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Mar 28, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Cherokee Street’

The Scoop: Local restaurants participate, support A Day Without Immigrants protest

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

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

 

Across the country today, Feb. 16, people stayed home from work and school or did not shop or eat out in support of A Day Without Immigrants, a protest against current U.S. immigration policy. Participants meant to illustrate the importance of immigrants in American society.

Chefs around the country donated a portion of their revenues to support immigration organizations or closed their eateries entirely, like José Andrés in Washington D.C. and Rick Bayless in Chicago. Locally, a handful of area restaurants did the same.

Chef and restaurateur Ben Poremba decided to close Nixta, his new Mexican eatery, as reported by the Riverfront Times. Poremba said many of his staff had expressed a desire to take the day off to participate.

“I’m not trying to be a pioneer,” he said. “I just respected that some of the guys wanted a day to be heard without worrying about losing their job or having some consequences. I didn’t want to be on the fence.”

Cherokee Station Special Business District liaison Anne McCullough said most of the immigrant-owned businesses on Cherokee closed today. “More than 20 percent of the businesses and properties on Cherokee Street are immigrant-owned,” she said.

 

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{ Local Chef Kitchen chef-owner Rob Uyemura } 

 

Local Chef Kitchen chef-owner Rob Uyemura also shut the doors at his Ballwin Restaurant for the day. “In 25 years in the restaurant business, I’ve worked with a lot of immigrants,” said Uyemura, whose family immigrated to the U.S. “They get labeled as criminals and illegals, and that’s wrong.”

Other restaurants remain open, but are donating a portion of their proceeds to nonprofits. Demun Oyster Bar general manager Tom Halaska said his bar, as well as sister restaurants Sasha’s Wine Bars and Scarlett’s Wine Bar, will donate 50 percent of the day’s proceeds to the International Institute St. Louis.

Halaska said it was important to recognize the many immigrants who participate in the restaurant industry and in society. With immigration policy currently in the national spotlight, he said this was a good opportunity to celebrate immigrants.

“This is a way for us as a restaurant group to show respect and compassion for what’s going on in the country,” Halaska said.

 

Catherine Klene contributed to this report.

Nixta photo by Carmen Troesser

 

The Scoop: Tiny tea shop Teatopia opens on Cherokee Street

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

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Looking for an alternative to your daily cup of joe? Check out Teatopia, which opened its doors at 2619½ Cherokee St., on Monday, Jan. 30, as reported by the Riverfront Times.

Owner Reginald “Reo” Quarles said he looked at more than 20 spots on his quest to open Teatopia, but none seemed quite right. Then he ran across the small Cherokee space, the former home of The Little Dipper sandwich shop. With just room enough for three tables, “it was a perfect fit.” Its diminutive size makes it easy for one person to operate, a definite benefit since Teatopia is basically a one-man show, with Quarles handling most of the daily duties.

Teatopia offers a wide variety of teas – 40 at last count – including varieties from Sri Lanka, India and other Asian countries, available to sip on site. Quarles also has created custom tea blends, like chocolate chai made with black tea, vanilla white chai and chocolate. He can also make custom blends to suit individual tastes. One-ounce containers of tea leaves are available to purchase and brew at home.

Teatopia also has a food menu, featuring salads, wraps and a selection of baked goods. Even some of the food is tea-focused, including a tea vinaigrette and tea-infused cream cheeses. “I was attracted to the tranquility of tea, the calming effect of tea,” said Quarles, who is also a vegan and martial artist. “It’s like all of what I believe in coming together.”

Quarles said his first few days of business have been good, and the Cherokee Street community has been receptive. “Everyone has welcomed me with open arms,” he said.

 

Related Content
The Scoop: Little Dipper to reopen inside The Fortune Teller Bar

Hit List: 7 new places you must try this February

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it… 

Best New Restaurants: No. 2 – Vista Ramen

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, general manager Aaron Stovall, chef Chris Bork and sous chef Zach Siecinski }

 

A glimpse through the large windows at Vista Ramen reveals a slim restaurant filled with smartly dressed young people sipping sake and slurping ramen, bathed in the green glow of that iconic neon sign. This is where the cool kids eat.

The centerpiece is the open kitchen where co-owner and chef Chris Bork transmutes Vista’s chic style from the space to the plates. Bork interprets classic Asian dishes or finds inspiration entirely elsewhere, letting ingredients take the lead. While it’s easy to love something like sticky pork ribs glazed with crab caramel, it’s the attention paid to humble vegetables that sets Vista apart.

Bork is a standard bearer for seasonality, allowing vegetables to express themselves fully on the plate. Take, for example, his raw vegetable salad: Julienned Japanese turnips, carrots, radishes and kohlrabi are tossed with maple vinaigrette, lychee and house-made Chinese bacon and topped with popped sorghum.

