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Mar 29, 2015
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Posts Tagged ‘Clayton’

First Look: Vincent Van Doughnut in Clayton

Monday, March 16th, 2015




Doughnut shop-on-wheels Vincent Van Doughnut opened doors at its Clayton storefront at 40 N. Central Ave., Saturday, March 14. Co-owner Vincent Marsden said the new shop will carry a dozen rotating options each day, including customer favorites like the chocolate-salted caramel, cheesecake cookie crumble and maple bacon doughnuts, as well as new offerings like a maple-bacon cinnamon roll.

Keep an eye out for specials like Doughzle Holes‚ doughnut dough prepared like pretzels and finished with crunchy salt. Dip these pop-able hybrids in that day’s sauce, like a Schlafly black lager-caramel option. Marsden said springtime seasonal doughnuts will include flavors like lemon-lavender, peaches and cream, and Biscoff-Bismarck doughnuts, too.

The small shop welcomes customers with warm wooden floors, exposed brick walls and the sweet smell of fresh fried pastry. Seating is limited with just three two-tops and a small three-seat bar, as well as a small standing bar. Nosh on your choice of the day’s dozen options over a cup of Community Coffee, milk, soda or juice. Vincent Van Doughnut is open Tuesday to Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.



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-photos by Meera Nagarajan

The Scoop: Change is in the air for several Clayton restaurants

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015



Open, closed or relocating – a handful of Clayton eateries are in the midst of change.

Say farewell to the soda shop at Jennifer’s Pharmacy. An old-fashioned soda fountain is not part of owner Jennifer Rich’s future plans when she relocates her pharmacy from 30 N. Central Ave., to The Oxford Building in Clayton at 141 N. Meramec Ave., Suite 315 at the end of March.

“(Rich) sees this health pharmacy as something that’s really taking off. She likes that and wants to concentrate on that more and be there for the patients,” said employee and spokesperson Isabel Biesterfeld.

March 14 is the last day for the soda shop. “We have had an amazingly wonderful time here,” said Biesterfeld, who has worked the soda fountain for the last decade.

Tani Sushi Bistro will also have a new home by April if construction continues as scheduled. Owner Eric Heckman is moving the restaurant from its perch at 16 S. Bemiston Ave., to 7726 Forsyth Blvd., in a two-level space next to Kakao Chocolate in the Centene Building. Look for minimal changes to the menu with minor swaps to hot entrees.

House of Wong has moved around the corner from its spot at 46 N. Central Ave., to a new home at 19 N. Bemiston Ave. Restaurant manager P.J. Lohani said the move occurred three weeks ago. The new space is smaller than House of Wong’s previous home, offering seating for 32 diners.

Look for doors to open in early March at Vincent Van Doughnut’s first brick-and-mortar location at 40 N. Central Ave., the space vacated by Pomme. Owner Brian Marsden had originally hoped to unlock doors by late December, as Sauce reported last fall.

-photo by Jonathan S. Pollack




The Scoop: Mad Tomato to close after Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015



Valentine’s Day will be bittersweet this year at Mad Tomato. Chef-owner Vito Racanelli Jr. confirmed the Italian eatery in Clayton is closing doors for good after dinner service on Feb. 14.

Racanelli said the sluggish economy and continual construction surrounding his restaurant, which is situated between the St. Louis County buildings on Carondelet Avenue, contributed to his decision. “We have been surrounded by construction since we opened,” he said. “From the renovation of the Clayton Police Department to now, it’s been an uphill battle.”

Racanelli said he has no immediate plans to open another restaurant, instead spending the next few months with his wife, Amy Racanelli, preparing for the birth of their child. “This is a decision that was made by myself and my wife for the betterment of my family,” he said. “I have no regrets, and I hold no grudges. It’s just time to move on.”

Mad Tomato opened doors in May 2011; Sauce reviewed the restaurant later that year.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: The Wine Merchant prepares to move to larger location

Monday, January 26th, 2015



After 20 years on South Hanley Road, The Wine Merchant will relocate just two blocks away at 7817 Forsyth Blvd., as reported by St. Louis Business Journal. Wine Merchant vice president Jason Main said plans to move the specialty shop first surfaced in spring 2014 when a developer approached shop management.

Rehab to the space, the former home of First National Bank, began in late fall. “There will be an amazing level of rehab,” Main said. “The interior will be mezzanine style. We’re getting a new computer system, a new wine rack and liquor cabinet. It will be the coolest wine shop in St. Louis.”

