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Dec 12, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Danny Meyer’

First Look: Shake Shack in the Central West End

Monday, December 11th, 2017

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The day has finally come. Shake Shack opened for business at its first St. Louis location today, Dec. 11, at 32 N. Euclid Ave.

“I never would have predicted that Shake Shack would be the thing that would bring me home,” said founder Danny Meyer, whose Union Square Hospitality Group is best known for fine dining.

Meyer grew up in St. Louis before becoming one of New York’s most famous restaurateurs. The newest location of his internationally popular burger chain is blocks away from where he was born and where his dad lived in the Central West End.

Meyer was inspired by his childhood favorites when he originally developed Shake Shack’s menu of griddle burgers and hot dogs, crinkle-cut fries and concretes – including Steak ‘n Shake, Fitz’s and Ted Drewes. “A great Saturday was when Dad would say, ‘Let’s go to Fitz’s,’” Meyer said.

His hometown also inspired his hospitality philosophy. “I continue to believe that the secret ingredient in all of our restaurants has always been the values that I was fortunate enough to grow up with here in St. Louis, which is: people are nice,” Meyer said.

 

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St. Louis-style hospitality is one of two secret ingredients Meyer credits for Shake Shack’s success. “The other is coming from a fine dining background. Through years and years of opening restaurants like Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern and Eleven Madison Park and The Modern, we know people,” he said. “We source our products just like we do in our fine-dining restaurants.”

The beef in Shake Shack’s smashed patties is all hormone-free. The concretes are made with real sugar and offer a range of local flavors including slices of Pie Oh My!, Park Avenue Coffee gooey butter cake and Winslow’s Home chocolate cookies. “I grew up with the family who started Winslow’s Home,” Meyer said.

Meyer’s attention to detail was evident just two days before opening. He didn’t choose the location or oversee construction in St. Louis, but he did make sure staff knew how much fizz should top a draft pour of Fitz’s root beer.

While walking through the local bottled beer selection – Schlafly, 4 Hands and Urban Chestnut are all represented – he took a step back and glowered at the display. “Do you see the problem I see?” he asked.

A stack of Mast Brothers chocolate for sale sat beside the beer. If they went through all the trouble of getting excellent local chocolate in the St. Louis concretes menu, Meyer explained, why would they sell Mast Bros. bars? “Not that I’m ashamed of Mast,” he said. “I’m just really proud of Askinosie.”

He had the kitchen staff bring out a huge bag of Missouri-based Askinosie chocolate chunks. “That’s really good,” he said as the staff started passing them around.

“I haven’t been sleeping – I’ve been so excited for this,” Meyer said. Shake Shack is now open Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. Here’s a first look at the highly anticipated new restaurant:

 

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Photos by Caitlin Lally 

Heather Hughes is managing editor at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Shake Shack will open Dec. 11 in the Central West End

Danny Meyer to open Shake Shack in St. Louis

 

Shake Shack will open Dec. 11 in the Central West End

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

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The wait is almost over. Almost two years after The Scoop first reported Shake Shack was coming to St. Louis, the popular burger chain will debut at 32 N. Euclid Ave,. in the Central West End on Monday, Dec. 11.

St. Louis native Danny Meyer founded Shake Shack in New York City and has opened locations all over the world, but this will be the first in his hometown. The CWE location will include plenty of nods to St. Louis, along with standbys like smash burgers and crinkle fries. The Mound City Double cheeseburger features Provel cheese, Niman Ranch bacon and “STL Sauce.”

“I learned the meaning and feeling of genuine hospitality while growing up in St. Louis, a lesson that has shaped my life and guided my career,” Meyer said in a statement. “When I jotted down the first Shake Shack menu, it was my favorite childhood food memories that most inspired me, and I’m thrilled that Shake Shack has at last found a home in my hometown.”

