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Oct 23, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Delmar Loop’

CWE, Delmar Loop restaurants rally after damage to storefronts

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

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In the wake of the not-guilty verdict against former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley on Friday, Sept. 15, in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, demonstrators have protested the outcome around the city, including the Central West End and the Delmar Loop. The demonstrations were largely peaceful, but some vandalism of area businesses, including several restaurants, occurred after the protests ended.

Evangeline’s Bistro & Music House manager Maggie Gomez said two windows were damaged at the CWE restaurant on Friday night, but no one was injured as a result. “It was better than it could have been,” Gomez said. “When they (hit) the glass, the band was on stage playing. Glass got in the piano, and the musicians had to get off stage.”

Gomez said the windows are made from shatterproof glass and remained largely intact with just some holes, and the restaurant stayed open for the remainder of the night and opened for business as usual on Saturday. She said Friday’s verdict affected business in the area over the weekend, even before the protests.

“We had a slow weekend. We were dead because of everything,” Gomez said. “We’re doing our normal hours, but I don’t think it’s going to be the same down here for a couple of weeks.”

 

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Vandalism occurred on the Delmar Loop, as well. Several establishments along Delmar Boulevard, including Salt & Smoke, Three Kings Public House and Ranoush, had windows broken on Saturday night after the protests there ended. Salt & Smoke owner Tom Schmidt said the damage occurred at approximately 11 p.m., after the restaurant closed for the night.

“No broken bones, just broken glass,” he said. “We lost about five or six windows. It could have been worse.”

The community spent the next few days decorating the boarded up businesses. Photos on the Delmar Loop’s Facebook page show volunteers painting murals depicting positive messages. Salt & Smoke also posted photos of the community cleaning up broken glass around its storefront in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Schimidt said he was able to reopen Sunday morning, and business didn’t suffer. “Sundays are always pretty crazy here, and we were full pretty much all day,” he said.

Photos courtesy of Delmar Loop Facebook 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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The Scoop: Cicero’s will shutter after 40 years in The Delmar Loop

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

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An old favorite in The Delmar Loop will close its doors for good. Cicero’s will shutter at 6691 Delmar Blvd., on Sunday, June 25 after four decades in business.

The closure was announced via Facebook on Tuesday, June 20, and comes on the heels of a previous announcement that the venue would no longer book live music, as reported by The Riverfront Times.

No specific reason was given for the closure. In the post, the owners thanked patrons and acknowledged the hard work their family put into the business over the years:

“After nearly 40 years of serving up some of St. Louis’ best pizza, and beer, among other things, we’ve determined it no longer makes sense to continue. Our father, Shawn, put his heart and soul into a place that has become a St. Louis institution. He, and our mom, Alice, sacrificed everything our family had, and took a huge risk, to open Cicero’s. We couldn’t be prouder of them for their accomplishments.”

Neither the owners nor real estate agent Ron Kramer, who will sell the building, responded to repeated requests for comment.

Photo courtesy of Cicero’s

Matt Sorrell is staff writer for Sauce Magazine. 

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The Scoop: VietNam Style aims to bring traditional Vietnamese fare to The Loop

 

The Scoop: VietNam Style aims to bring traditional Vietnamese fare to The Loop

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

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A new style is coming to the Delmar Loop in early October. Owners Thao Truong and her husband, Yun Vu, are finalizing plans to open VietNam Style, Delmar’s newest Vietnamese restaurant, at 6100 Delmar Blvd., as reported by the Riverfront Times. Truong will run the front of house and a fresh fruit smoothie bar, while Vu will helm the kitchen with Truong’s mother assisting.

Truong said VietNam Style’s food will reflect authentic cuisine she grew up with in Vietnam. “My mom helped teach me to cook,” Truong said. “Since I was 10 years old, and she always chose the best ingredients to cook with. She would send me to the markets, and when I chose one (ingredient) that was not fresh enough, she sent me back to get a better one.”

