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Jan 21, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

First Look: Egg in Benton Park

Thursday, October 6th, 2016



Pay no attention to the Spare No Rib signs at 2200 Gravois Ave.; Egg is now open for weekday breakfast and lunch in the barbecue joint’s original location. As reported by The Scoop in July, Egg is an expansion of the brunch popup by the same name. Spare No Rib has opened with the same menu in its new location at 3701 S. Jefferson Ave. (formerly the home of Lucky Buddha). Owner Lassaad Jeliti quietly transitioned the two concepts in recent weeks.

Few changes were made to the interior of the 60-seat Benton Park restaurant, but the menu has expanded from its popup days and lost most of its barbecue flair. It got rid of the pulled pork, added brioche French toast and took on a unique lunch menu that strays far from its barbecue roots with dishes inspired by Jeliti’s Tunisian heritage.

Aside from the Tunisian salad made with tomato, onion, cucumber, jalapenos and apples in a lemon vinaigrette, there is a salad nicoise on the lunch menu. “Nicoise is a big salad in Tunisia,” Jeliti said. There is also chakchouka, a stewed tomato and vegetable dish served with baked eggs. “Growing up that was the breakfast thing,” he said.

The bar dominating the space serves a short menu of brunch cocktails along with espresso drinks and freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juices. A classic mimosa and bloody mary are available, as well as more creative sippers like the Sidi Bou Spritz made with hop vodka, jasmine and elderflower liqueurs and fresh orange juice.

Egg is open Tuesday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click below for a first look at what’s for breakfast on Gravois:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky


First Look: Sarah’s on Central in Eureka

Friday, August 19th, 2016



Sarah’s Cake Shop owner Jill Umbarger attempted to quietly open Sarah’s on Central at 127 N. Central Ave., in Eureka last Wednesday, Aug. 10, and was met with a line out the door. As The Scoop reported in June, the new cafe adds breakfast and lunch fare to the usual desserts Sarah’s Cake Shop is known for.

For breakfast, visitors can choose from pastries, quiches, breakfast sandwiches and sweet or savory muffins. A dedicated toast menu features sweet and savory toppings including house-made jams on slices of Companion bread. For lunch, sandwiches, salads and soups are offered, and daily after-school specials are a weekday treat; right now, it’s $1 grilled cheese sandwiches.

“I’m from Eureka, so I’m excited to be here,” Umbarger said. “As soon as I saw (the space) was for sale, I knew I had to have it.” Sarah’s on Central is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Here’s what to expect when you walk in:



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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Sneak Peek: Yolklore in Crestwood

Friday, July 29th, 2016



Don’t hit the snooze button if you live or work off Watson Road. Yolklore, the newest addition to the Crestwood food scene, hosts its grand opening this Sunday, July 31 at 8958 Watson Road. As The Scoop reported in April, co-owners Mary and John Bogacki and Billy Oziransky are dishing up slew of breakfast items, pastries, coffee and smoothies.

The Yolklore crew utilizes ingredients from local farms and vendors like Buttonwood Farms, Mushrooms Naturally and Rolling Lawn Farms for their takes on breakfast classics like biscuits and gravy, a mushroom frittata and egg sandwiches.

A seasonal cream puff (peaches and cream puff to start), gooey butter cake and chocolate cake for breakfast are among sweeter options. Drawing on Mary’s Bogacki’s skills as a pastry chef, whole cakes – gooey butter, cheesecake, blueberry coffee cake and chocolate chunk cookie cake – are available to order as are special occasion sweets.

Yolklore’s coffee comes from Dubuque Coffee Co. in Brentwood. In keeping with the owners’ focus on sustainability, Yolklore offers a $5 monthly coffee club where members receive a designated coffee cup that receives unlimited refills for $1 per visit.

Yolklore is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those rushing to work can swing through the drive-thru, which is open during business hours and offers the same menu as the dining room. Here’s a sneak peek inside:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Tony’s to open casual downtown cafe, Tony’s A.M.

