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Jan 21, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Rick Lewis’

Edible Weekend: Extend the weekend with two fried chicken dinners on Monday

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Whether it’s a holiday market or a breakfast pop-up, there are plenty of tasty events taking place this weekend. If you’re still hungry, extend the weekend with two fried chicken feasts at Farmhaus and Grace Meat & Three.

 

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1. Farmhaus Blue Plate Special Dinner

Early fans of Farmhaus, get ready: the Lindenwood Park restaurant is bringing back its popular blue plate special next week – only this time, for Monday supper. On Monday, diners can order the prix fixe menu, which includes a starter salad, entree and dessert. This week kicks off with blue plate favorite – chef Kevin Willmann’s fried chicken.

$29. Mon., Dec. 18 – 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., Farmhaus Restaurant, 3257 Ivanhoe Ave., St. Louis, 314.647.3800, farmhausrestaurant.com

 

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2. Family-Style Fried Chicken Dinner

Chef-owner Rick Lewis and his Grace Meat & Three crew whip up a family-style feast to benefit neighbor City Greens Market. The main event (fried chicken of course) is served with sides including a roasted beet salad, cornbread, deviled eggs, greens and grilled carrots. Local farms like Double Star Farms and Buttonwood Farms supply the ingredients. Proceeds support the market’s mission of providing equal access to quality food. Tickets available online. 

$50. Mon., Dec. 18 – 5 p.m., Grace Meat & Three, 4270 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.533.2700, stlgrace.com

 

Don’t miss out. Sign up for the Edible Weekend newsletter to get the best food events of the weekend delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Photos by Carmen Troesser

Best New Restaurants: No. 3 – Grace Meat & Three

Friday, December 1st, 2017

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here are St. Louis’ 12 best new restaurants of 2017.

 

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At Grace Meat & Three, Rick and Elisa Lewis answer to no one but themselves. “Grace is about our freedom and our liberation, honestly,” Rick Lewis said.

He is a familiar bearded face in the St. Louis restaurant scene. Diners have experienced Lewis’ take on comfort food since he left fine dining to take the helm of Quincy Street Bistro, his in-laws’ pub and grill in South City, in 2012. His birds at Southern led the flock during the fried chicken fury of 2015.

“We went back and forth with what we wanted to do and probably the best option would be to keep it in the wheelhouse of what I enjoy cooking,” he said.

 

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Yes, Grace Meat & Three serves the classic southern fare St. Louis has come to expect from Lewis: fried green tomatoes, griddled bologna sandwiches and, of course, fried chicken. But he never settles – even lowbrow ingredients are crucial to Lewis’ success.

“You have to have Velveeta in your mac and cheese in order to make it creamy,” he said. “We’ve got $9-a-pound Gouda in there, and then we’ve got hunks of Velveeta – name brand, none of that fake stuff. It must be Velveeta, it must be Duke’s mayonnaise, and it must be Busch beer.”

Devotees will notice subtle changes to well-known dishes and unexpected additions. Burgers are a combo of house-ground brisket and bottom round; the carnival-sized turkey leg is shockingly tender from overnight brining; a hummus starter is spiced up with harissa; the seasonal salad is tossed with a charred onion vinaigrette, a name that doesn’t do justice to its complex depth.

“I feel like 90 percent of the time, no one notices but ourselves,” Lewis said. “What you do notice is people coming in … and going, ‘Man, the food just keeps getting better.’”

Photos by Carmen Troesser

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Amazing Grace: Meet the team at St. Louis’ Grace Meat & Three

• First Look: Grace Meat & Three in The Grove

• Rick Lewis to open new restaurant in The Grove

 

First Look: Grace Meat & Three in The Grove

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

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Chef Rick Lewis is bringing his southern food to The Grove. Grace Meat & Three will open Wed., Sept. 13 at 4270 Manchester Ave., in the former home of Sweetie Pie’s at The Mangrove.

As The Scoop reported in June, Lewis left his role as executive chef of Southern to open his own project with wife Elisa Lewis. Grace will offer a traditional “meat and three” menu featuring mains and rotating seasonal sides like greens, biscuits and mac and cheese.

“It’s all the things we’ve learned over the years coming to fruition here,” Rick said.