Look for traditional Vietnamese dishes like pho or grilled pork with a sweet-and-sour fish sauce served atop rice vermicelli and herbs. Truong also hopes to bring tastes of more modern Vietnamese cuisine like Sizzling Steak, a thin sliced beef dish cooked on hot cast-iron that Truong said has risen in popularity in Vietnam.

“Delmar is a place for mostly international students and people. Customers come there to try new things,” she said. “I can’t think of a better spot for my restaurant.”

When its doors open, VietNam Style will offer daily lunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., and it will open back up at 5 p.m. for dinner. The restaurant will close at 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

The Scoop: McArthur’s Bakery Café to open location in The Loop

Friday, February 5th, 2016

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McArthur’s Bakery Café will whip up a lot more frosting next month. The 60-year-old St. Louis institution announced yesterday, Feb. 4, that it will add another bakery and cafe at 6630 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop. McArthur’s will move into the space formerly occupied by St. Louis Bread Co., and is shooting for a mid-March opening.

“When we heard the space was available, we knew it was the right space for us,” said owner Scott Rinaberger. “We opened the cafe concept in Kirkwood around Labor Day, and the concept has done really well. It gave us the confidence to pursue The Loop location.”

The space will undergo mostly cosmetic renovations, and when complete it will have an indoor and outdoor capacity of slightly less than 100 and will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“We revamped the food menu at the Kirkwood location to provide upscale soup, salad and sandwiches,” said Ben Abel, executive director of food service. “It’s been extremely well received, and we want the people in The Loop to feel like they can come in and grab something quickly or stay and linger, have a study group or a business meeting.”

A feature unique to The Loop location will be the glass-enclosed pastry kitchen, where patrons will be able to watch pastry chefs prepare everything from European pastries to cupcakes to the special occasion and wedding cakes McArthur’s is known for.

Rinaberger said more McArthur’s locations may be in the works to open later this year.

 

 

Hit List: 4 new must-try restaurants in February

Monday, February 1st, 2016

 

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1. Porano Pasta: 634 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.6414, poranopasta.com

After nearly a year of anticipation, James Beard Award-winning chef Gerard Craft opened doors at Porano Pasta, his first fast-casual venture and fifth restaurant. Step up to the counter in the bright, two-story space and mix and match from a plethora of bases like organic farro or house-made semolina pasta, 11 sauces from sugo to pumpkin seed and lime pesto, proteins including tender beef meatballs and slow-roasted pork or vegetables and toppings like crispy garlic and Pecorino Romano cheese. In additional to bowls, pick up an order of custom Companion foccacia bread with rotating toppings or a deep-fried Panzo – dough stuffed with anything from marinara and gooey mozzarella to meatballs and harissa, depending on the day’s special. And be sure to save room for a salted caramel gelato pop or a boozy frozen Negroni for dessert.

 

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2. Nami Ramen: 46 N. Central Ave., Clayton, 314.833.6264, namiramen.com

Ramen has made its way to Clayton with stylish, fast-casual Nami Ramen. Co-owner Jason Jan was a passionate ramen home cook before spending two months researching in Yokohama, Japan. Now Nami offers 10 styles of ramen in a cool, 50-seat space. Grab a seat at the bar overlooking the kitchen and snack on pan-fried gyoza filled with ground pork and vegetables or a tender pork belly steamed bun with house-made sweet soy glaze. Nami’s savory, satisfying signature tonkotsu ramen features tender char sui pork, wood-ear mushrooms and a marinated egg with a creamy yolk. Don’t fear the spice warning on the jigoku ramen either. Miso broth topped with ground pork and corn is amped up with a paste of tomatoes, chiles and shallots. This bowl is more flavorful than fiery, and it makes a tasty introduction to the classic Japanese comfort food.

