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Mar 28, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Matt Sorrell’

The Scoop: Riverbend Restaurant closes

Monday, March 27th, 2017

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Riverbend Restaurant & Bar, located at 1059 S. Big Bend Blvd., in Richmond Heights, has closed. The last day of service was Sunday, March 26, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

Owner Sam Kogos opened Riverbend in 2010 in Soulard after relocating from New Orleans. The restaurant moved to its Richmond Heights location in 2014.

Kogos did not return requests for comment, but Riverbend’s website and a message on the restaurant’s voicemail confirmed the closure.

This follows on the heels of another prominent closing, Three Flags Tavern, in early March, also reported by St. Louis Magazine. Owner John O’Brien did not respond to multiple requests for comment since the closure. The restaurant opened in 2014; Sauce reviewed it in August of that year.

 

The Scoop: Fire erupts at Soulard’s Restaurant

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

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Longtime neighborhood staple Soulard’s Restaurant & Bar caught fire Friday, March 17.

St. Louis Fire Department Capt. Garon Patrick Mosby said the fire started at the restaurant, located at 1731 S. Seventh St., when an employee was burning off some grease from a stove, and the fire “got away from him.” No one was injured. “Investigators have ruled it was an accidental incident,” Mosby said.

Soulard’s owner did not return requests for comment, but did announce the fire on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

This marks the fourth St. Louis-area restaurant fire in six months. Fellow Soulard business The Sweet Divine caught fire in October 2016; Waterloo brewery Hopskellar also suffered a fire just one month after opening. Most recently, a fire broke out on the second floor of Giovanni’s on The Hill, causing smoke and water damage to the dining room.

Photo courtesy of St. Louis Fire Department

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The Scoop: Fire breaks out at Giovanni’s on The Hill

The Scoop: New Waterloo brewery catches fire Sunday

The Scoop: The Sweet Divine catches fire, owners intend to rebuild

The Scoop: Pour-your-own bar and restaurant Tapped to open in Maplewood

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

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Tapped, a restaurant and bar that will allow customers to pour their own beer and wine, will open in April at 7278 Manchester Road. Co-owners Ryan and Lindsay Reel will open in the former A Pizza Story space, as reported by Feast Magazine.

While the kitchen will remain basically the same, Ryan Reel said changes to the space include new windows, a new front door and a walk-in cooler. A large part of the build-out process involves installing the lines and electronics for the iPourIt tap system, the first in Missouri.

To utilize the system, customers will check in, start a tab and receive a radio frequency identification (RFID) wristband. Each tap will have an iPad mounted above it with information about the beverage. Customers then activate their chosen tap with the wristband, and the system tracks how many ounces customers pour. There will be 48 taps – 40 for beer, cider and Bitts coffee from Living Room in Maplewood, and another eight taps for wine.

“It’s a pretty extensive undertaking,” Reel said.

Reel said the Tapped beer program will be centered on local breweries. “Our focus is putting the craft beers next to each other so you can come to one location and be able to try a bunch of different things,” he said, adding that beers from other craft breweries around the country may eventually be added.

Customers will order food via a point-of-sale system at the counter, where they will pick up the finished product. Reel said Tapped staff will be available to answer questions and bus tables.

A Pizza Story’s wood-fire pizza oven will fire once more with a menu of pizzas and “elevated bar fare,” an assortment of larger plates and a build-your-own charcuterie and cheese board. Dessert options will include items from nearby Maplewood businesses Pie Oh My!, Kakao Chocolate and Encore Baking Co.

“The whole concept is really around the beer and the wine, and the pairing of food,” Reel said. “It’ll really be a social house type of atmosphere.”

 

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The Scoop: James Beard Foundation names Kevin Nashan, Kevin Willmann Best Chef: Midwest finalists

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

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{ from left, Sidney Street Cafe chef-owner Kevin Nashan, Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann } 

 

The St. Louis restaurant scene experienced a bit of déjà vu when the finalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards were announced today, March 15. Two St. Louis chefs moved on as finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category: Sidney Street Cafe chef-owner Kevin Nashan and Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann. Both chefs were finalists in this category last year.

“I’m so grateful,” Nashan said. “You never know if you’re going to on the list again – it’s torturous! I’m just so grateful and really excited for the team. I just found out and I’m really blown away.”

Willmann found out about the news when Sauce called for comment. “Oh, no shit? Hell yeah!” he said. “I’m really proud of my team this year, we have an awesome groove going, and the sky’s the limit. “

As The Scoop reported in February, the James Beard Foundation named four St. Louis-area chefs as semifinalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category. Olive & Oak executive chef Jessie Mendica and Público chef-owner Mike Randolph did not make it to the final round. Pastaria executive chef Ashley Shelton, a semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year, also didn’t advance to the final round.