Elisa designed the 4,000-square-foot space with finds from rummage sales and items they’d collected over the years like old mattress springs that were turned into living wall decor with succulents and Spanish moss. The space will seat 100, and features a community table and bar stools designed by Goebel & Co.

 

 

Place your order at the counter, then grab a seat and wait for runners to drop off cafeteria trays laden with comfort food. Pick from mains like sweet tea-brined turkey legs, catfish bites or fried chicken, then pick two or three sides. Sandwiches including Rick Lewis’ famous house-made fried bologna and a burger are available, as well as a handful of salads and sharable starters.

Nonalcoholic beverages are self-serve, but customers can pick up canned and bottled beer, a few local draft options and a small selection of cocktails like ice picks, mint juleps and bloody marys at the bar.

Grace will start with lunch service Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with dinner service soon to follow. Here’s a first look at the newest project from Rick and Elisa Lewis.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Photos by Meera Nagarajan and Michelle Volansky 

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine. 

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Rick Lewis to open new restaurant in The Grove

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The Scoop: Rick Lewis dubs new restaurant Grace Meat & Three

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

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{ co-owners Rick and Elisa Lewis with the key to their new restaurant } 

 

Chef Rick Lewis’ forthcoming restaurant has a name: Grace Meat & Three.

As Sauce reported earlier this month, Lewis and his wife, Elisa Lewis, left Southern to strike out on their own at 4270 Manchester Ave., in The Grove, the former home of Sweetie Pie’s.

“Grace means good will and good virtue, and it’s the prayer we say before we eat,” Rick Lewis said. “We thought it represents the sense of community we’re trying to achieve.”

Lewis said he’s working on recipes right now, but expect to see traditional meat and three fare front and center at Grace, including fried chicken, barbecue and meatloaf. Vegetarian options will be available as well, and sides will encompass a rotating array of seasonal ingredients.

Lewis said the project is on track for an August opening. “We’re on schedule as of right now,” he said.

The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday and eventually offer Sunday brunch and a Sunday family-style dinner.

Photo courtesy of Grace Meat & Three

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
The Scoop: Rick Lewis to open new restaurant in The Grove

Readers’ Choice 2016: Favorite New Restaurant – Southern

• Best New Restaurants: No. 3 – Southern

 

The Scoop: Rick Lewis to open new restaurant in The Grove

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

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A local favorite will soon put down roots in a classic St. Louis neighborhood.

Rick Lewis is stepping down from his role as executive chef at Southern to open up his own place with his wife, Elisa Lewis. The new venture will be located at 4270 Manchester Ave., the former home of Sweetie Pie’s in The Grove.

Lewis and Mike Emerson of Pappy’s Smokehouse opened Southern in June 2015 after he left his executive chef post at Quincy Street Bistro.

Lewis, who will no longer have an ownership stake in Southern, said he’ll stay on for as long as necessary to make the transition. He said they are still deciding who will take over the kitchen.

“This is our first endeavor as husband and wife,” Lewis said. “It’s exciting. Elisa and I have grown a lot over the last two years, and there have been lots of opportunities that have come our way. When we came across this building, it just felt right to us.”

Lewis is excited to open in a neighborhood like The Grove.

“One of the cool things we saw at Southern was how all walks of life would come together, and it was really a community-building thing. Everyone would be sharing plates together and sitting next to each other,” he said. “We want to convey that sense of fellowship and community at this place. We want it to be comfortable and inviting and give people a sense of coming into our home for a meal.”

Lewis said the idea is to stay true to the history of the building – and of course, there will be fried chicken. “It’s going to be our take on Southern meat and three,” he said.

Lewis said he expects the space will seat approximately 100, and very little work will be necessary before the doors open. “We’re hoping to open in late summer or early fall,” Lewis said.

And what will he call his new establishment? “The name is top secret as of now,” he said.