Other building improvements include two second-floor event spaces. Main said the rooms, which will seat about 30 people each, will be used for more frequent, enhanced classes, winemaker symposiums and private tastings. “People call up and want a class for eight people,” Main said. “The new space will mostly be able to accommodate that. We’re also talking about adding Sunday classes. We’re in uncharted territory. We’re going to take it slow and see what develops and what the public wants.”

While some elements are expanding, the shop’s extensive selection of wine and cheese will remain the same “We like to keep it seasonal,” he said. “All of our employees have tasted the wines, and … we taste everything before we buy it.”

Look for The Wine Merchant to move into its new building in late spring or early summer.



The Scoop: Half & Half to add dinner service

Monday, December 8th, 2014



Fans of Mike Randolph’s daytime eatery Half & Half can soon sate their bacon-and-egg cravings in the evening, too. The popular Clayton breakfast spot will add dinner service beginning Dec. 16.

Shortly after it opened in July 2011, the space at 8135 Maryland Ave., operated as Half & Half during the day, then transformed into avant garde Mexican restaurant Medianoche. That dinner concept later became Little Country Gentleman, which ended its service in December 2013. Since then, Randolph did not sit idle, relaunching popular Neapolitan pizzeria The Good Pie in The Loop and working on his next concept, Mexican gastropub Público. While Half & Half continued to flourish, it remained empty in the evening hours, and many pondered what Randolph would do next.

“That was a missed opportunity, business-wise, for me,” Randolph said. “It won’t be an outlet to experiment like Little Country Gentleman or Medianoche were. Customers have been asking for it.”

Half & Half will continue its regular morning-to-midday operating schedule, then reopen its doors from 5 to 9 p.m. Customers can expect their usual Half & Half favorites, as well as the addition of a few new dinner items like pot roast, fish and chips, mashed potatoes and fried chicken. Wines by the glass and classic cocktails like Old-Fashioneds and gin martinis will be added to the beverage list. Randolph will helm the kitchen with new chef de cuisine Nathan Donsky, former Prasino chef de cuisine, at his side.

The addition of Half & Half’s dinner service comes on the heels of Death in the Afternoon’s announcement that it, too, would serve nighttime fare beginning February 2015 and as Kevin Nashan’s Peacemaker Lobster and Crab Co. adds lunch service today, Dec. 8.


-photo by Carmen Troesser

Hit List: 4 new places you must try this month

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014



1. Avenue: 12 N. Meramec Ave., Clayton, 314.727.4141, avestl.com

Chef-owner Bryan Carr’s Clayton restaurant is one part Pomme, one part Pomme Café and one part something new and different. While regulars of the now-shuttered Pomme will still find their favorites on the dinner menu (rainbow trout amandine, eggplant involtini and Apples for Olivia dessert, to name a few), Carr has added new entrees, small plates and even a daily selection of fresh oysters. Don’t miss a starter of wild mushrooms with burrata on toasted baguette, or a fresh kale salad sporting farro, snap peas, roasted apples and walnuts. With weekday breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. and a late-night bar menu of sandwiches and light bites (that you can enjoy with a classic cocktail, glass of wine or a bottled brew), Avenue has something to nosh almost any time hunger strikes.




2. The Side Project Cellar: 7373 Marietta Ave., Maplewood, 314.224.5211, sideprojectbrewing.com

The Side Project Cellar is the newest watering hole for those seeking well-crafted brews. Among the 24 taps, expect Belgian ales, rare brews and, of course, creations from Side Project Brewing, the gypsy beer operation by founder Cory King (also head brewer at Perennial Artisan Ales). The Side Project Cellar is serious about serving beer at its best. Consider: a three-temperature draft system that King built himself, 10 types of glassware and even traditional wicker lambic baskets to keep the bottle on its side so the yeast doesn’t cloud your glass. Beer nerds can camp out at one of two bars in this wood-heavy, 50-seat spot, along with whiskey drinkers who can swirl and sniff dozens of whiskeys served neat, on the rocks or with water. No mixers – this is a tasting bar, after all.



3. Larder & Cupboard: 7310 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.300.8995, larderandcupboard.com

Does anyone need artisanal barrel-aged fish sauce? Maybe not, but you’ll come up with plenty of reasons to stock up after a visit to Maplewood’s newest specialty food shop. Once an interior design showroom, the space is now filled with delicious small-batch goodies. While St. Louis-area labels such as Marcoot Jersey Creamery (cheese), SeedGeeks (honey, heirloom seeds and more) and Salume Beddu (cured meat) are represented at Larder & Cupboard, explore edibles new to The Lou like the unbelievably satiny Annabella Buffalo Creamery dulce de leche and sweet-tart Wineforest elderberry shrub. The shop even carries foodstuffs by producers who have earned national accolades for their sustainable production methods, which means you can fill your shopping basket to the brim guilt-free.


