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Nov 27, 2015
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Posts Tagged ‘Clayton’

First Look: 801 Fish in Clayton

Friday, November 20th, 2015



The surf joined the turf on Thursday, Nov. 19 when 801 Fish opened at 172 Carondelet Plaza across the street from its sister restaurant, 801 Chophouse, in Clayton. Seafood dominates the menu in the 210-seat, upscale establishment. More than 2,500 wine labels arrived earlier this week and were placed in the floor-to-ceiling wine case so tall that retrieving bottles on the top shelf requires a ladder.

Daily shipments of fish and other undersea ingredients feature in the menu from tartare and crudo to pasta and entrees. The expansive raw bar showcases fresh oysters, shrimp and fish, while the cocktail bar offers wine, spirits and beer including Civil Life and Modern Brewery options on tap. The dessert menu is exclusive to 801 Fish’s St. Louis location and is under the direction of former Farmhaus pastry chef, Sarah Mispagel.

801 Fish is open Tuesday through Saturday at 4 p.m. The restaurant will add lunch service next Tuesday, Nov. 24 p.m. Here’s a look at what to expect when you dive in:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 



The Scoop: Louie’s Wine Dive to open location in Clayton

Monday, October 12th, 2015



There’s a brand-new wine spot coming to Clayton. Louie’s Wine Dive will open in the old Tani Sushi Bistro location at 16 S. Bemiston Ave., as first reported by the St. Louis Business Journal. Owner Whitney VinZant said he’s looking at an early 2016 opening.

The 90-seat restaurant will be the seventh Louie’s location nationwide, the first of which opened in Des Moines, Iowa in April 2012, and the first St. Louis-area location. “We’ve wanted to be in St. Louis and have looked at real estate there for a long time,” VinZant said. “Traditionally, we built our company on being unique to the neighborhoods we serve. We plan on doing the same thing in Clayton.”

Because each location is set up to partially reflect the area it’s in, about half of the menu will be left to the chef. The other half of the menu will include tried and trues from Louie’s Wine Dive’s other locations. The Clayton location will also feature ingredients sourced from local farms, a weekly weekend prix fixe three-course dinner and various wine dinners

Louie’s Clayton location will also feature local Missouri wines on their extensive wine list. “We try to focus on smaller, more undiscovered vineyards, in general, with an emphasis always on quality,” VinZant said. “We seek to make wine accessible … We will also open any bottle if a table purchases two glasses.”


The Scoop: J. Buck’s and Joe Buck’s to close for good Oct. 30

Friday, October 9th, 2015




As the post-season gets underway, a longtime Caridinals-themed eatery prepares to bid farewell. Owner Doug Albrecht has decided to shutter both J. Buck’s in Clayton and Joe Buck’s in downtown St. Louis at the end of October. Lunch and dinner will be served for the final time on Oct. 30.

Citing increased operational costs, spokesperson Courtney Muller said the leases at both locations were due for renewal at the beginning of November and would not be resigned. “It is a good time to move forward,” Mueller said. “(Albrecht) felt like this was a good time to go out on a high note with another Cardinals post-season.”

Buck’s opened in Clayton in 1999, while Joe Buck’s opened downtown in 2008, the same year Albrecht took ownership. “We’ve had an incredible run of providing a wonderful gathering place for families and visitors to enjoy a great meal and create memories,” Albrecht said in a press release.

Gift card holders are encouraged to visit during the baseball post-season to redeem remaining balances. Those who cannot will be able to receive a refund of the balance after Oct. 30.

Albrecht was not immediately available for additional comment.


The Scoop: Bocci Wine Bar shutters in Clayton

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015



Bocci Wine Bar in Clayton poured its last glass last Saturday, Sept. 26, as first reported by St. Louis Business Journal.

Owner Frank Schmitz, who also owns Barcelona Tapas and Coastal Bistro, said space at 16 N. Central Ave., in Clayton is up for renewal, and he is weighing his options. “I’m looking into different concepts for the Bocci space but don’t have details now,” Schmitz said.

This isn’t the first closure for the Bocci space. Schmitz shut the doors at Bocci Bar in January 2014 to reconcept the eatery, reopening as Bocci Wine Bar with an updated menu, decor and wine menu in April 2014. Schtmitz opened the restaurant in 2010.



The Scoop: Tilfords sell Barrister’s in Clayton

Monday, July 6th, 2015




Jason Tilford, co-owner and executive chef of Tilford Restaurant Group, and his wife, Colleen Tilford, have sold their interest in Barrister’s in Clayton. The new proprietors, Sam and Kristie Boctor, assumed ownership of the popular soccer pub, located at 7923 Forsyth Blvd., on July 1.

Tilford explained the sale means he can focus on growing the dining concepts that he owns with brother Adam Tilford. Those include Mission Taco Joint, Milagro Modern Mexican, Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen and Cater Al Fresco. Barrister’s was the only non-Mexican concept among the bunch, and Tilford felt the neighborhood bar “needs an owner-operator on-site,” which his busy schedule did not permit.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “It was my baby.” The Tilfords opened Barrister’s in 2004 at 15 N. Meramec Ave. They relocated it to its current location in 2013.