Photo by Greg Rannells

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
Readers Choice 2016 Favorite New Restaurant: Southern

Best New Restaurants 2016: Southern

The Scoop: Rick Lewis to leave Quincy Street Bistro, open chicken shack with Pappy’s Mike Emerson

Readers’ Choice 2016: Favorite New Restaurant – Southern

Friday, July 1st, 2016

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Since it opened in 2015, St. Louisans have flocked to Southern for fried chicken. “People who were in here two days ago can’t believe they’re back,” said chef-owner Rick Lewis. “People literally get hooked.” And hooked you are. Offering more than a tasty bird, Southern took home this year’s Readers’ Choice Favorite New Restaurant award. Here, Lewis dished on his favorite dishes.

1. Bone-In Fried Chicken
“It’s the star of the show. I like it with medium heat. I prefer dark meat, but the bone-in breasts are delicious. The way we handle the chicken, it just stays so moist and flavorful.”

2. Collard Greens
“It’s the quality of the things we use that makes them really good. We steal (neighbor) Pappy’s smoked chicken drippings and pour some in.”

3. Fried Bologna Sandwich
“It’s an in-house favorite. We smoke the bologna over apple wood and cherry and put pimento cheese on it. Some of our guys put it on a biscuit.”

3. Biscuits
“It’s a real buttery biscuit that has a golden brown crunch outside and is light and fluffy inside. We whip butter with good honey and make jams – so simple but so good.”

5. Fried Pickles
“I took them off the menu but had to start doing them again because people kept asking for them. … We use dill seed that gives them a tasty, dilly flavor. I have to say, in the world of fried pickles, they’re up there.”

 

-photo by Greg Rannells

Ones to Watch 2016: Ari Ellis

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

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Title: Executive sous chef, Southern
Age: 27
Why Watch Her: She’s the powerhouse that makes Southern run.

Scroll through Ari Ellis’ Instagram feed, and along with selfies and snaps of her French bulldog, you’ll see countless shots of long nights in the kitchen, in-process charcuterie and even a few brightly painted pig skulls. There are timelapse videos of her breaking down pounds of produce and sorting through hundreds of chicken pieces, all with the bulldoggish tenacity that’s made her second in command at Southern.

“She’s a beast,” said Southern chef-owner Rick Lewis. “There’s a lot of things you can teach people as far as cooking, but (you can’t teach) coming in every day and having a good work ethic and good attitude and trying to bring people up around you.”

Just three years ago, an inexperienced Ellis stepped up to the fry station at Quincy Street Bistro, then a failing South City bar and grill. When Lewis took the helm, Ellis got a crash course in whole-animal cooking and house charcuterie. After becoming sous chef, she was immersed in kitchen management 101 with Lewis and chef Chris Tirone. “Everyone is different, so your approach to everyone has to be different,” Ellis said.

Those management skills were put to the test when Ellis made the jump to Southern. She serves as executive sous chef and Lewis’ right hand, prepping 95 percent of the food that hits the line and managing a crew of fast-moving cooks. “It was instantaneous respect, and you could see them thinking after a couple of weeks, ‘OK, this is why she’s here,’” Lewis said. That respect has manifested into a loyal team; there has been almost no turnover on the line since Southern opened to wide acclaim and massive crowds last year.

Ellis’ culinary education also draws from national players. She staged at Toro in New York City and roadtripped to Cochon in New Orleans to work with butcher Leighann Smith – now a friend and butchery-loving kindred spirit. Ellis spent much of her time at Quincy Street Bistro tasked with breaking down half hogs. “I was like ‘That’s great because I’m obsessed with this,’” Ellis said. “My big thing is breaking down animals. If I could do that most days of the week, I’d be happy.”

She’d be equally happy with an early morning plate of biscuits and gravy, her go-to meal at home and something she’d consider putting on her own diner-style menu one day. “I would like a place as small as Southern, something real small,” Ellis said. “I love breakfast, and I love waking up super early.”

Tearing into a fluffy biscuit smothered with house-made sausage gravy while Ellis breaks down a hog for future bacon? Add a cup of coffee (and maybe a painted pig skull on the wall) and she might just make us morning people, too.

– photo by Carmen Troesser

Best New Restaurants: No. 3 – Southern

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Opening a restaurant isn’t easy. Each year, hundreds give it a shot – and not everyone succeeds. Some, however, aren’t just surviving; they’re killing it. In the last year, we ate our way through newly opened restaurants from Alton to Ballwin, compiling a list of places that serve the food and drinks we can’t get out of our heads. They bring something different and exciting to the scene – and they do it damn well. While technical excellence was a must, the service and ambiance also had to win us over. Office debates nearly came to fisticuffs, but at last we agreed on St. Louis’ 11 best new restaurants of 2015. Clear your schedule and book your reservations; you’ve got a lot of eating to do.

