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Jan 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Reine Bayoc’

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

From new restaurants on Cherokee Street and Edwardsville to big announcements for Midtown and The Grove, here’s what went down in the St. Louis dining scene last week, ICYMI…




1. Husband-and-wife team Michael and Tara Gallina announced June 14 that they will open Vicia, at 4260 Forest Park Ave., in The Cortex. The Gallinas are looking at a fall opening.

2. The Grove is about to get a little tastier. With a year under its belt in Clayton, owner Vincent Marsden plans to open a second brick-and-mortar Vincent Van Doughnut at 1072 Tower Grove Ave., in mid-October.




3. Korean barbecue goes south of the border when Kalbi Taco Shack opened at 2301 Cherokee St., on Saturday. Mother-daughter duo Sue and Olivia Shackelford helm the kitchen and serve flavorful, Korean-inspired proteins with a Latin flare.

4. Anyone for a spot of tea? On Friday, Queen’s Cuisine opened its first brick-and-mortar location, Queen’s Cuisine Tea Room, at 120 S. Main St., on the corner of East Park and South Main streets in Edwardsville.




5. Step inside SweetArt during a bustling Saturday afternoon, and you’ll find it hard to believe co-owners Reine and Cbabi Bayoc had never worked in a restaurant when they opened in 2008. Learn more about the “love and magic” at this cafe/bakeshop/art gallery in What I Do.

6. The newest place to get a slice and a pint is coming to downtown St. Louis when The Sliced Pint opens at 1511 Washington Ave., later this summer.

What I Do: Reine Bayoc of SweetArt

Monday, June 13th, 2016


Step inside SweetArt during a bustling Saturday afternoon, and you’ll find it hard to believe co-owners Reine and Cbabi Bayoc had never worked in a restaurant when they opened in 2008. Cheerful staff pipe frosting onto mini cupcakes and prep vegetables behind the counter while they chat with regulars. Others dine at a community table, surrounded by Cbabi Bayoc’s colorful, family-focused artwork. The Bayocs’ recipe for success: hard work, relentless optimism and a vegan menu that delights omnivores and herbivores alike. Here, Reine Bayoc shares her thoughts on baked goods, honest conversation and serving more than great cupcakes.


Starting out
“It worked in the beginning because it had to. We spent all our money to open this, and we didn’t take out a loan. We had three kids and a couple hundred dollars left. When you’re in that sort of do-or-die situation, you do. So we did.”

On vegetarian and vegan food
“We don’t put out anything unless it tastes delicious. It’s not one of those ‘It’s delicious – for vegan.’ It has to be delicious, period.”

Mom’s buttermilk biscuits
“On Saturdays we have these biscuits … that remind me of my mother’s biscuits, and they are the best baked good in the shop. … I’ve had people come in and say, ‘This is better than Popeye’s!’ And look, to black people, when you come in and say a biscuit is better than Popeye’s – what? That is a spectacular biscuit.”

Beyond sweets
“It’s so not about cupcakes and cookies. People come here (when) they could go anywhere and they come here for a reason. … That’s the energy that we are trying to create. Everyone has a day; some people have really long days. Everyone has a life, and some people have really hard lives, and they come here to release a little bit.

Fostering dialogue
“We have people from all walks of life and all nationalities and ethnicities who feel comfortable (here). And I don’t know how that happens. I don’t know if it’s the art, I don’t know if it’s (the) cupcakes, I don’t know if it’s the staff, but they come and they feel safe, so I feel like that made it easier for us to have those open dialogues (about) racial issues.”

Pursuit of perfection
“Everything evolves. Even our traditional baked goods evolve. I’ve changed probably 90 percent of our recipes in the last year. I’m constantly pushing it just a little bit further.”

On confidence
“In the beginning I questioned myself so much because I didn’t go to culinary school. (I thought), ‘Oh, but I’ve worked really hard and I think I’m good at this and people seem to like it.’ … Now there is no ego in this. I come in, I put on my apron, I get to work, and I don’t question myself. If I think it’s good, it’s good.”


