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Mar 24, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘ownership change’

Cleveland-Heath owners sell restaurant, will relocate to Utah

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017



Big changes are afoot at Cleveland-Heath. Owners Jenny Cleveland and chef Ed Heath have sold the restaurant to Keith and Kari McGinness, restaurant industry veterans who have roots in the area, as reported by St. Louis Magazine. The sale takes effect Friday, Sept. 1.

Cleveland said she and Heath will relocate to Salt Lake City, where Heath is from.

“We’ve been here for seven years with my family, so it’s time to go out there and do the same for him,” said Cleveland.

Cleveland said she and Heath will work with The Pub Corp., where they both have history – the two actually met while working at one of the company’s restaurants.

“They’ve got four restaurants in the Salt Lake area,” she said. “We’ve been consulting with them for some time; Ed spent quite a bit of time out there last year. Early on, we’re just going to be getting to know the restaurants and working on some new projects eventually.”

Read More: New owner discusses future of Cleveland-Heath

While the transition will be bittersweet, Cleveland said she and Heath would remain connected to the area; she still has family and property in the Metroeast.

“The last thing we want is for people to think we’re just leaving,” she said. “I don’t want to say goodbye. This is our baby, and it’s grown into something that we could never have imagined.”

Heath will remain for the next month or so helping with the kitchen, and Cleveland will make frequent trips back to help with the transition. “If they call me in January and say they need help with something, I’ll be there,” she said.

The Edwardsville eatery has received much acclaim since opening in November 2011. Heath earned national nods as James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2015 and 2016, and Sauce readers have frequently voted Cleveland-Heath among their favorite restaurants in the Readers’ Choice poll.

Cleveland said the intent is to keep up those high standards and make the transition as seamless as possible.

“I want people to understand, the faces here are still the same,” she said. “Rick (Kazmer), our chef de cuisine, is getting bumped to executive chef. He’s been in the kitchen with Ed for years. And Eli (Barnes) will still be general manager.”

Photo by Jonathan Gayman 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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The Scoop: Local Harvest Catering under new ownership as Seed Sprout Spoon

Friday, October 28th, 2016



The former catering arm of Local Harvest Grocery is under new ownership, emerging as Seed Sprout Spoon. Erin Wiles and The Civil Life’s former chef Brendan Kirby quietly purchased the business in August, finishing up existing catering contracts before making the transition.

Seed Sprout Spoon will stay in the old Local Harvest Catering space at 3137 Morgan Ford Road, keeping the focus on local ingredients and offering plenty of the former business’ favorites like pan-seared Troutdale Farms trout and a Three Spring Farm beef tenderloin with Illinois horseradish cream.

“Ownership has changed, but what we are doing is essentially the same,” Wiles said. “I managed Local Harvest Catering for three years and managed the front of house at the cafe before that. We will have the same philosophy for local foods, and we are just revamping the menu a bit and rebranding.”

Wiles also plans to bring back counter-service Sunday brunch next month. Look for a limited, rotating menu featuring Local Harvest classics like chorizo or vegan burritos, pot pies and chili. The new brunch will also see a mimosa and bloody mary bar.

Seed Sprout Spoon will continue to focus on catering events and weddings, expanding catering service offerings, and stocking prepared food in cases at Local Harvest Grocery, St. Louis MetroMarket and TechArtista’s Silo Cafe.

The Scoop: New owner discusses vision for Blood & Sand

Friday, October 21st, 2016



In December 2015, Blood & Sand co-owners TJ Vytlacil and Adam Frager announced they were putting the downtown restaurant up for sale in order to focus their attention on their software company, Brigade Society. On Thursday, Oct. 20, the duo announced that Tim Murphy, an early member, had purchased the business.

“Tim was the best fit and the best person,” said Frager. “We probably could have closed sooner and for more money if we wanted to just cash out, but we were willing to put our eggs in his basket because of the strength of Tim as a buyer and for his character. We’re excited to be able to leave it in such great hands.”

Murphy, who has a business background and managed restaurants in the 1990s, became a member at Blood & Sand only months after it opened in September 2011. While he first joined for the drink and cocktail program, he soon became enamored with its food menu, service and ambience as well.

“It’s one of St. Louis’ great jewels,” said Murphy. “I remember it went up for sale on Dec. 26, and that’s the day I started wanting to buy it. I thought, ‘It’s the only restaurant I’d consider buying. I have to make a run at this.’”