 

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3. Moya Grill: 567A Melville Ave., University City, 314.833.6621, moyastl.com

The owners of South Grand’s Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant are adding to the fast-casual trend with their new concept, Moya Grill in University City. The small, contemporary space in The Loop offers a variety of wot (stew) and tibs (grilled) dishes with chicken, beef and a good number of vegetarian options. Start with the crispy sambusas – both the lentil and beef versions are worth a try. Meat lovers should order the beef tibs and appreciate the deep heat of the house berbere spice blend. For a veg-friendly option, the mixed vegetable wot features a satisfying, boldly spiced mix of cabbage, potato and carrot. Opt for the traditional, tangy injera instead of rice and enjoy the chance to eat with your hands, tearing off pieces of the spongy flatbread and wrapping each bite of tibs and wot.

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 4. Midtown Sushi & Ramen: 3647 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.328.2452, midtown-sushi.com 

Sushi rises again in Midtown. After the short-lived Flying Rolls shuttered last year, Midtown Sushi & Ramen took its place, offering everything from sushi rolls to ramen bowls. Start your meal with an appetizer of spicy kare-age, bite-sized pieces of fried chicken doused in a sweet-spicy house sauce and sprinkled with sesame. Share a sushi roll or two, like the well-composed Dragon Roll, featuring crab salad, cucumber and avocado topped with eel, eel sauce and threads of fried sweet potato, a light departure from the usual tempura crumbs. Complete your meal with a bowl of hakata ramen, featuring a custardy egg and smoked pork belly (thanks to neighbor Dixon’s Smokehouse) all swimming in a rich pork broth with all the ramen fixings.

-Porano photo by Greg Rannells, all others by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: Moya Grill in University City

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

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After nine years operating Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant in the international South Grand neighborhood, co-owners and husband-wife duo Henok Gerbi and Alsede Wondem launched their second eatery, a fast-casual Ethiopian concept. Moya Grill quietly opened at 567A Melville Ave., in University City, just off the Delmar Loop on Dec. 31, 2015.

Gerbi and Wondem curated the menu based on best-selling dishes from Meskerem that were easy to eat and simple to prepare. Unlike its sister restaurant at 3210 S. Grand Blvd., Moya caters to diners looking for a quick meal or carryout. The new restaurant also partners with online delivery services like Food Pedaler. Soft drinks, juice and water comprise the beverage program at the moment, but Gerbi and Wondem said a liquor license is in the works.

The menu is primarily divided between wot, Ethiopian stews featuring meat, lentils or mixed vegetables, and tibs, sauteed or grilled meats, tofu, beans or vegetables. Each dish is served with a choice of rice or traditional injera bread, a spongy, sourdough-like Ethiopian flatbread. Diners can also choose between two sides: a chickpea salad or warm mashed chickpeas.

Moya Grill is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Here’s what to expect when you grab and go (or grab a seat) at Moya:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

 

Best New Restaurants: No. 1 – Público

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Opening a restaurant isn’t easy. Each year, hundreds give it a shot – and not everyone succeeds. Some, however, aren’t just surviving; they’re killing it. In the last year, we ate our way through newly opened restaurants from Alton to Ballwin, compiling a list of places that serve the food and drinks we can’t get out of our heads. They bring something different and exciting to the scene – and they do it damn well. While technical excellence was a must, the service and ambiance also had to win us over. Office debates nearly came to fisticuffs, but at last we agreed on St. Louis’ 11 best new restaurants of 2015. Clear your schedule and book your reservations; you’ve got a lot of eating to do.

 

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The world stops when you enter Público, stepping away from the controlled chaos of the Delmar Loop. Here, chef-owner Mike Randolph invites you to luxuriate in the finer things through an innovative Mexican- and South American-inspired menu unlike anything St. Louis has seen before.

The kitchen and bar teams refer to Randolph as “Coach,” a title that goes far beyond his pre-service pep talks. “You’re only as good as your team,” he said with an Eric Taylor gleam in his eye. This is not a platitude – the kitchen is structured to support and challenge its cooks as much as its diners. A cook who works hard at Público will go far in Randolph’s world. “I’m a firm believer in the fact that you can’t teach attitude,” he said. “If somebody has a good attitude, and they’re not turned into a rock star, then that’s my fault.”

