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Mar 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Local Chef Kitchen’

The Scoop: Local restaurants participate, support A Day Without Immigrants protest

Thursday, February 16th, 2017


{ from left, Nixta executive chef Tello Carreón and owner Ben Poremba } 


Across the country today, Feb. 16, people stayed home from work and school or did not shop or eat out in support of A Day Without Immigrants, a protest against current U.S. immigration policy. Participants meant to illustrate the importance of immigrants in American society.

Chefs around the country donated a portion of their revenues to support immigration organizations or closed their eateries entirely, like José Andrés in Washington D.C. and Rick Bayless in Chicago. Locally, a handful of area restaurants did the same.

Chef and restaurateur Ben Poremba decided to close Nixta, his new Mexican eatery, as reported by the Riverfront Times. Poremba said many of his staff had expressed a desire to take the day off to participate.

“I’m not trying to be a pioneer,” he said. “I just respected that some of the guys wanted a day to be heard without worrying about losing their job or having some consequences. I didn’t want to be on the fence.”

Cherokee Station Special Business District liaison Anne McCullough said most of the immigrant-owned businesses on Cherokee closed today. “More than 20 percent of the businesses and properties on Cherokee Street are immigrant-owned,” she said.



{ Local Chef Kitchen chef-owner Rob Uyemura } 


Local Chef Kitchen chef-owner Rob Uyemura also shut the doors at his Ballwin Restaurant for the day. “In 25 years in the restaurant business, I’ve worked with a lot of immigrants,” said Uyemura, whose family immigrated to the U.S. “They get labeled as criminals and illegals, and that’s wrong.”

Other restaurants remain open, but are donating a portion of their proceeds to nonprofits. Demun Oyster Bar general manager Tom Halaska said his bar, as well as sister restaurants Sasha’s Wine Bars and Scarlett’s Wine Bar, will donate 50 percent of the day’s proceeds to the International Institute St. Louis.

Halaska said it was important to recognize the many immigrants who participate in the restaurant industry and in society. With immigration policy currently in the national spotlight, he said this was a good opportunity to celebrate immigrants.

“This is a way for us as a restaurant group to show respect and compassion for what’s going on in the country,” Halaska said.


Catherine Klene contributed to this report.

Nixta photo by Carmen Troesser


Trendwatch: 7 trends on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list now

Friday, January 13th, 2017



1. Smash and Grab
St. Louisans don’t have to wait until Shake Shack opens later this year to get their griddle burger fix of thin patties smashed on a flattop. Get a taste at Reeds American Table, where two patties are smothered with Swiss cheese and tallow aioli, or head to Olive & Oak in Webster Groves, where the kitchen keeps it classic with American cheese and dill pickles. The smashed Farmhouse Burger has been a fixture at Retreat Gastropub since it opened in October 2015, and The Dam in Tower Grove South does smashed patties – though the burgers are stacked so high with fixins, it’s hard to tell. Find griddled burgers at Brasserie, Local Chef Kitchen and Baileys’ Range, too.

2. Drinking like a Vegan
Aquafaba, aka the cloudy liquid in a can of chickpeas that usually goes down the drain, has seen new life as a vegan egg replacer in baked goods. Now it’s found its way behind the bar and into Pisco Sours at Los Angeles establishments like Birch and Gracias Madre. Small Batch pulled a similar move in its Cicer Sour with aquafaba, smoked almond Pisco and dry curacao. Bengelina Hospitality bar manager Drew Lucido shakes it with Old Tom Gin, Becherovka and lemon juice in The Walden at Olio, while the team across the street at Nixta uses a cream whipper to add a foamy, egg-free head to the No. 3.

3. Kung Pao That
The Chinese staple is popping up outside the takeout box these days at restaurants like Mission Chinese in San Francisco, which has a kung pao pastrami we hope someone in town will replicate. Chefs at Cleveland-Heath were inspired by a celery dish at Mission’s NYC location to create a shaved raw beef and celery kung pao special for St. Louisans to enjoy last summer. The Preston swaps in calamari for a sophisticated take on the dish, and the pop-up and future restaurant Good Fortune is crazy about kung pao. It incorporated the flavors into a bratwurst made for a collaboration with Brasserie, and made a kung pao pizza for an event with Delicious Pizza in Los Angeles.