There are also three local frozen custard concoctions: the Central West End Blend, made with vanilla custard, salted caramel sauce and Park Avenue Coffee gooey butter cake; the Chocolate Chip Cookie with chocolate custard, a chocolate chip cookie from Winslow’s Home, chunks of Askinosie dark chocolate and salted caramel sauce; and the Pie Oh My, vanilla custard with a slice of Pie Oh My! seasonal pie. Local beers from Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., 4 Hands Brewing Co. and Schlafly will also be available.

Photo courtesy of Shake Shack

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Ones to Watch 2017: Sam Witherspoon of Sardella

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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Title: Executive sous chef, Sardella
Age: 27
Why watch him: He proves good guys can get ahead.

Sam Witherspoon’s resume reads like a cutthroat careerist’s: the New York Culinary Institute of America to Danny Meyer’s Maialino to Donald Link’s Cochon, then Gerard Craft’s Niche and now Sardella. The lineup may evoke a sense of cold-bloodedness, a ruthless master plan, but that impression would be wrong for the guy Sardella executive chef Nick Blue called his “softer side.”

“I’ve never really had a plan,” Witherspoon said. “I always just kind of go where I want to go and I figure it out when I get there.” He’s gotten where he is simply by aiming high, giving it a shot. He secured the job at Niche with a cold call – an effort that would seem laughable if it hadn’t worked. “I have the attitude of start at the top,” he said. “Because it’s easier to start there than it is to start down and try to move up.”

This strategy, of course, only works if you have the skills to support it. “He has a really playful sense of food … an ability to translate comfort food into modern food,” Craft said. Take, for example, Witherspoon’s recent special at Sardella: a pastrami-spiced brisket and squash agnolotti served with pickled and butter-braised cabbage. “It doesn’t taste like it’s just a riff [on a Reuben],” Craft said. “It is its own dish – something nuanced and unique.’”

But for Witherspoon, being a chef has as much to do with how you treat people as what you serve them. “It’s almost impossible not to smile when you see Sam. He boosts everybody’s mood,” Craft said. “He’s a very positive spirit in the kitchen. That’s totally separate from cooking ability, but almost more important sometimes.”

He learned this during his externship at Maialino, where it wasn’t just the high pressure or long hours that impressed him. “These guys were very serious about what they did, but they walked in every day, they shook your hand, asked you how you were doing,” Witherspoon said. “They really invested in you, and that’s something I’ve carried with me throughout my entire career.”

A focus on hospitality in and out of the kitchen may sound peripheral, but it’s something that sets Witherspoon apart. A lot of people with serious culinary talent don’t make it past sous. “To be a great leader, there’s a certain amount of positivity that has to be there for people to want to work for you,” Craft said. He was equally impressed by Witherspoon’s ability to interact with guests. “If you’re going to do your own thing, you’ve got to have it – or you better hire somebody who does.”

There’s no doubt Witherspoon will have a lot of people working for him someday. For now, aside from having his voice heard through more dishes on Sardella’s menu, his goal is simple: “I would love to be able to give Nick Blue a day off.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

From Shake Shack shake-ups to taco turnovers, it’s been a busy week in the St. Louis food scene. Here’s everything that went down, in case you missed it…

 

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1. Get ready, burger lovers. NYC restaurateur and St. Louis native Danny Meyer is bringing Shake Shack to The Lou. Meyer announced Friday, Feb. 12, that he will open a location at 32 N. Euclid Ave., in the Central West End in 2017.

2. Hard rock and hot dogs will come together when Steve’s Hot Dogs opens its third location in Suite 100 at The Pageant on March 4.

 

 

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3. Taco turnover is in the works in the Central West End. Owner Chris Sommers announced that he will close doors for good at Gringo, but the space won’t sit idle for long. Co-owners and brothers Adam and Jason Tilford plan to open their third St. Louis location of Mission Taco Joint therein just two short months.

4. Many know Cugino’s Italian Bar & Grill for its extensive draft list, but soon the restaurant will host a new option in local beer. Narrow Gauge Brewing is scheduled to begin production early this spring, operating out of a space inside the Florissant restaurant.