4. Sugarfire Pie: 9200 Olive St., Suite 108, Olivette, 314.736.6300, sugarfirepie.com

Promising “Everything Pie,” pastry ace Carolyn Downs and the team at Sugarfire Pie needed some elbow room in which to bake – so they set up shop two doors down from sister restaurant Sugarfire Smoke House in Olivette. The hip interior (murals of aproned homemakers holding up pie, Twin Peaks memorabilia and Cyndi Lauper spinning on vinyl) seats 40 with room to stand at the glass wall and observe the pie production in the kitchen. Try the seasonal versions of baked creations like bread pudding, hand pies or whoopie pies, then move on to the candy bar-esque pie Hello Dolly or one of Downs’ decadent pie cakes (yes, pie baked inside a cake). For dessert (ha!), wash it down with an all-local float made with Excel soda and Ronnie’s ice cream, or hit up the self-serve frozen custard bar and its myriad toppings, including pie crumbles.


-photos by Michelle Volansky


The Scoop: Vincent Van Doughnut to open shop in Clayton

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014



For Brian Marsden, owner of Vincent Van Doughnut food truck and soon-to-be Clayton storefront at 40 N. Central Ave., the love of doughnuts runs deep.

“As a kid, I would go through sleeves of those processed, powdered sugar doughnuts,” said Marsden, a more than 20-year veteran of the restaurant industry. Love for the fried treat followed Marsden into adulthood, and in November 2013, a 1960 Ford Grumman Olson step van known affectionately as “Clyde” began rolling St. Louis streets, serving up a wide variety of classic and specialty doughnut creations.

“Things just took off,” said Marsden, who received a call to compete on the premiere of Cooking Channel’s “Donut Showdown” soon after launching the food truck. Vincent Van Doughnut clinched first place, bringing home bragging rights and $10,000.

As first reported by Feast Magazine, Vincent Van Doughnut is now expanding its business with a brick and mortar slated to open late December. “We have been looking for a storefront for over a year,” explained Marsden. “In Clayton, we found what we wanted.”

The new Vincent Van Doughnut will land next door to Barcelona Tapas in the space that was previously home to Pomme, at 12 N. Meramec Ave. Marsden says fans of the food truck needn’t worry; they can continue to catch Vincent Van Doughnut curbside throughout St. Louis, too.

Marsden envisions the storefront like a European cafe, offering breakfast and coffee options to complement its lineup of classic and artisanal doughnuts. Other offerings will likely include scones and croissants, and Marsden is also considering items like Alumni’s decadent Vincent Van Doughnut-pudding made with his cake doughnuts.

Inside, the storefront has exposed brick, hardwood floors and enough space for just under 20 seats. Marsden expects to be open early, around 6 a.m., to cater to the Clayton work crowd, but he said he might have late-night hours on the weekends to accommodate bar goers.

The new location will also place Marsden near his brother, Brendan Marsden, who heads Whitebox Eatery at 176 Carondelet Plaza. “We’re stoked,” Brian Marsden said. “The response to Vincent Van Doughnut has been overwhelming, and we’re excited to keep growing.”


The Scoop: 801 Fish to join sister restaurant in Clayton

Monday, November 10th, 2014



Midwest-based 801 Restaurant Group has announced plans to open 801 Fish in summer 2015. As reported by George Mahe of St. Louis Magazine, the seafood restaurant will open at 172 Carondelet Plaza, which formerly housed Brazikat. 801 Fish will be located close to its sister restaurant 801 Chophouse at 137 Carondelet Plaza, which opened in December 2013. This is the second location for the 801 Fish concept.

801 Chophouse general manager Ian Rockwell said Clayton was a good fit for the two restaurants to showcase their complementary concepts. “801 Fish has all the hallmarks of the Chophouse, but it’s the inverse. In contrast to dark colors and rich hues, 801 Fish provides a fresh, clean and crisp feel,” he said.