4. Rise and Shine
The Egg McMuffin will always hold a special greasy place in our hearts, but area restaurants are taking breakfast more seriously these days. Whole concepts, like Egg on Gravois Avenue and Yolklore in Crestwood, are devoted to breakfast beyond the standard flapjacks, eggs and bacon. Quick counter-service options at newly opened eateries like Sardella and The Garden on Grand mean we’re setting our weekday alarms a few minutes earlier. Even pop-up eateries are getting in on the action: Revel Kitchen chef-owner Simon Lusky and chef Adam Altnether recently hosted the breakfast-themed Waffle Nut Pop-up, serving sweet and savory waffle combos and cereal milk coffee beverages.

5. Lightning in a Mug
Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and a large dose of caffeine, yerba mate is a light, herbaceous tea that’s creeping its way into local spots like SweetArt, where it’s served hot, and Comet Coffee, where it’s found in two forms: as hot tea and as a mocha-nut mate made with toasted mate leaves, chocolate, hazelnut and marigold flowers for a sweet treat. Pick up some of the loose-leaf tea to brew at home from international grocers like Global Foods Market or United Provisions.

6. Meat Lollipops
Some St. Louis chefs are frenching chicken drumettes, trimming classic wings into little meat lollipops. The trend has a confusing extra-work-for-less-meat quality, but we’ve bought jeans with holes in the knees, so we’re not here to judge. Try the lollies at Mona’s, where they’re smoked and served with a creamy giardiniera sauce and salsa verde, or at Copper Pig with a Vietnamese fish sauce caramel or a sweet chile basil sauce. Scapegoat offers a more traditional Buffalo version.

7. Taste the Magic
Magic Shell is making appearances outside grandma’s sundae bar these days. We noticed it with caramelized honey and honeycomb candy on soft serve at The Honey Paw in Portland, Maine, and over caramel corn and vanilla malted milk balls at Girl & the Goat in Chicago. But Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. has offered the topping on soft serve since it opened in 2014, and our favorite matcha-chocolate cookie gelato pop from Porano this summer was dipped in Magic Shell. Taste’s new brownie dessert with candy cap ice cream and toffee sauce lives in a Magic Shell house, too.


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Hit List: 3 new restaurants you must try this month

Friday, April 1st, 2016




1. Local Chef Kitchen: 15270 Manchester Road, Ballwin, 636.220.3212, Facebook: Local Chef STL

A farm-fresh option is ripe for picking in Ballwin. Local Chef Kitchen offers dine-in and carryout for lunch and dinner focused on locally sourced produce and proteins. While the menu changes constantly, the vendors are area mainstays, including Todd Geisert Farms, Buttonwood Farm, Ozark Mountain Creamery and Thies Farm and Greenhouses. If you can catch these items, you should: cornmeal-dusted catfish, fried potatoes, squash mac and cheese, sauteed greens, Missouri beef pastrami and mushroom and spinach soup. Short on groceries? Pick up local meat, eggs and dairy while you’re there.




2. Gaslight Lounge: 4916 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, 314.496.0628, gaslightstl.com

Gaslight Lounge offers guests a new take on live music. The speakeasy-style bar features a large window peeking into Gaslight’s working recording studio. While you enjoy the impromptu concerts piping through the speakers, sip inventive cocktails like the Pepe a Go Go, a sweeter take on the mojito with rum, agave, lime, basil, mint and a touch of jasmine liqueur for a floral note. Try the Smokey Joe: a mix of Buffalo Trace bourbon, aromatic mezcal, habenero syrup and a slice of baked peach for a subtly spicy sipper. Turn heads with The Beetnik, featuring local Pinckney Bend gin, house-made beet syrup, hibiscus-based Hum liqueur, Cynar artichoke liqueur, lemon juice and celery bitters. Fill your belly next door at newly opened Cha Cha on Shaw, the food truck’s new brick and mortar. Keep an eye out for the addictive Walking Taco on special. Grab your grub and return to Gaslight’s communal tables while you listen to new tracks as they’re being recorded.