Despite the complex, dynamic flavors, Bork’s methods don’t require expensive equipment or extravagant technique. “The treatment is very simple: Don’t fucking cook them to mush,” he said. “Being able to cook a specific vegetable to its right al dente is something that takes time and a lot of finesse. Blanching vegetables properly is an art that I wish more cooks took seriously.”

Vista’s veggie ramen best exemplifies this perfected technique. Vegetables of the moment (turnips, shiitakes, kohlrabi and so on) are individually blanched, then roasted on the flattop to order. Each vegetable retains its identity while swimming with tender alkaline noodles in a rich broth that coats every piece in meat-free umami glory.

After the last summer tomato disappears, it’s easy to give into seasonal despair in an endless parade of roasted root vegetables. Not at Vista. House-made agnolotti are filled with rich miso-pumpkin puree. Butternut squash finds its way into dessert as a delicate panna cotta sprinkled with buttery granola and topped with spheres of poached pear. For this kind of invention, we’ll gladly weather bitter temps and crowds of hipsters to indulge at Vista Ramen.

 

More about Vista Ramen

New and Notable: Vista Ramen

• Hit List: 4 new restaurants you must try this July

• Sneak Peek: Vista Ramen on Cherokee

• The Scoop: Chris Bork, Mud House owners to open Vista Ramen on Cherokee

 

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Editor’s note: In the print issue, we misspelled Vista Ramen’s name. We have updated this post and the online issue to correct the error. 

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Monday, October 31st, 2016

From Ben Poremba’s newest restaurant to a fire at Waterloo’s newest brewery, here’s what went down in the St. Louis restaurant scene last week, in case you missed it…

 

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1. 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.

2. After nearly three years in business, Nathalie’s is closing doors at 4365 Lindell Blvd., in the Central West End. Owner Nathalie Pettus said the restaurant’s last day will be Saturday, Nov. 5.

 

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3. Cherokee Street has a new spot for cheap, late-night eats and just one more round. The B-Side hosted a soft opening on Friday, Oct. 21 at 2709 Cherokee St.

4. The former catering arm of Local Harvest Grocery is under new ownership, emerging as Seed Sprout Spoon. Erin Wiles and The Civil Life’s former chef Brendan Kirby quietly purchased the business in August, finishing up existing catering contracts before making the transition.

 

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5. Two months after closing doors at his Spanish tapas restaurant, owner Brendan Marsden opened doors at Mona’s, an American-Italian joint, on Oct. 19.

6. Just one month after opening, a fire broke out at Hopskeller Brewing Co. on Oct. 23. Owner Matt Schweizer said the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, and no one was injured.

 

 

 

First Look: The B-Side on Cherokee Street

Friday, October 28th, 2016

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Cherokee Street has a new spot for cheap, late-night eats and just one more round. The B-Side hosted a soft opening on Friday, Oct. 21 at 2709 Cherokee St.

As The Scoop reported in March, co-owners Francis Rodriguez and Joe Timm had their eyes on the spot down the street from their restaurant, Yaqui’s, when Los Punk unceremoniously shuttered doors at the end of 2015. The newly stripped down, 49-seat space is dominated by a large neon B hovering about an old-school jukebox. A patio out back seat a dozen more.

Timm said the goal was to have a late-night hangout where people could grab a burger and pint of beer in two minutes for less than $5. Hence, The B-Side’s single draft beer (Stag) and four canned options: Busch, Budweiser, Pabst Blue Ribbon and 4 Hands Citywide. A small spirits selection is available, too.

The B-side’s food menu consists of two primary items: burgers and vegan chili. The restaurant grills the patties outside on patio, then holds them in a broth of Stag, Worchestershire sauce and onions. Single and double patties and the usual toppings are available, as well as the house Comeback Sauce – a spicy mayo-based dressing reminiscent of In-N-Out’s famous burger sauce.

The B-Side is currently open Monday to Saturday from 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Sunday from 7 p.m. to midnight. Here’s a first look at what to expect when you swing by for a late-night snack:

 

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Editor’s note: This post originally misspelled Joe Timm’s last name. It was updated to correct the error. 

-photos by Michelle Volansky 

The Scoop: The Little Dipper to reopen inside The Fortune Teller Bar

Monday, October 17th, 2016

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{The Little Dipper chef-owner Tanya Brown}

 

The Little Dipper, which closed in August, has found a new home inside The Fortune Teller Bar on Cherokee Street. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, Fortune Teller’s kitchen is closed and will reopen as The Little Dipper under chef-owner Tanya Brown on Nov. 5.

“Tanya became a friend of ours as mutual customers – her shop was just a block away from ours,” said Fortune Teller co-owner Matt Thenhaus. “It just seemed like everything we needed, the other business could provide.”