Friday, January 23rd, 2015


{Vince Bommarito Jr.}


Tony’s Restaurant has relaxed its dress code, but if those nice tablecloths still intimidate you, you may feel more at home at the Bommarito family’s forthcoming casual cafe, Tony’s A.M., it’s opening mid-February at 10 S. Broadway, as reported by the St. Louis Business Journal, and will be located just down the street from the downtown icon of Italian cuisine. Tony’s A.M. will operate under the direction of Tony’s executive chef, Vince Bommarito Jr.

Hours will be 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and prices between $3 and $10 at the counter-service cafe, which will serve made-to-order breakfast and lunch, plus desserts by Tony’s pastry chef Helen Fletcher. Morning options will include breakfast sandwiches and pastries by Fletcher, while the lunch menu will feature hot and cold sandwiches made from fresh-roasted turkey, ham and roast beef, plus salads and three soups.

The new eatery won’t serve alcohol, but local roaster Chauvin Coffee will provide coffee service and craft a special blend for Tony’s A.M., which will also sell Chauvin beans.

Bommarito said wasn’t planning to open a morning restaurant, but he agreed to it when the building’s management company offered him the space. He anticipates the cafe will draw customers from the building’s other tenants, which include law and accounting firms, and which will gain around 200 new people next month when architecture firm HOK moves in.

-photo by Carmen Troesser



Extra Sauce: Top 5 Lunch Dishes of 2014

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Sauce restaurant critic Byron Kerman knows how precious the lunch hour is. All year, he’s shared the highs and lows of new and venerable lunch joints around St. Louis in Power Lunch. Here, he shares his top five lunch dishes of 2014:




No. 5: Buffalo Blue Burger at Lulu’s Local Eats
Lulu’s sweet potato burger has crunchy panko breading on the outside yielding to a soft, moist interior. The Buffalo Blue version adds vegan “ranch” dressing (made with lemon, cucumber and eggless Vegenaise) and a creamy hot sauce to the thickly formed patty. If you can make a better vegan burger, we’d love to try it.




No. 4: Smoked Brisket at Adam’s Smokehouse
The melt-in-your-mouth brisket is the star of the show at Adam’s, where it’s sliced it thin as deli meat. The reddish trim and smoky taste were rapturous. Only a heretic would put a drop of sauce on it.




No. 3: Buttermilk-Cornmeal Pancakes at Southwest Diner
Southwest Diner’s buttermilk-cornmeal pancakes with buttery-brown edges are done just the way pancakes should be: thin and crispy, not fat and fluffy. Ask for real maple syrup for an extra buck to properly anoint these babies.




No. 2: Hot Pastrami Sandwich at Death in the Afternoon
I’ll just come out and say it: The Hot Pastrami sandwich at Death in the Afternoon is quite possibly the best you will ever put in your mouth. It’s crazy-good, largely because the drippings from the thinly sliced pastrami are collected and mixed into a house-made mustard-mayonnaise sauce. I know what you’re thinking: Mayo and pastrami shouldn’t mix. I didn’t care, and you won’t either.

And my No. 1 dish of the year…




Kung Pao Squid at Joy Luck Buffet
The kung pao squid on Joy Luck Buffet’s secret Szechuan menu requires a good 15 minutes to pick a veritable army of dried Szechuan peppers off the plate. The struggle is worth it; pliant squid and peanuts cavort in a kung pao sauce that, like a well-aged Burgundy, takes the diner to a dark, deep, complex place. As far as I’m concerned, this is the only kung pao in town.


