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May 29, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘John O’Brien’

The Scoop: Three Flags Tavern chef-owner to helm Herbie’s kitchen

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

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The chef-owner of the recently shuttered Three Flags Tavern has landed a new job as executive chef at Herbie’s in Clayton.

John O’Brien’s first day at the helm is today, May 17. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, O’Brien replaces Patrick Shaughnessy, who took over in March after the departure of Christopher Vomund.

“I was looking for someone who had the type of experience, knowledge and management style that matched up with the kind of business that we do today,” said Herbie’s owner Aaron Tietelbaum. “We’re kind of an old guard-style restaurant and I need somebody running my kitchen that has the capability to understand classics and tradition, while at the same time having the ability to manage a young and excited team, and John fit that bill perfectly.”

Three Flags Tavern closed in March after three years in business.

Teitelbaum said Shaughnessy is definitely a talent in the kitchen, but he wasn’t the best fit for executive chef position.

“Patrick is a spectacular cook, and he does amazing food, but I think it was a little bit too big of a team and operation for an executive chef’s first executive chef job,” Teitelbaum said. “And I hired him knowing that, and I probably put him in a position where he wasn’t quite ready for. He’s got a lot of potential, and he will do something great with somebody at some point.”

Teitelbaum said O’Brien will bring some of the dishes he was known for at Three Flags Tavern, and they will also work together to create new menu items. He said the target is 45 to 60 days for a menu change.

O’Brien said he could definitely see Three Flags’ famous burger and lobster roll making appearances on Herbie’s menu, and due to his penchant for seafood, he hopes to beef up the restaurant’s oyster program as well.

O’Brien was almost ready to pursue a position in Cape Cod when he got a call from Teitelbaum.

“I was about five minutes away from moving,” O’Brien said, but he was attracted to the larger scale operation at Herbie’s. He also has some history with the brand, having worked for Herbie Balaban in the 1980s.

“It was important to find someplace I feel comfortable in,” he said. “I like the restaurant, I like the French style. It’s how I like to cook and how I like to eat.”

 

Photo by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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The Scoop: Riverbend Restaurant closes

Monday, March 27th, 2017

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Riverbend Restaurant & Bar, located at 1059 S. Big Bend Blvd., in Richmond Heights, has closed. The last day of service was Sunday, March 26, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

Owner Sam Kogos opened Riverbend in 2010 in Soulard after relocating from New Orleans. The restaurant moved to its Richmond Heights location in 2014.

Kogos did not return requests for comment, but Riverbend’s website and a message on the restaurant’s voicemail confirmed the closure.

This follows on the heels of another prominent closing, Three Flags Tavern, in early March, also reported by St. Louis Magazine. Owner John O’Brien did not respond to multiple requests for comment since the closure. The restaurant opened in 2014; Sauce reviewed it in August of that year.

 

The Scoop: Three Flags Tavern to open in Southwest Garden neighborhood in December

Monday, November 11th, 2013

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Three Flags Tavern is on target to open in late December in the former Harry’s Bar and Grill space at 4940 Southwest Ave., in Southwest Gardens. St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe reported in July that husband-and-wife owners John and Cathy O’Brien were opening the restaurant. The Scoop recently caught up with John O’Brien – a chef whose 30-plus-year career has taken him to such kitchens in St. Louis as the old Balaban’s in the CWE, The Ritz-Carlton, McGurk’s, King Louie’s, The St. Louis Club, Chase Park Plaza, Adam’s Mark, and, most recently, Table Three in Wildwood – to learn first-hand about his concept and the food and drinks that will soon fly under the Three Flags Tavern banner.

Three Flags Tavern will offer American, French and Spanish fare “because that’s the food that I eat,” summed O’Brien. However, in searching for something to tie the three cuisines together, the St. Louis native came upon Three Flags Day, which took place in St. Louis March 9 and 10 in 1804. During the two-day ceremonial transfer of the Louisiana Territory, three different flags marked who ruled the city. The Spanish flag was lowered and the French flag was raised and flown for 24 hours instead of being immediately lowered (as originally planned) because it was so enthusiastically received by the townspeople. The next day, one red, white and blue flag came down, while another bearing the Stars and Stripes was raised. This cleared the way for Lewis and Clark to begin their exploration of the new territory. “Our local history is directly relevant [to Three Flags Tavern]. It explains the menu,” said O’Brien, adding, ”and people like stories.”

O’Brien hopes that guests will leave Three Flags telling great stories about the tavern’s food and drink. Besides a tight dinner menu (prominent with hearty meat and seafood entrees), the restaurant will offer a rotating selection of daily soups, salads, sandwiches and a roast meat plate, as well as weekend brunch. Cathy O’Brien will manage the front of the house.

Although O’Brien doesn’t posit Three Flags as a “drinking bar,” it will have an extensive by-the-glass wine list, with 20 options between reds and whites, as well as six local craft beers on tap. Running the bar will be Nick Crow, who recently left his position behind the bar at Mission Taco Joint. The handful of cocktails on the menu will be classics, O’Brien noted.

The 44-seat space is currently “hot and heavy under construction,” according to O’Brien, who is working with local firm Space Architects on the interior design. Upon completion, a focal point in the dining area will be a large map on the wall that depicts the Louisiana Territory.

 

 

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