Rockwell said Clayton diners can expect to find a menu similar to the Leawood, Kansas location with a few minor changes. 801 Fish will receive daily deliveries of fresh seafood from several vendors, including those who currently provide for 801 Chophouse’s daily fresh fish offerings. 801 Fish customers will dine on constantly changing market selections, as well as caviar, shellfish platters and a raw bar. A tailored list of wines and cocktails will also featured at the new space.


-photo courtesy of 801 Fish

The Scoop: Athlete Eats’ Simon Lusky aims for a hat trick with second location, new concept and food truck

Monday, October 27th, 2014



Baseball season may be almost over, but Athlete Eats owner Simon Lusky isn’t slowing down. Now that the Cardinals team chef is in the off-season, Lusky announced plans for rapid expansion of the Athlete Eats brand with a second location in Brentwood, a food truck and another restaurant concept.

Athlete Eats opened its brick-and-mortar cafe at 2837 Cherokee St. in February 2014, specializing in health-focused eats, fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies and even house-made kombucha on tap. The small cafe also provided a bigger kitchen for Lusky to expand his prepared meal delivery service. Now, less than a year after opening, Lusky said he has found a second location in Brentwood to debut in spring 2015. “We really like Cherokee, and it was a great place for us to start, but we have so many customers coming from that way,” he said. “We wanted to be more accessible.”

The new location (the address will be announced in the coming weeks) will initially offer the same menu as the flagship location, but with 1,200 square feet and a patio, the new Athlete Eats will seat 50, more than four times the capacity of the first. Lusky said he hopes to expand menu options at the Brentwood location and plans to offer daily breakfast and later nighttime hours.

But for those who can’t make it to either spot, Athlete Eats may just come to them. The Athlete Eats food truck is slated to roll out in early 2015 to add more fast-casual healthy options downtown, as well as at special events like marathons and cycling races. Athlete Eats kitchen manager Beth Ruble will helm the mobile eatery.

And if that weren’t enough, Lusky has his sights set on Clayton to debut another health-conscious restaurant concept with a fine-dining bent.  He’s particularly excited to design a bar program featuring local or organic beers and wines and cocktails made with fresh squeezed juice or kombucha. “We really want our presence to be felt in St. Louis and in other areas of the city,” Lusky said. “I’m only 26 years old, and I feel like let’s go for it now while I have the energy.”

-photo by Ashley Gieseking


The Scoop: Bryan Carr to close Pomme Restaurant and Pomme Café & Wine Bar, open Avenue in Roxane space

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014


Editor’s Note: This Scoop has been updated to include comments from Roxane co-owner Natasha Creel.

Chef-owner Bryan Carr is closing his two Clayton restaurants, Pomme Restaurant and Pomme Café & Wine Bar, with plans to merge the best elements of each in a new restaurant called Avenue. The new concept will be located just one block west of the Pomme eateries, at 12 N. Meramec Ave., in the space currently occupied by Roxane. That Clayton establishment recently announced it is closing its doors for good this Saturday, Sept. 6, on its Facebook page.

“We were looking for a way to combine the two restaurants,” Carr said. “We hoped to stay on N. Central, maybe expand, but we couldn’t find a practical way to do that. We wanted to stay in the same neighborhood, (wanted) a friendly space and one that is easy to use. We love the outdoor dining in our new location. The layout gives us a chance to separate one room when needed so we can accommodate private events.”

Regular guests at Pomme restaurants will notice numerous similarities between those eateries and Avenue – from décor to dishes to precise execution in preparation and service. While the old Roxane space won’t undergo structural changes, Carr said it will see cosmetic ones. “Diane (Carr) will put her style on it,” he said. “If you like the rooms at Pomme, you’ll like the room at Avenue.”

As for familiar dishes, look for Pomme Café’s trout and some pasta dishes on Avenue’s menu, as well as Pomme Restaurant’s short ribs and its notable Apples For Olivia dessert, honey-roasted apples in puff pastry with pine nut cream and apple sorbet. Pomme Restaurant will close in late September, with the cafe following soon afterward, according to Carr. Avenue will open in early October.

Roxane co-owner Natasha Creel said after more than seven years, she and co-owner Emily Matthes decided they were ready for a new project. “It was time to take a step back … focus a bit more on ourselves and do a smaller venture,” Creel said.

Creel and Matthes are starting This and That Catering and have plans to roll out a food truck. Creel said that like Roxane’s, the menus for both the catering company and the food truck will be an eclectic selection of anything from smoked meats to Mexican fare. Look for more information about their upcoming mobile eatery closer to its launch date in mid-October.

Catherine Klene contributed to this report.

-photo by Richard Nichols

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