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Mar 22, 2018
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The Scoop: Juniper to move to new location in Central West End, launch new concept

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017


{ Juniper chef-owner John Perkins }


Southern comfort food spot Juniper will move to a new location in April 2018.

Chef-owner John Perkins said the eatery’s new digs would be located on the first floor of the new mixed-use building currently under construction at 4101 Laclede Ave., in the Central West End.

“I would imagine in a year from now we’ll be open in that spot,” Perkins said. “We expect to get the space by the beginning of November, and then take it from there and do the build out.”

The new space will be larger than the original location at 360 Boyle St., which opened in October 2013, but not overwhelmingly so.

“I wanted to get bigger, but I didn’t want to get too big,” Perkins said. “There will be about 3,200 square feet, which is about 1,400 square feet more than we have now,” Perkins said. “There’ll be a bigger kitchen and a wood-burning grill that I’m excited about.”

The current Juniper location has 64 seats, including the bar. Perkins said the new incarnation would boast 120 seats. The new dining room will have the same 56 seats the original space has, with most of the new seats picked up in the expanded bar area. Two separate patio spaces round out the floor plan. As befits the larger bar area, Perkins said to expect an expanded bar program.

Perkins said he’s aware of the perils of relocating from an established spot, but he’s confident in the move.

“I think I have a pretty good idea of what the space is going to look like, and I think it’s going to feel like a continued evolution of what Juniper is. It won’t feel disconnected,” he said.

Fans of the original Juniper location shouldn’t despair. Perkins said he plans on keeping the space for private events, and he’ll develop a new concept there called Little Bird in the near future (details to follow). Juniper will stay open in its current location until March 2018.

Perkins is also still in the running for the Fantasy Food Fare competition, sponsored by Equifax, Rise and the St. Louis Small Business Development Center. The winner will receive two years rent free in a fully set-up restaurant space in Old North, among other prizes. If he takes the top spot, Perkins said he’ll open a meat-and-three concept in the space.

Photo by Greg Rannells

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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• Review: Juniper

Trendwatch: What’s on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now

Thursday, June 1st, 2017



1. Proof in the Pudding
We’ve come a long way since Snack Packs – like the butterscotch pot de crème at Olive & Oak, a rich caramel pudding capped with salted caramel and whipped cream. At Pint Size Bakery, occasionally available Yum Cups are filled with rotating pudding flavors. But we all know chocolate reigns supreme, like the blend of milk and dark chocolate pudding with a black cocoa brownie, Thai basil ice cream and fresh blackberries currently on the menu at Taste. Retreat Gastropub recently offered an orange- and lemon-scented chocolate pudding served with toasted marshmallows and almond biscotti, while ClevelandHeath serves its version with Chantilly whipped cream and chocolate-dipped puffed rice.


2. Activate
Charcoal has made the move from face masks to the table. Gaining popularity as a detox ingredient at California juice shops like Pressed Juicery and Juice Served Here in recent years, activated charcoal has been making an appearance in cocktails like the inky mezcal-based Moonwalk at New York’s Mission Chinese Food. Closer to home, the black-hearted ingredient showed up for brunch in a chocolate-charcoal waffle at Hiro Asian Kitchen. Try a taste of the darkness at Clementine’s Creamery, where the black cherry ice cream is made with activated charcoal.


3. Bring in the Funk
Savory caramels are currently lending a sweet, funky accent to all manner of cuisine in St. Louis. The Copper Pig and Juniper have both combined fish sauce and caramel to great effect – the former on chicken wings and the latter on chicken and waffles. At Vista Ramen, crab caramel brings subtle sweetness and an unctuous umami pop to a tender pork rib dish. A little funk works just as well in cocktails, like The Sound of One Hand Clapping recently at Planter’s House, which combined tequila and mezcal with a miso-caramel syrup. On a more vegetal note, a beet caramel adds earthy sweetness to roasted beets, charred carrots and whipped herbed goat cheese at Boundary, while Vicia recently offered hazelnut financiers with an onion caramel sauce.


