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Dec 22, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘Clayton’

The Scoop: Half & Half to add dinner service

Monday, December 8th, 2014

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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

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

The Scoop: Breakfast and lunch cafe Whitebox Eatery to open in Clayton

Friday, May 30th, 2014

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The space at 176 Carondelet Plaza in Clayton is getting a new tenant. Whitebox Eatery, a breakfast and lunch concept, is slated to open in the spot formerly occupied by Stratton’s Café in late July or early August.

Whitebox Eatery is a venture headed by Brendan Marsden, co-owner of Modesto Tapas Bar & Restaurant and online wine, spirits and beer boutique Clink. The restaurant will be open daily, offering quick service, with counter ordering and food delivered to the table (on china, not plastic) by servers. To accommodate patrons pressed for time, Marsden plans to incorporate a rapid pick-up system that allows customers who place an order online or via phone to pick up their food packaged in white box carryout containers.

Breakfast offerings will include house-made pastries, breakfast sandwiches and a few hearty plates, plus doughnuts by Vincent Van Doughnut, an area food truck co-owned by Marsden’s brother, Brian Marsden. Lunch will consist primarily of sandwiches, salads and house-made soups. Marsden compared the fare to a chef-driven elevated Panera Bread, featuring as much organic and local ingredients as possible. An area chef has been tapped to helm the kitchen, but the individual’s name will be announced at a later date.

A limited selection of beer and wine will be available, including the sale of bottles for off-premise consumption, which may appeal to building employees and guests of nearby hotels.

Besides the 110-seat cafe, Whitebox will operate a kiosk in the plaza lobby for building employees. Danishes, bagels, grab-and-go items and coffee will be available at the kiosk. Whitebox will also offer delivery throughout Clayton, as well as catering.

Marsden said the restaurant’s name references the construction and real estate term for a “white box,” a space with a concrete slab floor, a finished ceiling, walls prepped for painting, lighting, and heating and cooling systems. He anticipates opening doors – after giving the space a makeover that will leave it contemporary” and sleek, yet casual.

 

 

Sneak Peek: Craft Beer Cellar

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Craft Beer Cellar opens May 17 at 8113 Maryland Ave., in Clayton. A venture by franchisees and brothers Brandon and Ryan Nickelson, the shop marks the first Missouri location for the Massachusetts-based craft beer retailer. A location in Columbia, Missouri is also in the works.

The store, which will be open daily, looks to be a craft beer haven with more than 1,000 different products available. Craft Beer Cellar also has a tasting bar and tasting tables. At the former, customers can enjoy free samples or purchase a five-beer flight. (Beer-infused baked goods by Pint Size Bakery and locally made Billy Goat chips will also be available here.) At the tasting tables, built with reclaimed wood by local furniture company Rustic Grain, brewery representatives and distributors will be on hand to offer tastings of featured brews.

Craft Beer Cellar also carries some wine and soda. With a full liquor license, Ryan Nickelson said the store may carry spirits in the future. Look also for beer-related products including books, home-brewing kits and gifts.

Here’s what you’ll find when Craft Beer Cellar opens its doors.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

First Look: 801 Chophouse

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

801 Chophouse opened doors Dec. 20 at 137 Carondelet Plaza in Clayton. The new restaurant is the fifth location of Midwest-based steakhouse for owner Jimmy Lynch. Other 801 Chophouses are located in Kansas City, Mo.; Omaha, Neb.; Des Moines, Iowa; and Leawood, Kan.

The 10,000-square-foot space that formerly housed Araka was transformed to reflect the concept’s signature 1920s style. The vast space features high ceilings, dark wood and sumptuous leather booths. In addition to the expansive dining room that seats 275, the restaurant has five private dining rooms. 801 Chophouse’s menu offers USDA Prime beef, seafood and an extensive wine list.

 

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-photos by Sara Graham

The Scoop: Clayton’s newest steakhouse nears December opening

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

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The space at 137 Carondelet Plaza in Clayton hasn’t seen diners since Araka shuttered in March. Doors are just weeks away from reopening, this time to a steakhouse instead of a Mediterranean-inspired concept.

801 Chophouse is slated to open early-to-mid December. This will mark the fifth location for the Midwest-based steakhouse. Others are located in Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Neb.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Leawood, Kan. The restaurant is the flagship concept for 801 Restaurant Group, which also operates 801 Fish and Pig & Finch Gastropub. According to Ian Rockwell, general manager for the St. Louis restaurant, the menu will mirror that of the other 801 locations, and there will be “features, seasonal things and fish preparations that change,” Rockwell said. Such offerings are noted on the restaurant’s Fresh Sheet menu and can include sushi-grade ahi tuna, live Maine lobster or wild salmon from the Pacific Northwest. Rockwell added that fish is flown in daily and filleted in-house.

Helming the kitchen will be Christopher Dennis. He recently relocated to the Gateway City from Leawood, where he worked as executive chef at that city’s 801 Chophouse. Dennis has worked at each 801 location, noted Rockwell, who likewise recently moved to St. Louis. He transferred from the restaurant’s Omaha location, where he worked as general manager.

While USDA prime beef and other steakhouse classics are the restaurant’s calling card, beverages are not an afterthought. Look for an extensive by-the-glass wine list. 801 Chophouse also will have a signature cocktail menu, including its signature 801 Martini that combines gin and vodka. Rockwell also said the bar program includes some house-made bitters and infusions.

Those who once frequented Araka will notice drastic changes to the space. The mezzanine has been removed, and a 35-seat oval-shaped bar will serve as a focal point. The restaurant’s footprint has been expanded to include the storefront to the west; the additional space enabled the construction of five private dining areas, the largest of which seats 50 guests. Expect a classic steakhouse feel to emanate from dark wood, leather booths and polished brass fixtures that decorate the venue.

 

 

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