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Jan 21, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Missouri History Museum’

The Scoop: Bixby’s brings on new chef, Will Volny

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016



Spring promises a fresh start and fresh ingredients, especially for chef Will Volny. Volny now leads the kitchen staff at Bixby’s, the restaurant located on the second floor of the Missouri History Museum operated by Butler’s Pantry.

Butler’s Pantry president Richard Nix Jr. said Volny came on board in mid-January after chef Corey Ellsworth left to spend more time with his family. After impressing Butler’s Pantry chef Chuck Friedhoff with his tweaks to the winter menu, Volny has started putting together the menu for spring — light fare that fits the Bixby’s brunch and lunch service.

“Will is going to be a great fit for our kitchen with his experience and love of locally sourced food,” Nix said.

Nix said Bixby’s is known for locally sourcing its produce, and Volny will seek out local cheeses and meats, as well. As a former sous chef at The Libertine and an apprentice at Truffles‘ Butchery, Nix said Volny is a seasoned butcher with a love for charcuterie. The spring menu will reflect that interest with a Bixby’s BLT featuring house-smoked bacon. Bixby’s Vegetable Tart will also be making a comeback with seasonal flavors, as well as a salad featuring local produce from Such & Such Farms. Look for the new menu items to debut around April.

-photo courtesy of Missouri History Museum 

The Scoop: Chef Corey Ellsworth takes the helm at Bixby’s

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014



Bixby’s, the lunch and brunch restaurant located inside the Missouri History Museum, has welcomed new executive chef Corey Ellsworth to its culinary lineup. Ellsworth, who was previously executive chef at Chandler Hills Vineyard, said he was drawn to the historical element that often influence Bixby’s menu.

The current Louisiana Purchase-inspired fare allows Ellsworth to delve into Missouri’s past and pull culinary inspiration from Spanish and French roots. The menu features meats such as bison, duck and turkey, along with seasonal ingredients such as persimmon, apples and cranberries.

“I’m really excited to come into a place that has a really wonderful reputation already and just try and excel and make it grow and push it to do even better than where it is now,” he said. “That’s my goal, and I’m pretty tenacious when it comes to meeting my goals.”

Local catering company Butler’s Pantry operates Bixby’s, and its president Richard Nix Jr. said Ellsworth’s international culinary experience (he has cooked everywhere from Yosemite National Park to Nicaragua) will be an asset in Bixby’s kitchens. “We didn’t want the place run by caterers. We’re learning from him, and he’s learning from us,” Nix said.



St. Louis’ Joy in Cooking: Legendary cookbook author celebrated in Missouri History Museum exhibit

Thursday, February 27th, 2014


{The Joy of Cooking, first edition, currently on display at Missouri History Museum}


It’s as common a sight in the kitchen as a stove. For decades, The Joy of Cooking taught millions everything they needed to know about cooking. Less well known is that the author of this classic cookbook, Irma Rombauer, was a St. Louis native. Missouri History Museum is honoring Rombauer as part of its “250 in 250″ exhibit, which celebrates St. Louis’ 250th birthday. The exhibit highlights 50 people, 50 places, 50 images, 50 moments and 50 objects in the city’s history.

On Wednesday, March 5, Rombauer’s great-grandson John Becker will speak about how the book revolutionized home cooking at “The Joy of Cooking: The Book That Changed American Kitchens.” “[The book] was really the first beginner-friendly cookbook that was also authoritative in scope,” said Becker, who frequently lectures about Rombauer and his family’s continued involvement with her work.



{Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker in 1950}

Rombauer wrote The Joy of Cooking in 1931, and her daughter Marion Rombauer Becker illustrated it. Since then, it has sold more than 18 million copies and published eight editions. Becker said Rombauer was a strong member of the St. Louis community, had a magnetic personality and was involved with many women’s organizations in the city. When she began to explore the idea of writing a cookbook, she turned to St. Louis for inspiration and help.

“The St. Louis community contributed so much to the first edition,” Becker said. “[Rombauer] started collecting recipes from everyone she knew – family members and friends.” The result was that the cookbook’s first edition directly reflected how St. Louisans cooked in the 1920s.

Becker said Rombauer’s voice and the book’s evolving continue to make it a staple in kitchens across America. “One of the reasons why Joy is so amazing as a reference tool … is because we’ve been adding to it for over 70 years,” Becker said.