4. Get Crackin’
Pistachios have been lending their mild, nutty flavor to a variety of cocktail menus around town. The Lights Down, Music Up at ClevelandHeath uses Dumante Verdenoce, an Italian pistachio liqueur, to complement apricot and lemon in the rum-based drink. At The Preston, The Lady of Kildare, a unique tiki cocktail with Irish whiskey instead of the usual rum, includes a house-made pistachio syrup that plays well with tropical flavors like coconut and pineapple. And the Garden of Forking Paths at Taste utilizes the nut itself – ground and rimming a Collins glass.


5. The Big Cheese
Grilled cheese sandwiches have been subbing in for buns lately. Take The Big Lou special at The Corner Butcher in Fenton, where two of the sandwiches held two patties topped with nacho cheese. The Libertine appended GC to a classic BLT for a brunch special, and the ever-fluctuating menu at Shift: Test Kitchen recently experimented with The Sasquatch, pulled pork and cole slaw between two gooey sammies. Head to Festus for a Fatty Melt at Main & Mill Brewing Co., a classic patty melt with two grilled cheese sandwiches. And of course, Sugarfire Smoke House and Hi-Pointe Drive-In get in on the action with the Sweet Baby Cheesus special.


6. The Spice Route
Area bartenders are reaching into the spice cabinet for a taste of India on their cocktail menus. Retreat Gastropub mixes gin with coconut milk, turmeric and ginger in the curry leaf-topped Golden State, and combines rum, mango, vermouth and chai in its Cash Me Outside cocktail. Reeds American Table opts for yellow curry and coriander mixed with coconut milk in the Philosophical Zombie, while Planter’s House recently featured a chai five-spice syrup with bourbon, tequila and amaro in the Exit Stage Left. Polite Society’s arsenal of house-made tinctures and infusions includes a blood orange and cardamom gastrique featured in the Sanguine cocktail, made with vodka and coconut water. Frazer’s makes use of Desipop, a masala-cumin soda, in its rum-based Kama Sutra. Over at Eclipse, they’re shaking cardamom bitters into the Effervescent Love Machine, while just down the street, the team at Randolfi’s also added cardamom bitters to Advice from a Fortune Cookie and curry bitters to A Rule of Plumb.


Photo by Carmen Troesser

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Miss Part 1? Click here to see even more of what’s trending now in STL.




5. Puttin’ on the Spritz
Located at the intersection of low ABV, amaro and great-sounding names is the spritz cocktail. Traditionally made with bitter liqueur, wine and soda, this versatile Italian aperitif is bubbling up everywhere. Olio has seven varieties, a Spritz Hour and the summer motto: “Yes We Spritz.” Vista Ramen also has a whole spritz section on its drink menu. Order a clementine spritz at Eclipse or ask to create your own at Randolfi’s, with one of the largest amari selections in town.

6. ¡Poz-olé!
Traditional pozole has long held a place on weekend special boards at Mexican restaurants like Lily’s, Taqueria El Bronco and Taqueria Durango. Cleveland-Heath has had pozole on its menu for years, and Kitchen Kulture kept us warm this winter with a pozole verde. Chef Chris Bork at Vista Ramen crossed Japanese and Mexican cultures with a pozole-style ramen full of pulled chicken, hominy and springy ramen noodles. Sidney Street Cafe switched the protein, setting octopus confit swimming in a pozole broth with some chile oil. Meanwhile, Juniper chef-owner John Perkins added a taste of the South with his loose interpretation featuring a country ham consommé with charred tomatoes, black radish, zephyr squash and country ham at a recent pop-up at The Bhive in the Central West End.

7. Krispies Treats
Shelve that crisp rice cereal and taste a different take on the childhood classic. Treat House in New York City has put creative spins on the stuff since 2013, and STL is coming around. Chef-owner Kevin Nashan was an early adopter, classing up the snack by incorporating the fat from cooked foie gras and garnishing with slices of the delicacy at Sidney Street Cafe. Shift, Test Kitchen & Takeout offers a rotating selection of nontraditional squares, including flavors like caramel and Sriracha. Newly opened Start Bar ditches crispies altogether, swapping Cheetos for cereal in its treats, and will rotate other versions like Oreo, granola and Cap’n Crunch.