 

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Rick Lewis ate a lot of hot chicken for you. The chef-owner of Southern, which opened its doors this June next to Pappy’s Smokehouse in Midtown, racked up the miles on his F-250 cruising to Nashville to research hot chicken royalty like Prince’s and Hattie B’s. Southern features their influence, along with a few barbecue techniques from the pros at Ubons in Mississippi, plus Lewis’ own tricks. Here, the path to Southern’s hot chicken:

Back off, buttermilk. Southern chicken marinates barbecue-style in a tub of beer, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar and cayenne pepper. The barbecue method continues with a dry rub of Lewis’ house-made riff on Old Bay, habanero powder, garlic, salt and sugar, building in layers of heat. 

Dredge, baby, dredge. Chicken is tossed in a mixture of two different starches and flour (This, Lewis insisted, is the key to breading that doesn’t slide off the entire piece after the first bite), plus more seasoning.

Fried and true. Chicken swims in corn oil until cooked through, then is sprinkled with a seasoning salt that Lewis called “magic dust.” Finally, the hot version of the fried bird takes another plunge in a vat of hot corn oil – this one glistening with cayenne and habanero peppers.

Not a one-trick bird. What makes Southern a force to be reckoned with is Lewis’ care for the whole meal. Greens rich with drippings from Pappy’s smoked chicken, flaky biscuits and creamy mac-n-cheese offer respite before you venture back to the merciless goodness of that crispy chicken.

Despite his meticulous research, the chicken’s punishing-yet-addictive heat and perfect crunch, Lewis is still at a loss to explain Southern’s overwhelming popularity. “I have no idea,” he said, grinning. “You want to know what everybody says? They just go, ‘There’s just not any chicken that’s this good around here.’ That’s what they tell me.” We couldn’t put it better ourselves.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: Chris Ladley takes the reins at Quincy Street Bistro

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

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{Chris Tirone}

Chef de cuisine Chris Tirone has left the kitchen at Quincy Street Bistro, handing the reins to chef Chris Ladley. Tirone (a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch 2011 class) left in late November after two years at Quincy Street, where he helmed the kitchen after chef Rick Lewis left the South City bistro in March to open Southern. Ladley has worked at Quincy Street since September 2014.

“I’ll be running the kitchen, and we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said Ladley. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. We’ll keep cooking locally sourced, locally inspired food and give great service.”

After spending 15 years in kitchens, Tirone is training with U.S. Foods where he’ll stay involved in the industry, but from a sales perspective. “I wanted to try something new,” he said. “I wanted to learn more about the food industry, and after two weeks in training, it’s been eye-opening.”

Tirone said he’s learning the business side of the industry, including pricing and technology. “When I was a working chef, a lot of what I did was operations, working with my guys, getting things prepped,” he said. “Now I’m learning about technology that can help with inventory and order entry that can help restaurants.”

Hit List: 5 new places you must try this month

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

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1. Southern: 3108 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.531.4668, stlsouthern.com

Fried chicken has come home to roost in St. Louis, and chef Rick Lewis is adding to the flock with Southern. The former Quincy Street Bistro chef partnered with Pappy’s owner Mike Emerson to open a lunchtime eatery next door to the venerable barbecue joint in Midtown. Southern serves up Nashville-style hot chicken – fried chicken that takes a dip in spicy oil before hitting your tongue with a one-two punch of sweet heat. Order a plate of two, three or four pieces and choose your spice level (mild, Cluckin’ Hot or General Tso’s), then pair it with two sides, such as toothsome mac-n-cheese and Southern greens cooked with salt pork, along with the requisite slice of bread and pickles. Not feeling fried? Order one of nine monster sandwiches, like the Cubano made with Pappy’s pulled pork, house ham, brown ale mustard, bread-and-butter pickles and Gruyere cheese grilled to melty goodness on the flattop. Grab a fountain soda or (soon) a bottle of beer and kick back with a tray of down-home goodness.