Little Dipper will have a counter inside the bar with separate food and drink tabs. Thenhaus said they were inspired by The Fifth Wheel setup inside 4 Hands Brewing‘s tasting room.

A handful of items from Fortune Teller’s old food menu – like pickled eggs, soft pretzels and occasional barbecue specials – will be available from the new counter, but the menu will primarily be The Little Dipper’s dominated by sandwiches, like its Italian beef namesake.

The Fortune Teller will maintain regular evening hours until The Little Dipper opens, and Thenhaus said they should have snacks and some simple daily specials until then. Brown did not return request for comment.

The Scoop: I Scream Cakes closes Maplewood location

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

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I Scream Cakes closed doors at its Maplewood location Sunday, Aug. 7, just three months after opening at 7326B Manchester Road.

Owner Kerry Soraci declined to comment on the reason for the closure, but she said her flagship location at 2641 Cherokee St., will remain open. Soraci opened I Scream Cakes in 2011. “For the next few months, we’re just going to focus on our food truck events,” she said.

A sign on the door noted that the Maplewood space will see a new ice cream shop in the future.

 

 

 

Sneak Peek: Kalbi Taco Shack on Cherokee Street

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

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Korean barbecue goes south of the border when Kalbi Taco Shack opens at 2301 Cherokee St., on Saturday, June 18. Mother-daughter duo Sue and Olivia Shackelford helm the kitchen and serve flavorful, Korean-inspired proteins with a Latin flare.

Guests can choose to dine in or carryout any of the tacos, burritos, quesadillas, rice bowls or banh mi sandwiches filled with a choice of boneless beef short rib, sweet and spicy chicken, spicy pork or tofu. Pair the meal with kimchi, spicy cucumbers or Asian slaw and wash it down with a bubble tea, slushy or soda.

The bright, vibrant dining room seats around 50 while the ample, shaded patio accommodates another 48 at communal picnic tables. The semi-open kitchen was built out and offers diners a view of food prep. Open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, here’s what to expect when you step up to the counter at Kalbi Taco Shack.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Vista Ramen on Cherokee

Friday, May 27th, 2016

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Unlike many of us, the crew at Vista Ramen will be hard at work on Memorial Day. Doors open for dinner service at Cherokee Street’s newest restaurant on Monday, May 30. As The Scoop reported in August, executive chef Chris Bork (formerly of Blood & Sand) and The Mudhouse owners Jeremy and Casey Miller announced plans to turn the space at 2609 Cherokee St., into a 36-seat restaurant featuring ramen and Asian-inspired dishes.

The narrow space features a long open kitchen lined with a bar and a row of seats, while small tables line the front windows. The space’s design was heavily influenced by the 1930s, as was its name. The owners named the restaurant Vista after purchasing the large 1930s neon sign that glows at the entrance. Several local artisans had a hand in the restaurant’s design, including gold-leaf lettering by Phil Jarvis, handmade ramen bowls by Karabel and the kitchen bar hewn by woodworker Pete Voss.

Bork created a small menu featuring three ramen bowls: the pork-based Vista, the spicy shrimp and a vegetarian option with miso-roasted carrot and daikon and “coconut schmaltz.” Cherokee neighbor Midwest Pasta Co. makes the springy, thick ramen noodles. His small plates menu features dishes like a house-made Thai sausage, Korean fried chicken and a kimchi pancake.

General manager and beverage director Aaron Stovall helms the bar tucked into the corner of the restaurant. A small, curated selection of alcoholic beverage is meant to complement the food, including seven beers in bottles or cans, a handful of wines and a selection of spirits. Group service for sake and Japanese shochu will be offered. Stoval, who spent four years at The Mudhouse, has also curated a house tea program with help from Retrailer Tea.

Vista Ramen will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect when you step inside Cherokee Street’s newest restaurant.

 

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Edible Weekend: 3 more food-filled events this weekend

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

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Don’t sit at home and miss out on the food and fun this weekend. Get out and experience these yummy events:

1. Maplewood gets in on the Cinco de Mayo festivities with five full days of food and drink specials at Maya Cafe, including discounted margaritas, sangria, tequila cocktails, tacos and live music. May 3 to 7, mayacafestl.com

2. Join the fiesta on Cherokee Street at the neighborhood’s Cinco de Mayo celebration. Enjoy the parade, then grab food from stands outside La Vallesana, Taqueria el Bronco, Don Carlos, Byrd & Barrel and newly opened Mezcla. May 7, cincodemayostl.com

3. Stroll through restaurants in the historic Hill neighborhood at The Hill Wine Walk. Fill your commemorative glass with samples at participating locations and enjoy entertainment. Tickets available online. May 7, shopthehill.com 

Still hungry? Then sign up for Edible Weekend, our newly redesigned weekly newsletter, and get the weekend’s top four foodie events delivered directly to your inbox every Wednesday. Click here to sign up now!

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