Becker said he looks forward to speaking in St. Louis about his family’s culinary history. “I’m very proud,” he said. “I’m proud that my grandmother and great-grandmother had an influence on how St. Louis is perceived. I’m always interested in learning new ways of how St. Louis influenced what’s become my life’s work.

The free event takes place at 7 p.m. in the AT&T Foundation Multipurpose Room at the Missouri History Museum. For more information, click here.

The Scoop: Tree House announces pastry chef hire

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

In mid-April, The Scoop reported that the soon-to-open vegetarian restaurant Tree House had hired John Intrieri as its executive chef. The lunch and dinner spot, located at 3177 S. Grand Blvd., has since hired Victoria Lopez (pictured) as its head pastry chef. Lopez attended Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, Georgia, before moving to St. Louis in 2009. Since then, Lopez has worked at Black Bear Bakery on Cherokee Street and Bixby’s in the Missouri History Museum. Her familial Puerto Rican influences work their way into her desserts, adding another dimension to Tree House owner Bay Tran’s Vietnamese background and Intrieri’s South American and Italian roots. All three are first-generation Americans and are excited to call on the cuisine of their respective heritages, along with their familiarity of American culture, in order to offer a menu with truly global flavors.

Look for Tree House to open by mid to late May.

Cheap Date: Twilight Tuesdays

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Bad news for all the job seekers out there: Now that universities have loosed another crop of little overachievers onto the unemployment line, your resume has an even worse chance of inching its way up the already jammed inboxes of the human resource managers whose eyes you’ve so desperately been trying to catch. While underemployment breeds despair, it’s important to take solace in the fact that St. Louis is one of the most accommodating cities to loiter in – especially in terms of free amusements for the broke and weary. With the warm season upon us, now is the time to plan a date and take advantage of the plethora of admission-free outdoor concerts and shows. Case in point: Every Tuesday, for three more weeks, the History Museum plays host to Twilight Tuesdays, a stellar concert series held under the stars. Music kicks off at 6 p.m., but it’s best to grab a spot on the lawn at least 30 minutes prior. Grab a few lawn chairs and stock the following thrifty meal:


Insanely cheap, but still respectable, bottles of wine are held in surplus at The Wine and Cheese Place at 7435 Forsyth Blvd., just a stone’s throw from the History Museum. Try the 2011 Frontera Cabernet Merlot blend, a dark, unpretentious, medium-bodied red that tastes like it should cost $15 a bottle but retails for just $4. Now that the booze is covered, head northeast to the Gyro House at 6152 Delmar Blvd., where $16 will secure you a takeout order of two gorgeous gyros stuffed with thick, tender slices of lamb – these are easily the best in town. (Be sure to have management include plastic knives and forks as well as extra napkins for these monster-sized portions.)

{Floating Island at Brasserie by Niche}

As the music winds down, grab your date and head east up Lindell Boulevard to the sleepy side streets of the Central West End, where you’ll find Brasserie by Niche – a romantic, nineteenth century-style French hideaway. Cap off your evening by sharing one of Brasserie’s stellar desserts – i.e. profiteroles, chocolate mousse with hazelnut shortbread, floating island, cherry clafouti with brandy ice cream, for $8 each.

— Brasserie photo by Ashley Gieseking

The Scoop: Todd Lough leaves Bixby’s, chef Callaghan Carter steps up

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The newly released spring menu at Bixby’s in the Missouri History Museum is the brainchild of chefs Todd Lough and Callaghan Carter, but since Lough’s departure from the lunchtime eatery a couple weeks ago, it is chef Carter executing the fare.

According to Bixby’s spokesperson Cassidy Cleveland, Lough left his position as executive chef at Bixby’s to assume a similar role at a resort in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Callaghan, a sous chef at Bixby’s, is currently taking charge of the restaurant’s culinary brigade. The eatery is operated by local catering company Butler’s Pantry, whose executive chef, Greg Ziegenfuss, continues to oversee all of Butler’s Pantry culinary operations.