3. The Slider House: 9528 Manchester Road, Rock Hill, 314.942.6445, thesliderhouse.com

This Rock Hill spot is more chic than your average burger bar with slick marble tabletops, patterned wallpaper and exposed brick. Go for the eponymous sliders: The Texican has a spicy chorizo-spiced beef patty topped with melted pepper jack, slices of jalapeno and avocado and a smoked tomato remoulade. Or try the Bay of Pigs, a nod to a Cuban with smoked pork, shaved ham, Swiss, pickles and a Guinness-based dijonnaise on a sturdy pretzel bun. Make it a winning trio with The Southern Comfort, featuring a crisp hand-breaded fried chicken breast that’s tossed in a sweet, spicy Sriracha-honey glaze and topped with lettuce and tomato.


-photos by Michelle Volansky



First Look: Local Chef Kitchen in Ballwin

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016



Ballwin residents can now grab a bite and pick up locally sourced produce, meat, dairy, eggs and more at Local Chef Kitchen at 15270 Manchester Road. As The Scoop reported in January, chef-owner Rob Uyemura announced he planned to add a restaurant and market component to his Local Chef CSA, which opened the first week of March.

The 30-seat, counter-service restaurant  features a meat-and-three-style menu with Midwest focus. Dishes like Salisbury meatballs, a bone-in grilled ham chop or Mayfair kale salad are reminiscent of dishes your grandma made, but with a professional touch. Customers can also build their own salads or sandwiches for a smaller meal.

Uyemura and sous chef Patrick Hartman are taking a nose-to-tail approach to Local Chef, butchering animals in-house and utilizing each part. This results in a frequently rotating menu; recent offerings included proteins like cornmeal-dusted catfish or a sweet potato-kale vegetable patty and sides like mac and cheese made with a squash puree and brown rice pilaf. On the sweet side, pastry chef Cheryl Herbert bakes a rotating selection of sweet treats like cookies and cakes and pies available by the slice, as well as daily house-baked bread.

When paying for their meals, customers can also pluck local Excel sodas from the cooler, as well as frozen loaves of Herbert’s bread, local eggs, cheese from Marcoot Jersey Creamery and meat from Geisert Farms. Uyemura said he also will add local beer to the cases pending liquor license approval.

Local Chef Kitchen is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Here’s a first look at what to expect at Ballwin’s newest restaurant:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 



The Scoop: Local Chef Kitchen to open in Ballwin

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016



Chef Rob Uyemura is adding a restaurant component to his Ballwin CSA at the end of January. Local Chef Kitchen is set to open doors at 15270 Manchester Road, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

Uyemura (most recently of YaYa’s) has operated his CSA and a farm-to-school lunch program with Chesterfield Montessori School since 2012. The CSA and lunch program will all operate under the Local Chef Kitchen name. “I wanted to find a location that was close to my house, but it’s also nice to be able to bring quality food to Ballwin,” Uyemura said.

Uyemura said Local Chef Kitchen’s fast-casual concept aims to offer quality, healthy meals daily. “I wanted to make this food accessible, but good, for people, like if Chipotle were organic,” he said. Uyemura plans to source local organic produce and proteins when possible, and to supplement his inventory with produce he grows himself.

Local Chef Kitchen will feature a limited breakfast and a lunch counter offering a “meat and three” as well as an entree salad. Focusing on Midwestern cuisine, customers can expect seasonal rotations of vegetables, as well as pork, beef or chicken preparations. Daytime diners can grab one of 30 seats inside Local Chef Kitchen, while the rush hour crowd can pick up prepared dinner options on the way home.

Pastry chef Cheryl Herbert will bake sweet treats like pies, cookies, granola bars and eventually serve house-made ice cream. Uyemura also hopes to offer prix-fixe farm dinners and cooking classes.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 4:15 p.m. Jan. 14 to clarify the use of organic produce at Local Chef Kitchen.  

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