-photo by Ashley Gieseking

Eat This: The Maine Event at Sweet Art

Sunday, April 13th, 2014



All great things start from small beginnings, and The Maine Event cookie at Sweet Art is no exception. It began years ago in Reine Bayoc’s home kitchen when she made chocolate chip cookies for her brother, Jermaine. So smitten was he with the sweet treat that he sold it at his office until Bayoc finally opened her storefront in South City. That perfect little cookie, named for Bayoc’s big bro, is flecked with sea salt and holds the rich flavors of high-quality butter and fine Belgian chocolate. But the main event is a piece of luscious Callebaut chocolate set in the middle of each cookie that keeps the texture gooey and chewy long after it’s pulled from the oven.

Sweet Art, 2203 S. 39th St., St. Louis, 314.771.4278, sweetartstl.com

-photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: Sweet Art to stay put – for the moment

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Last month, The Scoop reported that Sweet Art would be relocating to 2800 Shenandoah Ave., in Fox Park. Now, we have received word from co-owner Reine Bayoc that there’s been a change of plans. The bakery-cafe known for its vegetarian and vegan baked goods and lunch fare will remain in its current space at 2203 S. 39th St. in the Shaw neighborhood – at least for the time being. “[We are] staying in Shaw until we purchase our own building,” said Bayoc.


The Scoop: New Digs

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Last month, we reported that Zoe Robinson, owner of Bobo Noodle House in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood and I Fratellini in Clayton, would be opening a small bar-cafe across the street from I Fratellini at 7637 Wydown Blvd. Last Friday, Robinson informed The Scoop that the new restaurant (rendering pictured) will take the name Bar Les Frères, meaning “The Brothers Bar” in French. “[It] works well with I Fratellini,” Robinson noted.

Another eatery that will soon see new digs is Sweet Art Bakeshop & Art Studio. The bakery-cafe is moving eastward from its location at 2203 S. 39th St. in the Shaw neighborhood to 2800 Shenandoah in Fox Park, as reported by Brandon Chuang of Feast. According to an employee at the bakery-cafe, Sweet Art will move to its new home during the month of May. The Scoop has been unable to discuss details of the move with co-owner Reine Bayoc.

— Rendering courtesy of SPACE Architecture + Design

The Scoop: A roundup of recent restaurant action

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

There has been quite a bit of locking and unlocking of restaurant doors lately. Among the eateries recently opened is BlackFinn American Grille, now open at the Saint Louis Galleria. The space formerly occupied by department store Mark Shale received a complete renovation by Pernikoff Construction, which turned the 10,000 square-foot-space into a multi-room bar and restaurant with seating for more than 400. BlackFinn serves classic American fare for lunch, dinner, happy hour and late night. The independently owned restaurant also has locations in Houston and Jacksonville, Fla., with a location slated to open this summer in northern Virginia.

Also recently opened is O’Kelley’s at the Ballpark, a casual, Irish-themed sports bar located at 756-758 S. Fourth St., just south of Busch Stadium.

Tavolo V, Michael Del Pietro’s newest project, is set to open this Saturday at 5 p.m. The Italian restaurant, located in The Loop at 6118 Delmar Blvd., was originally slated to open last summer (under the name Trattoria Spezie) but experienced delays in construction.

And now on the other side of the swinging door, two restaurants have recently closed. Park West Grille, located at 2917 S. Jefferson Ave., shuttered its doors, as did American Craft Brewing & Distilling, the latter of which was noted earlier this month by STL Hops and reported by Evan Benn of the Post-Dispatch. The restaurant, formerly known as The Stable, saw a name change after a change in ownership last fall.


Sweet and savory (and veg-friendly)

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

My latest stop at SweetArt, the new pastry shop-cum-art gallery in the Shaw neighborhood, turned up savory fare, too. SweetArt is already making waves with its decadent cookies and cupcakes, and just last Saturday, Reine and Cbabi Bayoc’s storefront debuted a small-but-tasty menu of vegetarian sandwiches. SweetArt was already offering incredibly good quiche and savory turnovers, but now it has more traditional lunch fare. Look for sun-dried tomato-artichoke hummus on thick white bread (vegan if you omit the feta); a tofu salad sandwich with carrots, scallions, celery and basil; a thick, warmly spiced veggie burger; and a PB&J that’s steps above the norm. So now when you stop in for a carrot cake cupcake with fluffy cream cheese buttercream, you can temper any sugar guilt by eating a healthy lunch before you start licking all that icing off.

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