Enthusiastic and committed to Blood & Sand’s staff and concept, Murphy intends to keep the ethos of the fine-dining eatery, as well as its staff. Executive chef Chris Krzysik will helm the kitchen, where he has worked for last four years. Sean Coltrain will head the beverage program, and certified sommelier (and one of the youngest in the country at a mere 21) Zac Adcox will run front of house.

“The staff is amazingly good,” said Murphy. “It’s one of the best we’ve ever had. It’s a great place to come in and celebrate. Or if you come in to process having a bad day, the staff is kind enough to understand and let you do that as well.”

In addition to the atmosphere and people, Murphy intends to keep membership prices and volume consistent. “I want to be as full as we can be and still put out exceptional food and drinks,” he said. “I don’t need to be 100-percent packed. I’m not Applebee’s and don’t want to be.”

Members and guests can expect to see the same menu items with the addition of more adventurous dishes, potentially including wild game entrees and a pawpaw cheesecake. Diners can also expect to see a bit more playfulness and tweaks in plating.

For their part, the former owners report success in their restaurant point-of-sale business, and while they are sad to not be at Blood & Sand on a daily basis, they are pleased with the establishment’s direction.

“Our dream was the person who took over would build on the success and serve the community we created,” said Frager. “Tim’s going to be able to build upon that legacy. It’s exciting. He’s been with us from the beginning, and this couldn’t have worked out better.”

The Scoop: Serendipity owner, business partner purchase The Fire & Ice Cream Truck

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016



{From left, Beckie Jacobs and Matt Armstong}


Beckie Jacobs, owner of Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream, and Webster Groves attorney Matt Armstrong have purchased The Fire & Ice Cream Truck. Scott and Stephanie Pondrom put the truck up for sale Thursday, Jan. 21, after cooling down the St. Louis area in the summer and fall since 2007. Jacobs said she plans to hit the streets as soon as this spring.

“We won’t miss a beat,” Jacobs said. “We will be out in at community events, parades, corporate events and at Citygarden.”

The iconic truck will retain its look and name and will feature Serendipity’s ice cream and other creamy classics. “We’ll have drumsticks that we call Dipstix and ice cream sandwiches and ice cream floats using Fitz’s soda for right now. We’re keeping it local,” said Jacobs.

Stephanie Pondram said they are grateful to have been a part of the St. Louis food truck scene. “We have done these amazing birthdays,” said Pondrom. “It has been a blast. We’ve done birthday parties for 1 year olds and 80 year olds.”



The Scoop: Que Sazon food truck under new ownership

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015



South American food truck Que Sazon has a new team of chefs behind the window. Aaron Gray and Deana Saunders purchased the business from Fabian and Julie Ocampo last week on Dec. 22. Gray and Saunders were both chefs on the food truck Go Gyro Go since March 2012, and Gray said he’d long planned to open his own mobile eatery. He and Saunders purchased the truck, concept and recipes.

“As of right now, we’re going to keep the South American concept,” Gray said. “It’s stuff that we’re both trained in and have worked with Fabian on the truck in the past … We think we can add quite a bit to what he’s already started.”

Gray said he and Saunders hope to streamline the menu, which consists largely of arepas, empanadas and sides made with yucca and plantains, and make it more approachable to Midwestern palates. They also hope to source much of their meat and produce locally. The new Que Sazon is slated to hit both St. Louis city and county streets in January 2016.

The Ocampos are moving to Arizona in 2016, where Julie Ocampo said they plan to operate another Que Sazon food truck.


The Scoop: Blood & Sand owners put downtown bar up for sale

Monday, December 28th, 2015



Want to own a private bar and dinner club? Blood & Sand co-owners TJ Vytlacil and Adam Frager are putting their members-only bar on the market. The business partners have developed and tested a point-of-sale software program called Brigade POS and are ready to take the product to the open market. Vytlacil said this switch in focus means the duo can no longer dedicate the amount of time necessary to run Blood & Sand.

“We’ve been thinking far in advance,” Vytlacil said. “We wanted to be honest with our membership base.”

That honesty came via an email to Blood & Sand members Dec. 23. “Blood & Sand is not a concept that can function well long-term without ownership being invested in its day-to-day activities,” Vytlacil said in the email. “It would be unfair to our employees who pour their heart into the work they love, and to our members who rightfully expect a superior dining experience.”

While the business and the property are for sale, Vytlacil and Frager do not intend to sell and run. “We will want to be available to the new ownership if they want to help take it to the next level,” he said.

Vytlacil said that the sale of Blood & Sand would not affect its sister restaurant, Death in the Afternoon.



The Scoop: Co-founder to leave The Cup, partner to take over as sole owner

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015



After eight years, co-founder Nicole Puyear is leaving The Cup. Business partner Ericka Frank will take sole ownership beginning Sept. 15.