 

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2. Tazé Mediterranean Street Food: 626 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.254.7953, tazestreetfood.com

Get your fill of eastern Mediterranean fare at fast-casual Tazé in the Mercantile Exchange building downtown. The 115-seat counter-style restaurant focuses on a build-your-own meal concept. Start with a house-made pita or a bowl of saffron rice or mixed greens. Next, choose a filling: Options range from gyro-style meat sliced from the spit; tandoori-cooked chicken, beef or pork; or vegetarian picks of portobello mushrooms or falafel. Top it off with fresh fixings and a house-made sauce such as harissa or tahini. Besides a variety of hummus flavors served with pita chips, Tazé offers a dozen side dishes from baba ghanoush to stuffed grape leaves to an Israeli couscous salad. If you come after 4 p.m., make a meal out of happy hour bites like meatballs with tzatziki and skewered shrimp paired with a pint of local craft beer or a glass of wine. Finish with a Moroccan cookie, a chewy sugar cookie that holds a hint of the North African spice blend ras al-hanout.

 

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3. O’Fallon Brewery: 45 Progress Parkway, Maryland Heights, 636.474.2337, ofallonbrewery.com 

O’Fallon Brewery, among the area’s first craft breweries, has always lacked one crucial element: a tasting room for fans to gather, sample and enjoy. Now in its 15th year, O’Fallon has finally taken the next step – and it’s a big one. The new 40,000-square-foot brewery is full of glass walls and sleek, modern lines befitting its new home in a sea of industrial office complexes near Westport Plaza. In the tasting room, called the O’Bar Grill and Tap Room, 20 taps offer favorites like Zeke’s Pale Ale and Kite Tail. Order a pint or sample a few in a flight of four 5-ounce pours. Food portions are perfect for a lunch or happy-hour crowd; the sauceless baby back ribs are served four bones to an order, each dry-rubbed then grilled and basted with O’Fallon’s Golden Ale for a crispy, flavorful bite. Lighter fare is available, too, like the harvest salad with fresh berries, candied almonds and a Wheach vinaigrette or the grilled beer lime shrimp whose zing comes from marinating in 5-Day IPA, soy sauce and lime juice.

 

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4. Cellar House: 6039 Telegraph Road, Oakville, 314.846.5100, Facebook: Cellar House

South County residents, take note: Date night just got a whole lot closer to home. Cellar House, the companion restaurant connected to Oakville bottle shop Bottle Cellars, boasts an expansive bar program with 240 bottles of wine (and another 20 by-the-glass options), nearly 30 craft brews and a full spirits selection with 45 whiskey options, plus a cocktail menu. Many mixed drinks feature house-infused syrups and liqueurs, like the My Sherry Baby, which combines bourbon, sherry, vermouth and house-made orange-fig syrup before seeing a float of Cointreau. Sharable dishes dominate the menu. We savored the spicy heat of the nduja flatbread, which covers the hot sausage paste with a layer of thinly sliced pears, crunchy pistachios, crumbled blue cheese and a drizzle of honey. Cellar House also offers a trio of juicy free-range bison sliders topped with Marcoot Tipsy Cheddar and a generous smear of house-made tomato-bacon jam.

 

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5. Saint Louis Hop Shop: 2606 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.261.4011, saintlouishopshop.com

A craft beer bottle shop has opened on ever-growing, ever-diverse Cherokee Street. While Saint Louis Hop Shop’s selection of national craft labels is increasing daily, local suds currently dominate the shelves. Among the more than 70 different beers and ciders, you’ll find all the usual suspects from The Lou – 4 Hands, Crown Valley, Perennial, Schlafly, Urban Chestnut and more. Bottled and canned beer is available off-the-shelf or cold from the coolers, and the shop allows – even encourages – the adventurous thirsty to mix and match, creating their own six-packs. While you ponder which suds to bring home, sip beer from one of the four taps behind a bar fashioned by local woodworking boutique Mwanzi. The tasting bar features a rotating selection that includes brews from Civil Life and Modern Brewery.

-Saint Louis Hop Shop photo by Meera Nagarajan, all others by Michelle Volansky 

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