Winners of the chef and restaurant awards will be announced at a ceremony in Chicago on May 1. Local eatery Gioia’s Deli will also be honored at the gala; the Beard Foundation honored The Hill sandwich shop with an America’s Classic award in January.

 

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• The Scoop: 5 St. Louis chefs earn James Beard Foundation semifinalist honors

The Scoop: James Beard Foundation declares Gioia’s Deli an American Classic

The Scoop: James Beard award eludes Willmann and Nashan

The Scoop: Dave Bailey to open new concept, Hugo’s Pizzeria

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

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Restaurateur Dave Bailey, owner of Baileys’ Restaurants, will soon add another concept to his stable of eateries. Hugo’s Pizzeria is slated to open this summer at 3135 Olive St., in Midtown, just two blocks away from another of his restaurants, Small Batch. Bailey bought the building, which formerly housed The Good Pie, last year.

“With Small Batch being over there, we were familiar with the building, and when it became available, it seemed like a good opportunity,” said Bailey. “I think Midtown is growing, and it’s a good connecting point between Cortex and downtown. It’s going to fill out, and we want to be there.”

Named after Bailey’s son, the restaurant will have a 12-seat bar, inside seating for 120 and 60 seats in the back garden. The one-story brick building is divided into four individual units, or bays. The bar and dining room take up two of those bays, while the kitchen occupies the third. Bailey said he’ll reveal his plans for the fourth bay in the next couple of weeks.

The main event at Hugo’s will be 12-inch pizzas cooked in a gas-fired deck oven at 550 degrees. Hugo’s will offer a Roman-style crust, house-made ingredients like pepperoni and sausage and other ingredients from the company’s micro-farm.

“It’s going to be familiar cuisine but elevated, family-friendly but open to everybody, much like (Baileys’) Range or Rooster,” said Bailey. “It’s completely approachable. We just love pizza and want to present a version of it that we think is really good.”

On the beverage side, Hugo’s will feature 30 draft beers, a selection of wines and a full bar. In addition to pizza, the menu will feature items like burrata, meatballs, wings and salads.

For those who want to get an early taste, starting today, March 15, Bailey’s Shift, Test Kitchen & Takeout will serve three 10-inch pizzas: cheese, pepperoni and a rotating daily special. The pizzas will also be available as a lunch special with a salad and a drink. The smaller size pizza will also be served as a lunch option at Hugo’s.

 

 

Extra Sauce: Three new brunches to try this month

Friday, March 10th, 2017

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{ Okonomiyaki from Vista Ramen }

This town loves a good brunch, and three restaurants have recently debuted new, diverse offerings for our weekend noshing.

“Brunch was never really part of the original plan,” said Monas owner Brendan Marsden. But after hearing that customers wanted more brunch options on The Hill, Marsden decided to oblige on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mona’s brunch menu includes breakfast pizza with potato, bacon, salsa verde and sunny side up eggs, and a skillet hash with fingerling potatoes, baby carrots, peppers, onions, kale and two eggs, topped with a white cheddar sauce.

From Nutella risotto balls to cured salmon eggs benedict, Sardella is covering all the sweet and savory bases on its new brunch menu, offered Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “It’s not a 20-page brunch list,” said chef-owner Gerard Craft. “It’s maybe food you’ve seen before, but from our perspective.” Try Craft’s current favorite – the umami bomb Parmesan French toast, served with mascarpone and maple syrup.

Beginning March 19, Vista Ramen will also be in on the brunch game on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “I felt like there was a gap we could fill,” said chef-co-owner Chris Bork. “We offer a little something different.” Look for Asian-inspired dishes like grits with smoked shrimp XO sauce, shiro dashi, poached eggs, bacon and furikake, and a Reuben-inspired okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) piled with corned beef, white kimchi, house-made pickles, dollops of thousand island dressing and a sunny side up egg.

Mona’s, 5257 Shaw Ave., St. Louis, 314.772.8272, monasjoint.com; Sardella, 7734 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.773.7755, sardellastl.com; Vista Ramen, 2609 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.797.8250, vistaramen

- photo by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Snax Gastrobar in Lindenwood Park

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

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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

Related Content
The Scoop: Snax Gastrobar to open in former J McArthur’s space

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

The Scoop: Ben McArthur leaves J. McArthur’s kitchen, Will Volny steps in

 

Extra Sauce: Casting a line with Friday Night Fish

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

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I met Stephen Ibendahl in the basement of St. James The Greater Catholic Church in Dogtown. I wasn’t searching for any religious experience, but rather a plate piled high with golden fried fish. And who better to ask than the man behind Friday Night Fish, a website dedicated to that most popular of St. Louis traditions, the Lenten fish fry.

Each year, Christians abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, a 40-day period of reflection and sacrifice before Easter. During this time, many churches host a Friday fish fry where those observing Lent or those hankering for a piece of battered cod can get their fill.

