant here.

All of our coverage of Terrene

Extra Sauce: More from our conversation with Guerrilla Street Food’s Brian Hardesty and Joel Crespo

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

060711_gsfIn this month’s Chef Talk interview with Brian Hardesty and Joel Crespo, partners in Guerrilla Street Food – one of St. Louis’ newest food trucks – the culinary duo told us about the hoops they’ve had to jump through to get their food truck up and running, a few highlights from their creative menu and how they implemented their full kitchen into their tricked-out truck. Now, in the second part of the interview, Hardesty and Crespo reveal where the idea for their food truck came from, Hardesty’s decision to leave his top job at Terrene for the venture and where we will be able to track down Guerrilla Street Food once it hits the streets. To read the second part of the interview, click over to our Extra Sauce section.

— Photo by Ashley Gieseking

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