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Mar 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Rob Uyemura’

The Scoop: Local restaurants participate, support A Day Without Immigrants protest

Thursday, February 16th, 2017


{ from left, Nixta executive chef Tello Carreón and owner Ben Poremba } 


Across the country today, Feb. 16, people stayed home from work and school or did not shop or eat out in support of A Day Without Immigrants, a protest against current U.S. immigration policy. Participants meant to illustrate the importance of immigrants in American society.

Chefs around the country donated a portion of their revenues to support immigration organizations or closed their eateries entirely, like José Andrés in Washington D.C. and Rick Bayless in Chicago. Locally, a handful of area restaurants did the same.

Chef and restaurateur Ben Poremba decided to close Nixta, his new Mexican eatery, as reported by the Riverfront Times. Poremba said many of his staff had expressed a desire to take the day off to participate.

“I’m not trying to be a pioneer,” he said. “I just respected that some of the guys wanted a day to be heard without worrying about losing their job or having some consequences. I didn’t want to be on the fence.”

Cherokee Station Special Business District liaison Anne McCullough said most of the immigrant-owned businesses on Cherokee closed today. “More than 20 percent of the businesses and properties on Cherokee Street are immigrant-owned,” she said.



{ Local Chef Kitchen chef-owner Rob Uyemura } 


Local Chef Kitchen chef-owner Rob Uyemura also shut the doors at his Ballwin Restaurant for the day. “In 25 years in the restaurant business, I’ve worked with a lot of immigrants,” said Uyemura, whose family immigrated to the U.S. “They get labeled as criminals and illegals, and that’s wrong.”

Other restaurants remain open, but are donating a portion of their proceeds to nonprofits. Demun Oyster Bar general manager Tom Halaska said his bar, as well as sister restaurants Sasha’s Wine Bars and Scarlett’s Wine Bar, will donate 50 percent of the day’s proceeds to the International Institute St. Louis.

Halaska said it was important to recognize the many immigrants who participate in the restaurant industry and in society. With immigration policy currently in the national spotlight, he said this was a good opportunity to celebrate immigrants.

“This is a way for us as a restaurant group to show respect and compassion for what’s going on in the country,” Halaska said.


Catherine Klene contributed to this report.

Nixta photo by Carmen Troesser


First Look: Local Chef Kitchen in Ballwin

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016



Ballwin residents can now grab a bite and pick up locally sourced produce, meat, dairy, eggs and more at Local Chef Kitchen at 15270 Manchester Road. As The Scoop reported in January, chef-owner Rob Uyemura announced he planned to add a restaurant and market component to his Local Chef CSA, which opened the first week of March.

The 30-seat, counter-service restaurant  features a meat-and-three-style menu with Midwest focus. Dishes like Salisbury meatballs, a bone-in grilled ham chop or Mayfair kale salad are reminiscent of dishes your grandma made, but with a professional touch. Customers can also build their own salads or sandwiches for a smaller meal.

Uyemura and sous chef Patrick Hartman are taking a nose-to-tail approach to Local Chef, butchering animals in-house and utilizing each part. This results in a frequently rotating menu; recent offerings included proteins like cornmeal-dusted catfish or a sweet potato-kale vegetable patty and sides like mac and cheese made with a squash puree and brown rice pilaf. On the sweet side, pastry chef Cheryl Herbert bakes a rotating selection of sweet treats like cookies and cakes and pies available by the slice, as well as daily house-baked bread.

When paying for their meals, customers can also pluck local Excel sodas from the cooler, as well as frozen loaves of Herbert’s bread, local eggs, cheese from Marcoot Jersey Creamery and meat from Geisert Farms. Uyemura said he also will add local beer to the cases pending liquor license approval.

Local Chef Kitchen is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Here’s a first look at what to expect at Ballwin’s newest restaurant:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 



The Scoop: Local Chef Kitchen to open in Ballwin

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016



Chef Rob Uyemura is adding a restaurant component to his Ballwin CSA at the end of January. Local Chef Kitchen is set to open doors at 15270 Manchester Road, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

Uyemura (most recently of YaYa’s) has operated his CSA and a farm-to-school lunch program with Chesterfield Montessori School since 2012. The CSA and lunch program will all operate under the Local Chef Kitchen name. “I wanted to find a location that was close to my house, but it’s also nice to be able to bring quality food to Ballwin,” Uyemura said.

Uyemura said Local Chef Kitchen’s fast-casual concept aims to offer quality, healthy meals daily. “I wanted to make this food accessible, but good, for people, like if Chipotle were organic,” he said. Uyemura plans to source local organic produce and proteins when possible, and to supplement his inventory with produce he grows himself.

Local Chef Kitchen will feature a limited breakfast and a lunch counter offering a “meat and three” as well as an entree salad. Focusing on Midwestern cuisine, customers can expect seasonal rotations of vegetables, as well as pork, beef or chicken preparations. Daytime diners can grab one of 30 seats inside Local Chef Kitchen, while the rush hour crowd can pick up prepared dinner options on the way home.

Pastry chef Cheryl Herbert will bake sweet treats like pies, cookies, granola bars and eventually serve house-made ice cream. Uyemura also hopes to offer prix-fixe farm dinners and cooking classes.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 4:15 p.m. Jan. 14 to clarify the use of organic produce at Local Chef Kitchen.  

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