We staked out our place in line, which coiled around the perimeter of the basement, and as we inched forward, Ibendahl told me how his quest for the best fish fry in St. Louis began.

A decade or so ago, he lived in the Central West End, and his parish at the time, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, only hosted one fish fry a year. This forced him to find fries outside the neighborhood. A self-professed “stats geek,” he started keeping track of his favorites for fun, until his wife, Elise Ibendahl, encouraged him to take his hobby online.

Since then, Ibendahl, usually accompanied by his wife, three children and assorted other relatives, has been to more than 60 fish fries, and his website clocks 30,000 to 40,000 views each Lent. For many area aficionados, it’s become the definitive resource for all things fish fry.

“Between the city and the inner-ring suburbs, we’ve probably been to almost all of them,” Ibendahl said. In fact, he’s hit so many that he’s now circling back and revisiting ones he hasn’t been to in years, like St. James, which he reviewed in 2007 and 2013.

Ibendahl’s process is simple, his rules minimal. Fish fries are evaluated on four basic criteria: food, value, atmosphere and way finding/greening (how easy is it to find the dining room and whether recycling efforts are in place), then given a rating of one to four fishes.

Though he has occasionally sampled non-parish fish fries put on by organizations like the Knights of Columbus and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ibendahl won’t review restaurants featuring Lenten fish specials – the fries he attends have to be volunteer-run operations. He pointed to St. Pius V Catholic Church on South Grand as a prime example of a fish fry that hits all the marks.

“St. Pius really has all of the elements,” he said. “Great atmosphere, really good food and they use real plates. It’s the quintessential fish fry.”

Ibendahl’s verdict on our St. James’ experience: three out of four fishes – a solid showing. Good fish, decent sides with pasta and desserts as high points, he noted, though signage was definitely lacking. As for me, I was impressed there was a professional card reader available for those without cash.

Ibendahl used to try a new fry every week, but now he’s focused on fish fries closer to home and smaller-scale fries held only once or twice a year. He figures he’s still got at least a few years left on the fish fry circuit. His desired end to this quest: support the local fish fry community … and maybe just a touch of notoriety.

“I’ve always wanted to be in The A-Hed column of The Wall Street Journal,” Ibendahl said. “I always thought it’d be cool to be mentioned on there.”

 

First Look: Mac’s Local Eats in Dogtown

Monday, March 6th, 2017

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Last year, a broken sewage line during Game 7 of the World Series shuttered Tamm Avenue Grill for several months, during which the Dogtown bar and restaurant underwent a total renovation. During the hiatus, co-owner Bob Brazell (who also co-owns Byrd & Barrel and upcoming Good Fortune) said he and his partners decided to up the bar’s food game.

They approached Chris “Mac” McKenzie of local food distributor Mac’s Local Buys to start a new concept that would a step or two above the usual bar food. McKenzie partnered with Completely Sauced owner Bob Komanetsky to operate an independent kitchen inside Tamm Avenue Grill. And so Mac’s Local Eats was born on Thursday, Feb. 2.

Mac’s menu features items made with premium ingredients like dry-aged beef for the smashed burgers (which come in single, double, triple and quadruple patty versions), sausage links and boudin balls. Most everything at Mac’s is made in-house, and since Mac’s buys whole animals, the menu frequently changes.

McKenzie said sometime before May, he’ll open Mac’s Local Market in the same building, where he’ll offer fresh cuts of meats and other local products. The market will also serve as Mac’s Local Buys HQ for CSA and meat share pickups.

 

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Photos by Michelle Volansky

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The Scoop: The Corner Cup coffee shop opens in Dogtown

The Scoop: Chef Bob Brazell launches catering business, revamps The Corner Cup menu

The Scoop: Tazé to open second location in the CWE

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

 

Tazé Mediterranean Street Food is taking its fast-casual concept to the Central West End. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, co-owners Casey and Justin Roth will open a second location at 8½ S. Euclid Ave., in the space formerly occupied by Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen. Casey Roth said the restaurant should open in early summer.

The space will seat 35 to 45 seats inside with another 40 seats outside. The new Tazé will feature the same menu as the downtown flagship location at 626 Washington Ave., but it will also have what Roth described as “robust happy hour specials,” a tapas menu and entree specials. Roth said there will also cocktail offerings, beer and wine, to appeal to the Central West End clientele.

The Roths opened their first Tazé in June 2015. The restaurant specializes in build-your-own meals with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences.

Photo by Michelle Volansky

Related Content
• The Scoop: Mission Taco Joint to open at the Streets of St. Charles, Tortillaria to close in CWE

• Sneak Peek: Tazé Mediterranean Street Food

• The Scoop: Tazé Mediterranean Street Food to open downtown

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