The duo launched The Cup in 2007 after Frank, a longtime baker, looked to expand beyond sister shop, The Cakery. She brought Puyear on to help with marketing, development and operations. What they anticipated as a little neighborhood bakery blossomed into four locations, including the Central West End, Chesterfield, Edwardsville and Springfield, Missouri.

Puyear said her decision to leave came after the recent adoption of her daughter. “Once Hattie came home, it became immediately clear I couldn’t give everything to the business. I love The Cup, but I realized I wasn’t giving Hattie the best of me,” she said. “My husband and I waited so long and tried so hard to have family, so I don’t want to miss anything.”

Frank said she does not anticipate any immediate changes to The Cup and is not looking to expand the business anytime soon. She is grateful for the eight years she and Puyear worked together and is looking forward to The Cup’s future. “I’m excited about the opportunity to take the lead on my own,” she said.

Puyear said she and Frank remain friends, and she looks forward to supporting the business as a customer. “I still need my favorite tuxedo cupcakes,” she said.

The Scoop: West End Grill & Pub owners take over Onesto

Thursday, August 13th, 2015




There’s a new ownership team at Onesto Pizza & Trattoria. Neill Costello, Henry Arciniega, William Roth and Benet Schaeffer, the ownership team behind West End Grill & Pub, took ownership of the St. Louis Hills Italian eatery Aug. 1.

“We’ve been looking, not aggressively, but passively, at other opportunities,” Costello said. “We’ve done pretty well at West End Grill & Pub, and I think it’s just a natural outgrowth of that to expand the business.”

Roth has played hockey with former owner Craig Stenson for several years, and the owners regularly ate in each other’s restaurants. Stenson and chef Vito Racanelli opened Onesto in 2008 and ran the operation together until Racanelli left in January 2012 to devote more time to his now-shuttered Clayton eatery, Mad Tomato.

“Craig approached us and after a couple months of ironing out the details, we were able to get the deal done,” Costello said. “He liked what we were doing over here and when he decided to sell it, he kind of wanted us to be the ones to get it.”

The new team doesn’t plan to make major changes to the current Onesto operation, Costello said, noting that the menu and much of the staff will remain the same. Costello and Arciniega will continue to be the boots on the ground at West End, while Costello goes back and forth between the two.


The Scoop: Tikka Tikka Taco owner to sell company

Thursday, July 16th, 2015




After nearly clinching victory on Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race in 2013, owner Michael Swaleh has put Tikka Tikka Taco up for sale, as reported by Feast. Swaleh said it became too difficult to balance a full-time job and get Tikka Tikka Taco off the ground.

“I was looking for an acting partner, and I vetted a few people and it didn’t work out,” Swaleh said. “I think it’s an incredible opportunity. Someone just needs to make it happen.”

He is still open to a partnership, but Swaleh said he will sell Tikka Tikka Taco outright, too. Although there is no physical truck, Swaleh is selling the rights to the name, the company’s signature spice mix, the recipes, the logo, the truck’s design and business plan. He hopes the national name recognition will set a buyer up for success.

Swaleh said he his ultimate vision remains: to be serve fast-casual Indian fare with multiple trucks, brick-and-mortars and a national reach.



The Scoop: Meshuggah Café owner sells coffee shop after almost 20 years

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015



After nearly two decades, Meshuggah Café owner Patrick Liberto is selling his Loop cafe to a longtime regular, Jen Kaslow. Kaslow will take over July 18.

When Kaslow heard Liberto was looking to sell the University City cafe, located at 6269 Delmar Blvd., she said she impulsively made an offer, worried another owner might not continue Meshuggah’s menu of espresso-based coffee drinks and house-made eats. “The decision was more about: If Patrick left, what was going to happen with Meshuggah?” Kaslow said.

Although Kaslow does not have any formal culinary experience, Liberto said he is confident the former teacher is up to the job. Kaslow has trained alongside the current owner since mid-June. “She has a kind of energy,” he said. “There’s a certain freshness about her that reinvigorates the place … I didn’t want someone coming in and turning this into a cookie-cutter operation. I still wanted it to have this independent feel.”

Kaslow has a few aesthetic changes in mind, but the new owner assures customers that Meshuggah’s menu won’t change anytime soon. Around Aug. 3, the cafe will temporarily close due to construction outside the shop, and Kaslow said she will use this time to renovate the interior. In addition to incorporating artwork from local artists, she plans to add a large window seat and remove wood paneling to expose brick. Kaslow said she hopes to reopen in mid-August.

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