Trendwatch: What’s on our plate, in our glasses and at the top of our wish lists now (Part 1)

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016



1. Sweet Heat: Golden honey infused with chile peppers makes for a fiery topping around town. Hot spiced honey is drizzled over a mountain of rich butternut squash on toast at Cleveland-Heath, while the crew at Pastaria adds the spicy nectar to balance its ’nduja pie. Likewise, chef Cary McDowell was spotted drizzling this sticky treat atop Pi’s Burning Man pizza. Top your DIY creation with Mike’s Hot Honey at Porano Pasta or pick up a bottle at Larder & Cupboard in Maplewood.


2. Carbonara Change Up: Chefs are putting their stamps on this classic Roman dish. Carbonara traveled south of the Mason-Dixon line at Juniper, where country ham stepped in for bacon. Farmhaus has gilded the creamy lily with lobster and a butter-poached farm egg, while Eleven Eleven Mississippi opts for roasted red pepper fettuccine and grilled chicken. The Libertine combines two Italian favorites (cacio e pepe and carbonara) and adds crispy pork belly; Small Batch goes the vegetarian route with bacon-esque smoked mushrooms, roasted cauliflower and snap peas; and Element chef Josh Charles breaks the carbonara mold completely with celery root-black pepper tortellini, sous vide egg yolk and pancetta.


3. Hooked on Whole Fish: Forget fillets; St. Louis is looking whole fish square in the eye. Público and Olive & Oak encourage sharing with a rotating whole fish special. Boundary offers whole fried snapper with Vietnamese salad, or you can fuse those Vietnamese flavors with Peruvian notes at Copper Pig when you order the fried red snapper with sofrito rice, maduros and a chile-tamarind sauce. Dig into herb-stuffed and grilled pompano at Lona’s Lil Eats, then dive in at Chaparritos with Mexican mojarra, whole fried tilapia served with rice, beans and tomatoes.

-photo by Greg Rannells


Eat This: The Breadbasket at Juniper

Friday, April 1st, 2016



The breadbasket at Juniper always puts us in a quandary. Do we start with the airy popover or the crumbly, buttery wedge of cornbread? In a battle of biscuits, do the delicate layers of the buttermilk variety deserve more attention than the sturdier angel biscuits? And let us not forget the thick slices of slightly sweet, brioche-like Sally Lunn. Only one thing is certain: When faced with such delicious dilemmas, we won’t leave a single crumb behind.

-photo by Greg Rannells

Cooking the Classics: Baked Ham

Thursday, November 19th, 2015



If your holiday isn’t complete without a beautiful glazed ham, call your butcher shop this year and place an order for uncooked country ham instead of a bagged, precooked option. They’re a bit more work, so we turned to Juniper chef-owner John Perkins to guide us through the days of soaking, baking and glazing to make a proper country ham worth the wait.

Don’t freak out, but when you remove the ham from the packaging, it might have some mold on it. Like an aged cheese, a little mold is normal. Place the ham in a large pot (or new cooler) and cover it with cold water – it has to soak at least 24 to 48 hours. Change the water every eight hours or so to properly leach the salt from the ham. After 12 to 24 hours, remove it and scrape off any mold with a knife. Rinse the ham, place it back into the pot and cover with fresh water to soak another 24 hours, changing the water every eight hours.

After soaking, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Rinse the ham thoroughly and place it on a rack in a roasting pan filled with 1 to 2 inches of water and 1 roughly chopped onion. Tent the ham tightly with foil and bake 20 minutes per pound until the internal temperature reaches 163 degrees. Let the ham rest at room temperature 1 hour, then remove as much of the skin as you can. Start at the hock (the small end) and trim away the tough outer skin, leaving as much fat as possible on the ham. (There is no need to score before you glaze since the skin has been removed.)

