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Mar 19, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Chip Schloss’

First Look: Firecracker Pizza & Beer in The Grove

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018



It’s been quite a wait, but Firecracker Pizza & Beer will finally open for business at 4130 Manchester Ave., in The Grove on Wednesday, March 21.

True to its name, Firecracker is all about that perfect pairing: pizza and beer. There’s a full complement of pies on the menu, and executive chef Doug Weerts offers two rotating specials, one inspired by seasonal beers (Beer Forward) and one by rock ’n’ roll (Rock It Forward), A build-your-own option is also available. There’s even a pizza flight, featuring three specialty pizzas sectioned into a single jumbo pie. The majority of toppings are made in-house, from the sauce to the pepperoni, sausage and turkey pastrami.

Not in a pizza mood? There’s also a selection of snacks and sharables on the menu, like a trio of salads; Cherry Bombs, beef and pork meatballs stuffed with blue cheese and roasted cherry pepper relish; and Boom Sticks, pizza dough stuffed with rotating fillings, cheese and sauce.

According to owner Chip Schloss, Firecracker aims to be as earth friendly as possible, so all beers will be on draft. There are 66 taps – 60 for beer and six for other beverages like wine, cider or coffee. While beer is the obvious focus, beverage director Cory Moszer has cocktails available, too, many with beer-inspired ingredients, like syrups made with beer reductions and spent grains.

Outside, the building takes a cue from sister restaurant Atomic Cowboy across the street and features a prominent firecracker-themed mural on one wall. Inside, Firecracker has 72 seats, an open kitchen and a clean red, black and gray color scheme that accentuates the industrial details of the space, like the exposed ductwork and repurposed rolling mechanics’ tool cabinets.

Firecracker will be open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Here’s a first look at The Grove’s new pizza place:

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Editor’s note: This article originally misspelled Corey Moszer’s name. It was updated at 10:35 a.m. March 8 to correct the error. 

Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

From new pizza joints in The Grove to 2nd Shift’s new home on The Hill, here’s what went down in the St. Louis food scene last week, in case you missed it.




1. The Hill is about to get sudsier as 2nd Shift Brewing announced that after a three-year search, the brewery has leased a building at 1601 Sublette Ave., which will house both production facilities and a tasting room. The new facility will be open for a preview day on Thursday, June 9, and the brewery hopes to fully open in late June or early July.




2. Doors open for dinner service at Cherokee Street’s newest restaurant on Monday, May 30. Executive chef Chris Bork and The Mudhouse owners Jeremy and Casey Miller have transformed 2609 Cherokee St., into Vista Ramen.




3. With the goal of putting pizza and beer on the same footing, Atomic Cowboy owner Chip Schloss has teamed up with chef Wil Pelly and barman Tony Saputo to open Firecracker Pizza and Beer at 4130 Manchester Road in late summer.




4. Look sharp, Maplewood. Artisan knife maker Nate Bonner and co-owner and CEO Melody Noel plan to open a production and retail space for nationally recognized NHB KnifeWorks on July 8 at 7328 Manchester Road.




5. Staff is adding the finishing touches to Stone Summit Steak and Seafood in Wentzville. Developed by the same ownership group as Hotshots, Stone Summit will be located at 17 Cliff View Drive. Former J. Buck’s executive chef Patrick Viehmann will don the top toque when the restaurant opens in June.

The Scoop: Firecracker Pizza and Beer to open in The Grove

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016



{From left, Firecracker Pizza and Beer owner Chip Schloss, chef Wil Pelly and beverage director Tony Saputo}

With the goal of putting pizza and beer on the same footing, Atomic Cowboy owner Chip Schloss has teamed up with chef Wil Pelly and barman Tony Saputo to open Firecracker Pizza and Beer at 4130 Manchester Road in late summer. “The focus will be to match the quality of the pizza with the quality of the beer,” Schloss said.

The menu is still in development. While neither Schloss nor Pelly (who was most recently corporate executive chef at Sugarfire Smoke House and oversaw culinary operations at In Good Company restaurant group before that) will divulge specifics, they said their pizza style will be unique – “the opposite of thin, wood-fired pizza” – and will incorporate ingredients also used in beer, such as brewer’s yeast or spent grains. Available by the slice or as whole pies, the pizzas will feature a variety of toppings, some with an international influence.

“If somebody wants a pepperoni pizza, we can do that, but we will have mostly nontraditional options,” Pelly said

Schloss, Pelly and Saputo plan to have a large selection of craft beers on up to 60 taps, half of which will feature local options. The remaining 30 will be divided between regional and national brands. “We want this to be a place for beer drinkers, a craft beer house,” said Saputo, who also helms Atomic Cowboy’s beverage program.

Schloss has sustainability in mind which is why any bottle program would likely be limited. “The best recycling is to not use (bottles or cans) in the first place,” he said.

Once complete, Firecracker will accommodate 80 guests inside with an equal capacity on the back patio, which will also include space for yard games. Late-night Grove-goers can look forward to an eventual window service that will offer pizza by the slice. “We want a place that feels comfortable, where people can stop before or after a concert or just hang out,” Schloss said.

The Scoop: Atomic Cowboy riding high

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Have you visited Atomic Cowboy lately? If so, you’ll notice that the longtime restaurant, bar and nightclub in The Grove is in the midst of change.

Last fall, owners Jim Kellogg and Chip Schloss asked former Lola co-owner Chris Hansen to help give Atomic Cowboy’s concert venue The Foxhole a makeover. The venue is now named The Demo, and Hansen has since become general manager of Atomic Cowboy. “It’s an institution,” Hansen said of the restaurant and bar. “We’re a big part of the evolution of The Grove. We’re in a good position to take it into the future.”

The kitchen is one place where changes were made. Derek Holthaus came aboard as executive chef in late February, while Paco Diaz, whom Hansen called one of the restaurant’s “most tenured employees,” was promoted to sous chef. The pair are turning out cuisine that Hansen described as “Texas roadhouse barbecue meets fresh Mexican.” From appetizers like sweet potato empanadas with jalapeño cream to entrees such as a barbecued chicken chimichanga, Holthaus and Diaz are giving some longtime Atomic dishes a fresh twist and transforming the back-of-the-house into a scratch kitchen where condiments and sauces, smoked meats, desserts and more are prepared in-house – when that isn’t possible, the chefs are looking to source locally.

On the beverage side, Atomic will soon see the addition of Lucas Ramsey, who is leaving his post as bartender at Blood & Sand to helm Atomic’s bar program beginning in early June. According to Hansen, Ramsey, who worked at Atomic Cowboy some years ago, has been asked to retool the cocktails, creating drinks that merge “the craft side with consistency and high volume.” Atomic Cowboy does brisk business at all three of its bars: the main bar (which is being expanded), an outdoor bar (whose massive patio is being renovated), and the bar inside The Demo.

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