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Jan 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Schoen’

Best New Restaurants: No. 7 – Polite Society

Friday, December 1st, 2017

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here are St. Louis’ 12 best new restaurants of 2017.

 

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A meal at Polite Society makes you feel like you’re hanging out in some sitcom Brooklynites’ open-concept living room, not snagging a seat at a slick new restaurant. Owners Jonathan Schoen and Brian Schmitz spent more than a year renovating the former home of Ricardo’s in Lafayette Square into their dream business – a concept they’d been working on for much longer than that.

Polite Society’s three rooms are reminiscent of a shotgun-style brownstone with exposed brick, refinished hardwood and enough open, salvaged shelving to inspire a run on Restoration Hardware. Dishes are familiar, yet presented with unexpected touches – an herbaceous olive oil dip with aggressively caramelized Brussels sprouts or a lacquered halibut so delicate it melted into the accompanying miso-spiked jasmine congee.

Wine from the extensive cellar flows; the congenial staff offers friendly, professional assistance and is quick with a recommendation. The space can be loud as friends linger over drinks, chatting with neighboring tables. As with any good dinner party, there’s no sense of urgency to depart. Order another bottle and pass it around as you enjoy good company and Polite Society.

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine. 

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• Sauce Magazine: Best New Restaurants 2017

First Look: Polite Society in Lafayette Square

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

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Polite Society quietly opened in the in Lafayette Square at 1923 Park Ave. on March 23. As The Scoop reported in October 2016, co-owners Jonathan Schoen and Brian Schmitz have spent nearly a year renovating the former home of Ricardo’s, which closed in 2015 after 26 years in business.

Schoen and Schmitz met in the late ’90s as servers at Bar Italia. Since then Schoen opened Savor in the Central West End, as well as restaurants at The Cheshire, while Schmitz opened The Grind coffee house and Sol Lounge. When the 3,000-square-foot space on Park Avenue became available, they leapt at the chance to open a restaurant together.

The co-owners collaborated with executive chef Thomas Futrell, most recently of Scape, to create a menu of appetizers, snacks, salads and entrees that can easily accommodate palates and dietary preferences from all-consuming omnivores to gluten-intolerant vegans. Entrees include a duck breast, a mushroom raviolo and a crispy tofu and riced cauliflower stir-fry.

Another Scape alum, Travis Hebrank, helms the beverage program. With a year to experiment, he created an extensive portfolio of syrups, tinctures and infusions that feature in 10 house cocktails. Around 20 wines are available by the glass, and an extensive cellar is available by the bottle. There is also a curated bottled beer selection.

Brunch and lunch plans are the works, but for now, Polite Society is open daily from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., with dinner service ending at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 p.m. Sunday. Here’s a first look at what to expect at Lafayette Square’s newest eatery:

 

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Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Related Content
The Scoop: Details emerge as Polite Society plans on late 2016 opening

The Scoop: Ricardo’s closes in Lafayette Square

The Scoop: Details emerge as Polite Society plans on late 2016 opening

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

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After nearly seven months of construction, co-owners Brian Schmitz and Jonathan Schoen are finishing up work on Polite Society at 1923 Park Ave. The duo hope to open in late November or early December.

“Polite Society grew out of a conversation about the type of restaurant that should exist but hadn’t,” Schmitz said, adding that the name itself comes from a dedication to their customers and, as employers, to go the extra mile for their staff. This includes things like giving employees a stake in the company or access to employment benefits.

A focus on their staff’s well-being is not surprising; both Schmitz and Schoen got their starts in the restaurant industry as servers at Bar Italia. Individually, they’ve consulted on several area projects, including Lucha, Egg and Spare No Rib.

As reported by the Post-Dispatch in March, the concept of Polite Society had been in the works for years, but it wasn’t until Ricardo’s closed in late 2015 that things started to click. The 3,000-square-foot space will feature a 12-seat bar and cozy interior with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, an extensive wine rack and seating for 60 to 70. “When Ricardo’s auction came up, I saw the space in a new light when it was more emptied out,” Schmitz said.

Executive chef Thomas Futrell, who spent two-and-a-half years as Scape’s executive sous chef, will bring a seasonally focused menu to the table. Schmitz described the cuisine as “vegetable forward and seasonally driven with a fair amount of change” that may include dishes like a pork Wellington or a rotating root vegetable salad.

Beverage director Travis Hebrank, another Scape alum, will helm the bar with an equal focus on classic and house cocktails, a curated wine selection and around 30 bottled beers.

Schmitz said Polite Society will be open daily for dinner service with weekday lunch and weekend brunch.

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