Now it’s time to glaze. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, baste the ham with your preferred glaze (recipes p. 41), and bake 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and continue to baste as it cools.

Ham is tastiest served slightly warm or at room temperature. To present the ham, first cut a slice from the bottom to make a flat base. Start about 2 inches from the hock and make a cut straight through to the bone. From there, make thin parallel cuts perpendicular to the bone. To release the slices, cut parallel along the bone from the small end. Wham, bam, thank you, ham.

Save that bone to add depth to a pot of greens or beans. Once completely cool, wrap the bone tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and one layer of foil, then toss it in the freezer. Bone-in, uncooked country ham ($4 per pound) is available at Kenrick’s Meat Market and Catering.

-photo by Greg Rannells

The Scoop: Tommy Andrew to join kitchen at Byrd & Barrel

Friday, September 25th, 2015



The band is getting back together. Tommy Andrew is slated to man the line as sous chef at just-opened Byrd & Barrel. He will join co-owner and chef Bob Brazell, as well as fellow chefs and cooks Ryan McDonald, Drew Sedlack and Luke Cockson. Andrew and McDonald first met in the kitchen at Monarch, and their paths have since crossed at eateries around town including Juniper and Truffles.

Andrew, a member of this year’s Ones to Watch class, currently serves as head butcher and sous chef at Truffles Butchery under executive chef Steven Caravelli. Andrew and McDonald worked together at Butchery until McDonald left for Byrd & Barrel in June.

Andrew’s first day at the new fast-casual fried chicken shack will be around Oct. 8, and he’s anxious to get back in the kitchen. “I haven’t cooked in a year and I’ve missed it,” he said.

Byrd & Barrel currently uses Andrew’s Inappropriate Apiaries honey in its sweet chili honey sauce, but Brazell recruited his former co-worker for more than his culinary chops. “He’s an amazing chef,” Brazell said. “And his attitude is the best. He’ll do anything for anybody.”


-photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: Cassy Vires departs Juniper, John Perkins to step in with new menu

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015



{Juniper chef-owner John Perkins}


Cassy Vires, who took the top toque earlier this year as head chef of Juniper, departed the restaurant Saturday, June 20. Chef-owner John Perkins will fill the role in the interim, citing a desire to take a firmer role in the kitchen at his restaurant.

“Cassy’s a very talented, very intelligent lady, and I know she’s going to do well at whatever she picks next. I’m excited to see what is next for her,” Perkins said. “We have parted ways, (but) it’s not a nasty situation.” Vires did not return requests for comment.

Perkins cited creative differences in the two chefs’ vision for the menu, which he is revamping in the wake of Vires’ departure. It will be unveiled early next week. “Pretty much everything on the menu will be replaced or rethought a little bit,” he said. “Our stated vision for the restaurant is New Southern food inspired by the traditions of the region. The idea is that each dish has some kind of tether that ties it to the South.”

Likely menu additions include a white gazpacho made with boiled peanuts, a fried bologna plate with pimento cheese and pickles, a four-beet salad tossed with togarashi-spiced corn nuts and a more traditional take on the kitchen’s ribs, which will now be dry-rubbed, smoked and served over Sea Island red peas with Carolina-style mustard-based sauce.

Since Vires took the helm in January, Perkins remained relatively hands-off in the kitchen, seeking to devote additional time to his family. Yet he said he began to feel he hadn’t adequately communicated his vision for the menu to Vires and his staff.

“Being of the same mind about that has been a bit of struggle for the two of us,” he said. “I kind of put her in a tough position of basically trying to replicate my vision for things while I wasn’t as present and as involved as I should have been.”

Though he’s bringing another chef in the near future (he declined to name the person), Perkins said he plans to have more of a hand in the kitchen’s everyday operations. “I will definitely be involved … more than I have been ever in the kitchen,” he said. “I’m actually really excited about it.”

