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Mar 20, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Hemp V’

Longtime chef Joseph Hemp V steps down at Robust Wine Bar

Friday, January 19th, 2018



Chef Joseph Hemp V is leaving his post as executive chef of Robust Wine Bar and Snax Gastrobar. His last service will be Feb. 14.

Hemp began his tenure with Robust owners Stanley and Arlene Maminta Browne in 2012 as executive chef at the Robust Webster Groves location. He took over the kitchen at the downtown location in 2013, and then took the helm at sister restaurant Snax Gastrobar when it opened in September 2017.

“It just felt like the time,” Hemp said. “I love Stanley and Arlene. They’ve been a huge part of my life. But I’ve had the aching for something new.” Hemp doesn’t know exactly what that “something new” will be yet, and said he may even pursue opportunities outside of the restaurant industry.

“There’s part of me that’s ready to say ‘I’ve had a good run,’ and move on,” he said. “But I’ll always love cooking, every part of it. So maybe I’ll just take a step back from management and just enjoy cooking again. It’s a coin toss right now.”

Arlene Maminta Browne said Hemp will be sorely missed. “There’s not enough words to describe how amazing Joe is as a person and a partner,” said Maminta Browne. “He’s been so great for the organization and really grew us to another level. I’m going to miss him terribly.”

Maminta Brown said after Hemp’s departure, each restaurant will have its own head chef instead of one overall executive chef. Zach Dale, who is currently executive sous chef at Robust in Webster Groves, will become the executive chef at that location. Derek Northway, who came onboard at Snax last month after chef de cuisine Chris Ladley left for Nudo House, will run the kitchen there. Maminta Browne said the search is still ongoing for a head chef at Robust Downtown at The MX.

Hemp agreed with the new staffing arrangement. “I started when there was only one store. I worked out because I grew into the position,” he said. “I know the intricacies of everything, but to put that on somebody new is next to impossible. What works at Webster doesn’t work downtown, and what works downtown doesn’t work at Snax, so having one chef be able to spend their entire focus on one store – I think we’re going to end up with a greater product at the end.”

Photo courtesy of Robust Wine Bar

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Sneak Peek: Snax Gastrobar in Lindenwood Park

Thursday, March 9th, 2017



Robust Wine Bar owners Stanley Browne and Arlene Maminta Browne open their first non-Robust project, Snax Gastrobar, tomorrow, March 10, at 3500 Watson Road. As The Scoop reported in December 2016, the new restaurant is opening in the space that most recently housed J. McArthur’s An American Kitchen.

Executive chef Joseph L. Hemp V, who oversees Robust’s kitchens downtown and in Webster Groves, and sous chef Chris Ladley, late of Quincy Street Bistro, have developed a menu Hemp describes as “global comfort food.” Dishes range from piquant Buffalo Balls (chicken and pork meatballs in a subtle Buffalo sauce), to simple roast chicken seared in cast iron. As one would expect from the folks behind Robust, there’s plenty of wine on hand (including a red and a white wine on tap), as well as cocktails and a wide selection of beers.

The restaurant seats around 65 inside with ample outdoor seating: 40 on the enclosed front patio and 25 on the open back patio. Snax will be open Tuesdsay to Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.


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Photos by Michelle Volansky

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The Scoop: J McArthur’s to close, new concept from Robust owners to open

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016



Changes are underway at 3500 Watson Road in Lindenwood Park. J McArthur’s An American Kitchen will close doors for good Dec. 31 after a year-and-a-half in business, according to co-owner Kathleen Bibbins.

The announcement comes four months after the original head chef Ben McArthur left the restaurant, and chef Will Volny took his place. McArthur’s father, John McArthur, owns the restaurant with Bibbins, his stepmother.

“We, and John in particular, worked with Ben to develop the restaurant. It was something he wanted to do for Ben, then it became a family venture,” Bibbins said. “When Ben left, it didn’t have the same family feel, the same family venture, that we hoped to have.”

Bibbins said Volny had done a wonderful job during his tenure as executive chef, but that she and her husband thought a new concept would better suit the space. “We so enjoyed putting out good food and good wine to people,” Bibbins said. “It was a really wonderful experience, but when things changed and we started shifting things about, it just didn’t make that much sense anymore.”

McArthur and Bibbins reached out to longtime friends and business partners Stanley and Arlene Browne, who own both locations of Robust Wine Bar. The couples will partner to open a new concept in late February or early spring.

Arlene Browne said they are currently consulting with Robust executive chef Joseph Hemp V to finalize the concept – but don’t look for a third location of their popular wine bar. “It’s not another Robust, but it certainly fits within our wheelhouse,” Browne said.

McArthur and Bibbins own the building and will have a stake in the new concept, but the Brownes will handle day-to-day operations. Browne said the project is bittersweet; she hates seeing J McArthur’s shutter, but she looks forward to launching a new restaurant. “I think it’s really important to always be evolving and always growing,” she said.

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

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