When enthusiasm to learn can outweigh culinary school credentials, Randolph has to be prepared to invest long-term in cooks. That’s no easy task in an industry where turnover can be swift and frequent. What’s made it possible at Público isn’t a curriculum or corporate training system, Randolph said. It’s his even-keeled chef de cuisine, Brad Bardon.

“Brad’s just as cool as the other side of the pillow. I’ve never seen him get angry, certainly never seen him yell,” Randolph said. “He gets along with people. The servers love him; the cooks love him. He’s a dream come true.”

The yin and yang of their creative partnership shapes Público’s entire menu. “Brad was extremely conservative, and I was about as far on the opposite end of that spectrum as you can possibly be,” Randolph said. “So he was here,” – Randolph stretched out his right arm – “and I was here.” He extended his left arm, then brought both hands together. “And Público is here, in the middle. … It’s no longer Brad’s food or my food. It’s Público food.”

And just what is Público food? Imaginative, yet tight and reliable, the distinctive menu offers reassuring familiar dishes, like tacos and guacamole arepas. But these serve as an approachable entry into Randolph and Bardon’s world rather than an alternative to adventurous dining. “We have no interest in being a strip-mall Mexican restaurant or just a taco place,” Randolph said. “Tacos are a part of what we do, but they don’t by any stretch of the imagination define us.”

Público is defined by technique rather than a signature dish. The roaring wood-fire oven visible in the open kitchen touches almost everything on the menu. Cooking with something as temperamental as fire is notoriously difficult, and Público’s consistency showcases Randolph’s masterful execution.

Though a few small plates are available, think of all the offerings as a build-your-own tasting menu. Try as many dishes as possible and encourage your dining companions to share. Be brave and order the baby octopus – even texture-phobes can get behind these tender little bites of intense umami flavor. Dishes that sound tame will surprise you. A simple order of leeks arrived as a work of art, decorated with bright roe and surrounded by crema that demanded to be licked from the plate. A more substantial whole fish (a market option meant to be shared between two or more guests) is fire-roasted, simple perfection.

The esteemed bar program headed by bar manager Nick Digiovani will encourage you to share as well, since it’s almost impossible to choose just one inventive cocktail. Classics like El Diablo (Espolón Blanco tequila, lime, cassis and ginger beer) are offered alongside a menu of peculiar house creations. Try the Windy City Mezcalero for a strange, smoky herbal drink made with Del Maguey mezcal, Besk (a Swedish wormwood liqueur) and sugar.

Drinks and dishes rotate aggressively. If you haven’t dined at Público since doors opened in March, you won’t recognize most items currently available. Some favorites are gone in a flash, like the delicate cobia ceviche, served in a slurpable tomato water. Público’s heavy rotation is due both to seasonality constraints and Randolph’s commitment to keep his cooks on their toes. “Monotonous things lend themselves potentially to complacency in the kitchen, so we try to change things up,” he said.

Servers hate it, joking that the moment a dish becomes popular, Randolph pulls it from the menu. “And it is kind of the truth,” Randolph admitted. “I like to keep my cooks fresh, keep them trying new stuff.” If Randolph and Bardon are behind it, we’ll happily keep trying the new stuff, too.

-photo by Greg Rannells

 

The Scoop: Zippy Burger to open in the Loop

Monday, July 27th, 2015

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A quick bite in the Loop is about to get even faster, with the limited-service Zippy Burger slated to open in early September. The burger restaurant is moving into Seoul Taco’s former location at 571 Melville.

To live up to its name, seating will be limited and the 900 square-foot restaurant will serve only three menu items: old-school griddle burgers, French fries and a chili mac – in this case, spaghetti with chili sauce.

“At the end of the day, it’s about making a few products really well,” co-owner Josh Shulman said. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, just make burgers as good as we can.”