-photo by Jonathan Gayman  

The List: 20 dishes, drinks, faces and places we love – Part 4

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Each year, the Sauce editors compile an annual tribute to the dishes, drinks, people and places we love in The Lou: The List. Here, Part 4 of our 2015 lineup, featuring an enterprising farmer, a hot mess of a sandwich, an unshareable dessert, the mom and pop behind Sugaree Baking Co., and Monday Funday (yes, really).

What’s on your list? Share with #TheSauceList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and check out Parts 1 through 3 of The List here.




16. Todd Geisert of Geisert Farms

Farming isn’t what it used to be. Ask Todd Geisert. His family has operated Geisert Farms in Washington for nearly a century, and much more has changed than the farming equipment. Always entrepreneurially minded (he started a metal fabrication business as a high school junior), Geisert diversified the farm’s offerings when he took over in 2008. Today, he boasts an abundant year-round roadside farmstand and creates more than 50 different meat products from potato-bacon sausage to teriyaki snack sticks. Geisert also distributes his pork to dozens of St. Louis restaurants and shops, unites fellow independent farmers across eastern Missouri and still raises hogs according to a deceptively simple philosophy: “The animals can be what they are, out in the fresh air and the sunshine,” Geisert said. “You can tell that they are content by looking at them.”

Here, four ways Geisert is redefining what it means to be a farmer:

A businessman
“Produce is a big part of our business now. The first year I planted 120 tomato plants and I thought that was a lot. … The last couple years, we planted 5,000 tomato plants. Once we build (customers’) trust and give them a good quality product at a reasonable price, it’s a fairly easy sell from there.”

An ambassador
“We’re pretty proud of the town. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling across the United States, and there’s not too many places like Washington, Missouri. The volunteerism is the biggest thing you’ll find in Washington that is unique. … Some people have left town and didn’t realize how good they had it until they came back.”

A family farm advocate
“I feel a responsibility to help people grow and try to keep the family farms to give people an avenue to keep a living. That’s a tough thing to do in our business.”

A softie
“Dealing with the baby pigs is my specialty.”  – C.K.


17. Hot Roast Beef at Eovaldi’s Deli

If a sandwich is just a sandwich, then Eovaldi’s Deli’s Hot Roast Beef must be meat and cake. Delicately sliced top-round beef is piled high on fresh garlic cheese bread and topped with your choice of melted cheese (ours is mozzarella). While savory juices drip with each bite, a side of robust, hot au jus is served for the dip-on-demand types. Still a sandwich skeptic? Start with a 4½-incher, but be warned: By next week, you’ll be on to the 6-inch then the 9, and by the end of the month, no one will be surprised when you quietly graduate to the 12.  – E.M.

18. Monday Funday

The next time you have a case of the Mondays, hit up one of St. Louis’ culinary hotspots that break with tradition and open their doors on Monday. Head to Farmhaus for its Blue Plate Special lunch of crunchy fried chicken, mac-n-cheese, smashed taters, house salad and tea. For dinner, check out Niche’s Monday Supper, where the sous chefs take the reins for a $35 three-course meal of refined comfort fare, or stop by Juniper for its Mondays-only Meat and Three, a Southern tradition served family style. Don’t feel like dressing up? Swing by Pastaria for Meatball Monday, or if even that sounds like too much effort, enjoy dinner in your pajamas after grabbing a Meatball Monday meal to-go from Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions, featuring fresh beef and pork meatballs with Pastaria’s pasta and pomodoro sauce. We’ve never looked forward to Mondays as much as we do now.  – S.P.



18. Pat Rutherford-Pettine and Jim Pettine at Sugaree Baking Co. 

This past St. Patrick’s Day, like they do every St. Patrick’s Day, Pat and Jimmy fired up a grill in front of their Dogtown bakery, Sugaree Baking Co., and sold beer, brats and, in Pat’s words, “Some crappy high-school cafeteria pizza that we buy just for that day. The drunks just love it!”