Carter got his start in the industry at age 15 working at Maldaner’s Restaurant and Catering in Springfield, Ill. He later attended L’Ecole Culinaire in St. Louis. He spent time in the kitchens at the now defunct Busch’s Grove in Ladue as well as working under the direction of chef John Griffiths at private event space Lumen before heading to Bixby’s when it opened in spring 2010.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Bixby’s blood orange Margarita

Friday, November 12th, 2010

111210_drinkthisApples are tasty this time of year, but we’ve chomped through a bushel already and used another to make pies and pantry perks for winter. Oranges are slowly getting there, but those round globes need a month or more to reach their peak of ripeness. Blood oranges, though, are in season and uniquely delicious when mixed in a cocktail.

The blood orange Margarita at Bixby’s in the Missouri History Museum is a combination of Jose Cuervo Gold tequila, Gran Gala orange liqueur, lime juice and a blood orange purée made by Bixby’s chef de cuisine Todd Lough. We love the tartness of the drink and how well the tequila plays with the unique citrus flavor of the blood orange. Served in a collins glass just slightly rimmed with salt, plus a lime and blood orange garnish, this drink refreshes rather than overpowers. It’s a great way to start a fab lunch at Bixby’s with a perfect view of fall colors at Forest Park – and not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Bixby’s honors all guys named Thomas at grand opening

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

040810_bixbysThe folks at Missouri History Museum are celebrating the transformation of the museum’s lunch destination in right historic fashion. The grand opening of Bixby’s was held yesterday, April 13, which is no less than Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, and through the end of April, anyone whose first or last name is Thomas can receive a free dessert at the restaurant. Those lucky enough to be named Thomas Jefferson will receive a free lunch.

The seasonal menu by chef Todd Lough features artfully prepared local cuisine and is offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Bixby’s also offers a Sunday brunch. If you’re in a hurry, head to Bixby’s Express, where you can grab freshly prepared soups, salads and sandwiches before or after you peruse the galleries.

Of course, every Tom, Dick or Harry will want to check out the sleek remodeled space. Highlights include the addition of an expansive wall for displaying artwork and a waiting area with display cases for exhibiting historic artifacts relevant to the museum’s own past. Richard Nix, president of Butler’s Pantry, which operates the eatery, explained that these changes serve “to bring the museum into the restaurant.” One thing that hasn’t changed? That panoramic view of Forest Park.

– Ligaya Figueras

History museum showcases a true can-do effort

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

033010_CanstructionCastles made of sand have a way of washing into the surf, but castles made of canned tomatoes, it turns out, are a good deal more practical.

The annual Canstruction design competition and canned-food drive nets a lot of help for the St. Louis-area needy; this year, the project is expected to rake in more than 56,000 cans of donated food, which goes to the St. Louis Area Foodbank and the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry.

The castles and other structures made entirely from stacks of cans are expertly created by St. Louis architects, engineers and students. You can check them out through Monday, April 5, in the first floor west gallery of the Missouri History Museum during regular museum hours. And for a peek at the winners of the international Canstruction competition, including a dandy Mr. Potato Head, Chinese takeout box and octopus attacking a submarine, head to the organization’s Web site.

– Byron Kerman

Meriwether’s will become Bixby’s

Monday, December 21st, 2009

122109_MeriwethersThe best thing about eating at Meriwether’s in the Missouri History Museum – the sweet view of Forest Park from the top-floor café – will stay the same. Soon, though, everything else will change.

After 10 years of using Patty Long Catering at Meriwether’s, the museum will switch to Butler’s Pantry, close its restaurant for a time, and open a remodeled and renamed eatery in March.

“The restaurant will be known as Bixby’s, after philanthropist William Bixby,” explained Richard L. Nix Jr., president of Butler’s Pantry. “In the early 1900s, Bixby helped fund the original Missouri History Museum and served as its president. He collected a lot of valuable artifacts and left them to the museum, too.”

Bixby’s will serve lunch on weekdays and Sunday brunch. “It will be a destination restaurant,” Nix said. “Our chef de cuisine, Todd Lough, who was the executive chef at Busch’s Grove before he came to Butler’s Pantry, will be working seasonally on menu changes and featuring local products, including local food, wine and spirits.”

Besides furnishing a new menu for the main space, Butler’s Pantry will operate a secondary express area with extended hours. Between the Dec. 31 closing of Meriwether’s and the early-spring opening of Bixby’s, a kiosk will provide food service at the museum.

– Byron Kerman

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