Soccer fans needn’t worry, though. The bar will still continue to show their favorite matches on TV. “There’s no need to change. We kept the staff. It’s just new management,” said Kristie Boctor, who was looking to purchase a turnkey bar operation with her husband. “After meeting Colleen and Jason, we knew we had similar styles. We loved what they’d done with the place. That’s the kind of place we wanted. Jason and Colleen had an image of a gastropub, and we really want to see that through.”

The Boctors both have experience in the hospitality industry. Sam Boctor’s 20-year career, primarily at the front of the house, includes stints at Algonquin Golf Club, Cardwell’s, Busch’s Grove, Monarch and Mosaic in Des Peres. Kristie Boctor has worked for several years as a meeting planner for an insurance company.

Barely a week into their new role as owners of Barrister’s, Boctor said they couldn’t be happier. Fans packed the house yesterday, July 5, to watch the U.S. Women’s National Team take home the World Cup. “There are passionate soccer people who know this bar. The intention is to keep it the same,” she said.


The Scoop: The Libertine’s Josh Galliano to join Companion Bakery, Schlafly chef Matt Bessler to replace Galliano

Monday, June 15th, 2015




Executive chef Josh Galliano is leaving The Libertine and joining the bread-baking crew at Companion beginning June 22. Galliano’s last day at the Clayton eatery, which he has helmed since it opened in May 2013, is this Thursday, June 18.

“I’m going to be … learning the ins and outs of everything they do,” Galliano said, noting his recent fascination with fermentation. “It’s stuff I want to know about. This allows me to delve into (bread baking) more and to do it with training wheels on because these guys are pros at it.”

Companion owner Josh Allen likened Galliano’s position to that of a bread production manager. In addition to his interest in baking and food science, Allen said Galliano also brings “tremendous leadership skills and a great mentoring ability” to Companion. He also said Galliano’s skills as a chef will be used when Companion moves to a larger facility in Maryland Heights Sept. 1.

The new location will have an educational center with a baking school and a full-service bakery and cafe. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for both of us,” Allen said. “(Josh) is always posting pictures on Instagram about baking bread, and he’s kind of a science geek at heart.”

Galliano’s departure means that Matt Bessler, former chef at Schlafly Bottleworks will helm the kitchen at The Libertine. Bessler, a longtime friend of co-owners Nick and Audra Luedde, started his career at Schlafly in 2000 and worked his way from prep cook to chef with an emphasis on farm-to-table cuisine.

“Josh knew for months that he was going to move on to Companion,” said Nick Luedde, who wished Galliano well in his future endeavors. “Ultimately we’re a family restaurant and a close team … (Bessler) will be true to the heart of The Libertine.”

The Libertine kitchen will also see the departure of chef de cuisine Josh Poletti, who confirmed he is leaving for another opportunity. His last day is also June 18. However, sous chef William Volny will stay on to work with Bessler on the new menu, which Luedde said will change from “fine dining where people can only afford to eat once a month to a place where the neighborhood can come out once a week and not burn a hole in their pocketbooks.”

Bessler’s new menu will include a more traditional format – appetizers, entrees and sides – and also feature sharable items that can serve two to 20.


Ligaya Figueras, Kristin Schultz and Catherine Klene contributed to this report.

The Scoop: Clayton debuts pop-up sidewalk seating with parklets

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015




Clayton’s first foray into pop-up sidewalk seating was recently unveiled in front of Barcelona Tapas. It’s called a parklet and the public space seating can seat up to 14 people, as reported by St. Louis Magazine. The expandable patio measures 6.6-by-18 feet, about the size of two parallel parking spots.

“This is the king of the parklet pilot program,” said George Ertle, assistant to the city manager in Clayton. “We’ll see if it’s an idea worth pursuing.”

Ertle said the parklet idea came from committee meetings for Clayton’s Strategic Planning Process, dubbed “C the Future.” Frank Schmitz, owner of Barcelona Tapas, said he had seen parklets popping up in his travels to various cities over the past three years, prompting him to bring up the idea while serving on the committee.

Designed by Tao+Lee Associates and built by Pinnacle Contracting for Clayton, the project cost about $30,000. The parklet is made of pine wood sideboards, a galvanized steel ramp for the walkway from the street to the portable street seating, and Trex composite decking for the flooring, that will stay cool when it’s hot outside.

“It’s a public space, but the city allows Barcelona Tapas to use it,” Schmitz said, noting that people can enjoy the parklet with or without ordering from the restaurant. He said the tiny addition to the alfresco seating on North Central Avenue has been well-received, with people eating, socializing and relaxing.

The lighter traffic flow on North Central Avenue and its narrow sidewalks make it a good spot to test the parklet prototype, Ertle said, adding that several nearby restaurants have expressed interest in using them as well.

“They’re aimed at being both business and resident friendly. Parklets absolutely enhance a restaurant or shop,” Schmitz said. “But it’s a learning process for everyone. It’s a big question of how these will be financed in the future.”

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

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