Pat and Jimmy, formally known as Pat Rutherford-Pettine and Jim Pettine, exude a lust for life with a healthy dash of humor that precedes even their formidable skills in the bakery (where, it should go without saying, nothing they make is crappy).

Every day the couple descends from their home above Sugaree to whip up buttery quiches, chocolate croissants, small-batch fig bars, lemon coconut roulade cakes, crisp cookies and pies. Then each Monday they send out an email letting regulars know which pies will be for sale that weekend (the storefront is only open Fridays and Saturdays), so customers can reserve pies in flavors like chocolate cream, peach-blackberry, caramel-apple crumb and dozens more. Even if you’ve never made it to the storefront, chances are you’ve already savored one of Sugaree’s cakes or pies. They often wind up at some of your favorite local restaurants and institutions, including Grapeseed, Quincy Street Bistro, I Fratellini, Kreis’ Steakhouse & Bar, Pho Grand, Tony’s A.M., and the concessions at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Don’t forget Sugaree’s potpies, sweet brioche and mini cheesecakes – you’ll wind up trying everything once you become a member of Pat and Jimmy’s extended family of customers. If you’re lucky, you might get a sneak preview of forthcoming dessert specials. If you’re even luckier you might hear tales from Pat of her daughter, grandson and the jerk who took her parking space last night.

Plenty of brides-to-be order wedding cakes from Sugaree, too. If you find yourself sharing gossip with Pat while she’s meticulously decorating one of their cakes, then you’re not just a regular, you’re a friend.  – B.K.




20. Pineapple Inside-out Cake in a Cup at The Fountain on Locust

Every time I order my favorite dessert at The Fountain on Locust, someone asks, “Can I have some? You can try mine!” No! I don’t want to try yours, and as for my Pineapple Inside-out Cake in a Cup, I don’t have enough to share. Once I arrange the perfect bite of whipped cream, ice cream and fluffy, house-made spongecake with a dab of the sweet, buttery pineapple sauce from its center, I understand why you’re jealous, but here’s the upside: You can get your own. – M.N.


-Todd Geisert photo by Greg Rannells; sandwich, Sugaree and cake photos by Elizabeth Maxson

The Scoop: Home Wine Kitchen’s Cassy Vires finds new home at Juniper

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014



{From left, chef Nick Martinkovic, Juniper chef-owner John Perkins and new Juniper head chef Cassy Vires}

Editor’s note: This article was updated with comments from John Perkins at 4 p.m. Dec. 31.

Cassy Vires will join Juniper’s kitchen as head chef, according to an announcement made on Dec. 30 by Juniper chef-owner John Perkins. Vires will fire up the kitchen Jan. 8 after the restaurant’s team returns from its week-long break beginning tomorrow, Jan. 1.

The news comes just a few weeks after Vires and her husband and business partner, Josh Renbarger, announced they would close doors at their Maplewood eatery Home Wine Kitchen tonight, Dec. 31. Perkins said Vires would be a valuable, reliable asset as Juniper continues to grow, adding that Vires would help take the CWE eatery to the next level. “It was a meeting of needs on both our parts,” he said. “I needed somebody that I could trust the restaurant in their hands when I wasn’t there, and she clearly fits that requirement.”

Perkins said while the menu would still stay true to Juniper’s Southern roots, it was possible that some of Vires’ popular Home Wine Kitchen Dishes could make their way to the menu in 2015. “There’s some natural overlap,” he said.

The baton-passing is the latest transition for Juniper’s kitchen staff, which has been in flux since late October. Former chef de cuisine Ryan McDonald and sous chef Tommy Andrew left Juniper to take a position at Truffles and Butchery. Chef Nick Martinkovic, formerly of Death in the Afternoon and Blood & Sand, has lent a hand at the Southern eatery since early December before he departs St. Louis for his new job at Emko in West Palm Beach, Florida after tonight’s dinner service.

“I think having Home close and Nick (Martinkovic) leaving basically at the same time, it seemed like a real natural thing,” Perkins said. “I reached out when I found out about Home, and it seems like it’s going to be a great fit.”


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