-Lulu’s photo by Elizabeth Maxson; Adam’s Smokehouse photo by Jonathan Gayman; Southwest Diner and Death in the Afternoon photos by Elizabeth Jochum; Joy Luck Buffet photo by Carmen Troesser

First Look: Death in the Afternoon

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Like the expat loungers of Hemingway’s Pamplona, the midday clientele at Death in the Afternoon, located at the corner of Citygarden at 808 Chestnut St., might well start losing themselves in carefree lunch rendezvous. Co-owners Adam Frager and TJ Vytlacil, who also own members-only downtown spot Blood & Sand, have been hard at work, and devotees have noticed: Though its official opening took place today, June 9, Death in the Afternoon was serving lunch to crowds (many of them Blood & Sand members), as early as last Thursday, June 5. Yet unlike its exclusive older sibling, Death in the Afternoon is open to the public Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Executive chef Nick Martinkovic, who joined Blood & Sand in January, is putting the finishing touches on the menu of soups, sandwiches and salads with Japanese and Mediterranean flair. Some entrees, like pork ramen and falafel, are still being tweaked in the kitchen but will roll out in the first month.

The somewhat inchoate bar program is still being set up, too, though 10 draft beers and six wines by the glass are expected to be available this week. Brewers Mike Sinclair and Chris Gaglio will operate Upper 90 Brewing Company in the restaurant’s basement prep area, a separate venture that will brew small batches for Death in the Afternoon. No cocktail menu is planned, though spirits are available behind the bar.

Blood & Sand members may still be surprised at Death in the Afternoon’s adjusted concept – sleek, uncloistered, nonexclusive and, for now, staunchly devoted to lunch (though brunch service is on the horizon). The name, borrowed from an early title of Hemingway’s and, later, a cocktail he invented, actually is inspired by the vistas from the dining room floor. Frager said Citygarden’s foliage, on full display through the floor-to-ceiling glass, reminded him of the gardens at Papa H’s Key West, Florida, estate – not to mention the duo’s first venture was named for a cocktail, too.

Here’s a first look at what you’ll find downtown at Death in the Afternoon:


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-photos by Garrett Faulkner

Meatless Monday: Blondie’s Coffee and Wine Bar

Monday, May 19th, 2014



We’ve pigeonholed Blondie’s Coffee and Wine Bar into the “date night” and “girls’ night out” categories for too long. Add “vegetarian” and “lunch” to the mix because the upscale cafe located downtown on Washington Avenue more than satisfied with noontime meatless fare.

There are a few vegetarian salads on the menu, but we were hungry, which means that we went the sandwich route and ordered the JuJu Veggie – sliced avocado and cucumber, mixed greens and Swiss cheese between slices of toasted honey-wheat bread smeared with pesto. Sandwiches can be ordered cold, hot or in a wrap and come with a side order of fresh fruit, chips or a pasta salad. For a lighter meal, order a half-sandwich and pair it with any half-order of salad or soup for $7.50.




Speaking of soup, we also opted for a bowl of roasted red pepper and Gouda. Sweet tomato and herbs shone through and warmed our bellies on an unseasonably chilly spring day. Not feeling the usual sandwich-and-soup combo? Try the hummus, a generous portion of the chickpea dip flecked with feta and accompanied by sliced cucumbers and warm, oil-brushed pita.

For this lunch run, we indulged in a basket of popovers, the restaurant’s specialty. Among sweet and savory spreads to pair with that puffy goodness, we picked the seasonal marmalade. Currently, it’s orange – and sensational.

Even though Blondie’s stays open on Mondays until 4 p.m., the kitchen closes at 2 p.m., so make lunch the meatless meal of your day.

Meatless Monday: Roasted Butternut Squash with Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Monday, May 13th, 2013

On our first night in London, we had just arrived by car from the Portsmouth seaside and were beyond tired (Reversing all the traffic rules you’ve ever known while driving somewhere you’ve never been will do that.). Unfortunately, we were also very hungry, so we dropped our bags at the hotel and wandered down the street to the first pub we could find. It was called The Prince Edward Public House and Kitchen, and at first glance, it looked like a typical pub — dark wood, a bar brimming with beer options, bowls of pistachios and lots of TV screens showing lots of “football.”