 

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5. Boundary at The Cheshire opened doors Feb. 8 at 6300 Clayton Road, in the space formerly known as The Restaurant.

6. Former J. Buck’s executive chef Patrick Viehmann took his experience at the now-shuttered Clayton restaurant to Dogtown in January when he joined Seamus McDaniel’s as general manager.

 

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7. Restaurateur and chef Ben Poremba’s latest eatery, Parigi, is firing up the burners in Clayton at 8025 Bonhomme Ave.

8. If you have onions, butter and pasta, you’ve got dinner. Try our Braised Onion Pasta dish for an easy vegetarian meal.

 

 

The Scoop: Danny Meyer to open Shake Shack in St. Louis

Friday, February 12th, 2016

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Get ready, burger lovers. NYC restaurateur and St. Louis native Danny Meyer is bringing Shake Shack to The Lou. Meyer announced today, Feb. 12, that he will open a location at 32 N. Euclid Ave., in the Central West End in 2017.

Shake Shack is well known on the East Coast for its Midwest-inspired griddle burgers, griddle hot dog and frozen concretes. Meyer, who owns internationally acclaimed Union Square Hospitality Group, operates dozens of Shake Shack locations across the East Coast, Chicago, Austin and Las Vegas, as well as a handful of international locations.

“As much as my heart has wanted to bring this home to St. Louis, there was no way to do it unless we could do it really, really well,” Meyer said. “We finally have the leadership team ready to go and the distribution capability for the fresh food to feel like we could bring St. Louis what it deserves.”

Meyer said each Shake Shack’s menu and space is unique to that location, and St. Louisans will see a Shake Shack not just tailored to the city, but to the Central West End. “It just so happens that this corner is a block from where I was born and half a block from where my father grew up and where my grandparents lived,” Meyer said. “It was screaming, ‘This is the one.’”

If the CWE location does well, Meyer said he hopes to bring more Shake Shacks to the St. Louis market. “Whenever we go to a new city, the goal is to believe that it … is embraced by the community and does really well,” he said, adding that it was far too early to plan for anything just yet.

 

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 11 a.m. Feb. 12 to include comments from Danny Meyer. 

By the Book: The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

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For fans of Gramercy Tavern, Danny Meyer or famous restaurants in general, The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook is the book for you. With 200 photographs of sumptuous ingredients and dishes, this book is beautiful and extremely interesting.

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Danny Meyer, mega-restaurateur and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group (and native St. Louisan), writes the introduction titled, “The Making of Gramercy Tavern.” Here, he details the history of Gramercy, including the process of opening it, the philosophies behind it, the highs and lows of being reviewed, and a rather frank and honest account of his drawn-out split with Gramercy’s executive chef and co-founder Tom Colicchio. Though lengthier than some restaurant cookbook introductions, this section was a true page-turner and my favorite part of the book.

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The rest is a cookbook headed up by Gramercy executive chef Michael Anthony, who won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: New York City in 2012. Interspersed between recipes, which are arranged by season, are asides and first-person anecdotes from a variety of people who helped make Gramercy the restaurant it is, such as the muralist, the table decorator, the glass polisher, the beverage director and here, a two-page spread on the Greenmarket adventures of Modesto Batista, Gramercy’s chief steward (pictured above). This approach makes the book fun to read rather than just drool over, and it gives a comprehensive glimpse into the ins and outs of a fabled NYC restaurant.

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Not all of the recipes in the book look difficult, but I would suggest trying them on the weekend rather than attempting to whip up something for dinner after work. You would eat late – really late. In addition to signature Gramercy dishes such as the Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Bacon Broth and Cornbread, there are also some recipes that never appear on the menu but are staff favorites such as Monkey Bread (pictured above).

For cookbook collectors, foodies and lovers of restaurant history, I recommend this gorgeous book without hesitation.

What restaurant would you love to see release a cookbook and why? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Lisa, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of Edible Selby. Lisa, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!

 

 

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