Owners Shulman and Billy Evans have worked at different levels in the food industry, but this is their first restaurant. “We’ve been friends since we were kids,” Shulman said. “We wanted to open a restaurant together.”

 

Sneak Peek: Público

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

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Nearly one year ago, restaurateur Mike Randolph announced his plans to open South American gastropub Público at 6679 Delmar Blvd., just doors from his Neopolitan pizzeria The Good Pie in The Loop. The wait for the wood-fired cantina is nearly over; Público opens doors for dinner March 3.

The menu is divided into crudo (raw), botanas (snacks), tacos, arepas (corn pancakes), parrilla (grill items) and desserts. In the raw section, look for appetizers like oysters and tiradito, a Peruvian dish of raw fish similar to sashimi served with a spicy aji pepper sauce. Botanas range from El Tri, a trio of house-made dips and salsas served with corn flatbread, to jalapeno soup with smoked trout. Diners can expect tacos with fillings such as seared shrimp, smoked chorizo, carnitas and carne asada on stone-ground corn tortillas made in-house. A custom-built open-wood hearth that also has smoking capabilities will turn out everything from Argentinian-style steak to whole grilled snapper. Although menu items cap at $15, expect an elevated presentation reminiscent of Randolph’s former restaurants-within-a-restaurant, Little Country Gentleman and Medianoche.

On the beverage side, bar manager Nick Diogiovanni will put rum, tequila and mezcal center stage. A frozen drink machine will also churn out a rotation of boosy slushes like Fernet and Coke. The wine list will focus on South American and Spanish wines, along with cellar wines (that include an extensive riesling selection from Little Country Gentleman days).

SPACE Architects + Design renovated the former hair salon, which now offers seating for 60 guests at a bar, a wall of booths, a 10-seat community table and a few stools along the counter next to the open kitchen.

Here’s what to expect when Público unlocks doors March 3:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Seoul Taco and Seoul Q

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

“This city has never seen anything like this.” Seoul Taco co-owner David Choi was talking about the barbecue grills fitting inside tables at his upcoming Korean barbecue and hotpot restaurant, Seoul Q, but the statement holds true for everything Choi has done at 6665 Delmar Blvd., in University City. The space is the new home for Choi’s relocated Seoul Taco, and its sister restaurant, Seoul Q. While they share a space, Seoul Taco will open later this week, and Seoul Q is slated to open at the end of December.

Upon entering, diners encounter a host stand in front of a partition made from colorfully painted boomboxes. Step right for Korean-Mexican fusion; step left for Korean barbecue and hotpots. The decor is as much a cultural mashup as Seoul Taco’s fusion fare is. A sculpture made from a 1942 Ford Metro van is mounted on the wall next to murals of Korean martial arts fighters wearing Mexican luchador masks.

Seoul Taco is still counter service, but there’s plenty more elbowroom at 76-seat space compared to its former 18-person confines down the street at 571 Mehlville Ave. The menu at Seoul Taco remains the same, but patrons can expect daily specials like Korean barbecue tortas and nachos. And now that it has a liquor license, patrons can wash down their tacos and burritos with 4 Hands brews on tap.

On the other side of the boomboxes, full-service Seoul Q is just as boisterous, but with a more industrial feel. Eight cylindrical exhaust hoods extend over those DIY barbecue grills in the center of poured concrete tables, and a dark wood scape runs the length of one wall, a signature touch of Smartmouth Designs, the Chicago-based interior design company that worked on the space.

The Seoul Q menu is divided into appetizers, soups and hotpots and barbecue. Patrons ordering the latter choose between various cuts of beef and pork to grill at the table. The meat comes with rice, six sides, vegetables and a choice of soup. A barbecue order generally serves two to three people. Meanwhile, meat and seafood hotpots are kept warm at induction stovetops set into some tables. Beverages include bottled craft beer and cocktails featuring soju, a Korean spirit.

Here’s a look at what to expect at Seoul Taco and Seoul Q when both restaurants open:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

 

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