Then we ordered dinner, and, suddenly, the word typical no longer applied. I ordered the butternut squash, which arrived tender, wrinkly and stuffed with arugula, roasted cherry tomatoes and goat cheese. On the side was an asparagus-mushroom pilaf. Instead of slicing the squash lengthwise as we often do over here, this one was sliced off at the neck, leaving the bottom, bowl-like third an edible serving vessel. And the flavor the chef was able to get into all that orange-y flesh was astounding. Hopefully I’ve done it justice!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
2 servings

2 small butternut squashes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 pinches salt
2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
2 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
Olive oil
2 oz. goat cheese
1 handful arugula

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• Cut the neck off each squash, leaving just the bowl-shaped bottom. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon.
• Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, spray with nonstick spray and place the squash bowls on it. Place 1 tablespoon of butter in each squash, then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Brush the rim of each bowl with olive oil.
• Put the squashes in the oven and let them roast until the sides start to wrinkle and the insides are very tender, about 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the sizes of the squashes.
• Meanwhile, in a bowl, coat the cherry tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet and then place in the oven 10 minutes before the squashes are finished.
• Once the squashes and cherry tomatoes are properly roasted, remove from oven, but keep oven on. Set tomatoes aside. Pour out all but a teaspoon of butter from each squash bowl, and then place 3 to 4 quarter-size pieces of goat cheese (about 1 ounce) in each one. Return them to the oven and roast another 3 to 4 minutes, until the cheese softens.
• Remove from oven and place 3 to 4 cherry tomatoes in each bowl, followed by a few arugula leaves, then the rest of the cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
• Serve with salad or rice pilaf.

Just Five: Asparagus and Poached Egg

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Dear spring,

I’m so excited for your upcoming visit! It’s been a challenging winter. Sure, the weather has been marginally mild, but I’m still in desperate need of seeing the bright green and yellow of daffodils … which reminds me of a favorite early spring dish, one I make for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It represents new beginnings for me; it’s comforting yet healthy. The softly poached egg with its gorgeous, yellowish-orange yolk pours over the verdant, tender asparagus. With the added slight crunch of the cheesy breadcrumbs, to me, this is a perfect dish, which is fitting, for you are the perfect season.

See you soon,

Asparagus and Poached Egg
Serves 1 to 2

Salt to taste
8 to 12 stalks asparagus, washed and trimmed
¼ cup plain or seasoned breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 egg
1 tsp. white vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Bring a medium-size pot of salted water to a boil. Put the asparagus in the pot and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove and place in a small oven-safe dish.
• In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Pat this mixture over the asparagus, then place the asparagus in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes.
• Crack the egg into a shallow bowl.
• Bring a small pot of salted water to just under a boil. Add the vinegar, then stir the water with a spoon to create a vortex or funnel.*
• Carefully slide the egg into the center of the vortex. Using the spoon, nudge the whites toward the yolk – don’t worry, it will come together!
• Cover the pot and turn off the heat. In 4 minutes, carefully remove the egg with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to drain.
• Remove the asparagus from the oven (the breadcrumbs should be lightly browned), and place the egg on top of the breadcrumbs.
• Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

*There are many ways to poach an egg; here’s an instructional video.

It must be lunchtime somewhere: Local Harvest’s chicken salad sandwich

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Looking for an affordable lunch to tame your grumbling tummy and fill you with some STL pride? Turn to the Chicken Salad Sandwich at Local Harvest Grocery & Cafe’s new Kirkwood location. Chunks of pasture-raised chicken cooked to tasty perfection and crunchy celery and onions cling to creamy mayo scented with dill and tangy Dijon. It’s only fitting at this locavore’s pit stop that the meaty filling gets piled onto a Companion pretzel roll. And that bag of Billy Goat chips that comes with the hefty sandwich? It’s the kicker that’ll have you doing a fist pump for local food.

Local Harvest Grocery & Cafe, 12309 Old Big Bend Road, Kirkwood, 314.966.6566, localharvestgrocery.com/kirkwood

— photo by Kristi Schiffman

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