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Aug 30, 2015
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Posts Tagged ‘The Scoop’

The Scoop: New bottle shop, Cork & Rind, to open in St. Charles

Friday, August 28th, 2015




A new boutique bottle shop is coming to St. Charles. Cork & Rind is opening in the 1,060-square-foot space at 555 First Capitol Drive. Manager Ben Wood said owners Michael and Elizabeth Kinney both grew up in St. Charles and saw an unfulfilled need for this kind of retail in the area.

Wood aims to carefully curate Cork & Rind’s selection of artisan and natural wines such as Theresa Airen and Feudo di Santa Tresa Frappato. “We can tell you the name of the person who made the wine in pretty much every case,” he said. Look also for local craft beer, many of which will lean toward sour with wild fermentation, as well as select spirits and small-batch cheese.

Wood will also offer monthly wine classes like Wine 101, along with periodic specialty classes such as an introduction to French wine.

Cork & Rind will host a soft opening in early September and a grand opening Sept. 18. Regular hours will be Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The Scoop: Michael David Murphy named beverage director at Bar Italia

Friday, August 28th, 2015



On the heels of Brandon Kerne’s departure, Bar Italia has found a replacement for its now-vacant beverage directorship: Michael David Murphy, who oversaw the beverage program at Gerard Craft’s empire of restaurants, will fill Kerne’s shoes beginning this week.

“This is a really exciting opportunity,” Murphy said, citing the more than 600 bottles now amassed in Bar Italia’s wine library. “The cellar runs deep. There’s not many places in St. Louis that you can go to have wine that is correctly aged and served in its prime for $60 to $70.”

Murphy worked with Robust Wine Bar before managing sommeliers and bartenders at Niche Food Group for the past two and a half years. Under Murphy’s watch, Craft’s Niche earned a spot among Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants in 2013. He will continue to flex his sommelier muscles in his position at Bar Italia.

“This really is, from a sommelier’s perspective, a dream. Brandon did a phenomenal job elevating this into a prestigious program,” Murphy said. He plans to broaden the regional representation of the wine list and continue to evolve the 30-year-old restaurant’s monthly wine dinner program. Yet for the most part, he said, he just wants to keep an already flourishing program going strong.

Mengesha Yohannes, co-owner of Bar Italia, said Murphy’s laidback approach to beverage service differs from Kerne’s, but is no less apt. “He’s very quiet, but there’s a lot of substance,” Yohannes said. “Every time I have a chat with him, I’m always surprised, the hidden passions boiling under the surface. He’s very, very engaging and has a deep passion that comes out in surprising ways. More of a Zen master approach.”

Kerne, who worked with Murphy for several months before his departure to facilitate the transition, was equally enthusiastic. “I cannot recommend (Michael) enough as a professional,” Kerne said. “He is undoubtedly one of the top talents in the city.”





The Scoop: Edibles & Essentials to open in St. Louis Hills

Thursday, August 27th, 2015




St. Louis Hills will soon see the opening of Edibles & Essentials, a counter service cafe and market at 5815 Hampton Ave. Chef-owner Matthew Borchardt said the 1,600-square-foot space will include an artisan market and a counter-service cafe showcasing dishes from around the world.

Borchardt most recently served as a consulting chef for Taze Mediterranean Street Food, along with previous roles at Cafe Provencal, Frazer’s Restaurant & Lounge and a program director position at L’Ecole Culinaire. For his first independent venture, Borchard is opening his shop on home turf.

“My wife and I met as next-door neighbors in Clifton Heights. My parents’ house was in the Lindenwood Park area right up the street from Mom’s Deli. I love the St. Louis Hills area,” Borchardt said.

On the market side, Edibles & Essentials will offer a variety of imported and locally sourced goods including oils and vinegars, breads, cheeses, wine and spirits, spices, cured meats, cookbooks, cookware, kitchen utensils and kitchen gadgets. A small butcher counter will also feature a selection of hand-cut steaks, chops and seafood.

The cafe will feature globally inspired cuisine and fresh, seasonal ingredients. Standard menu items will include small plates like french fries, sauteed spinach or crab cakes and larger entrees such as a roasted pork sandwich and grilled meats. The menu will also feature charcuterie boards paired with jams, jellies, cheeses, pickles and breads. Both international and local bottled brews and wines by the glass or bottle will also be available for customers. Borchardt hopes to seat 20 inside and an additional 30 under a covered courtyard.





The Scoop: Lumiere Place reopens Sundeckers downtown

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015




Less than a year after closing its doors for good, Sundeckers Bar & Grill has reopened on The Landing under new ownership.

Lumiere Place purchased the property and several blocks around it a few years ago and decided to reopen the casual downtown bar and grill this summer. Though no longer involved, the former owner struck a deal with Lumiere that allowed them to keep the name, according to manager Branko Popovic. “We actually opened two weeks ago with a liquor license. We opened about a month ago just for lunch because we were waiting on the liquor license,” Popovic said.

Sundeckers is also currently looking for a new brewing home for its signature beer, Bases Loaded, after its former collaborators closed up shop, but they’ll continue to feature local and national options. “We have, obviously, Schlafly, Fat Tire. We have a Budweiser, Shock Top, Goose Island IPA, and we’re looking at a couple other small breweries,” Popovic said.

The menu has also undergone some changes. Sundecker’s ever-popular half-pound burger remains a menu staple, and Popovic estimates that the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich is the second most popular item.

The property got a bit of a facelift prior to reopening, receiving a new kitchen and some cosmetic updates and additional TVs. One thing that absolutely wasn’t touched, however, is the historic bar. There are more renovation plans in the mix – Popovic said that the hope is to have the back patio completely redone either by the end of this year or early next spring.

The Scoop: Josh Charles is named executive chef at Element

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015


{From left, Josh Charles and fellow Ones to Watch alum John Fausz}

Area rising star Josh Charles has just landed his first exec chef gig. Beginning Sept. 1, Charles will helm the kitchen at Element.

For the last three years, Charles, a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2014, has worked at restaurateur Ben Poremba’s Elaia, where he quickly climbed from garde manger to chef de cuisine. Charles announced he planned to leave Poremba’s restaurant group earlier this month, but his next move had not been determined.

“(Element) owners Carol and Stacy Hastie had seen that I didn’t have a landing zone yet. They called. We sat down and talked about it. It seemed like a good fit,” Charles said. He was impressed by the restaurant’s design, and as an avid rock climber, he appreciated the restaurant’s close proximity to Climb So Ill, a climbing facility in the same building.

Charles said he will have full autonomy in the kitchen, unlike when Element first opened in fall 2013 and multiple chefs collaborated. “They are leaving it in my hands to decide the menu,” he said. “I’ll still do comfort food, but expand on it a bit. I want to use the flavors from across the world to really define comfort food.”

Look for a new dinner menu to launch the second week of September and a revamped lunch menu to follow soon after. Charles also anticipates adding a separate bar menu.

Element co-owner Carol Hastie was not immediately available for comment.

-photo by Carmen Troesser



The Scoop: The Garden on Grand to open this fall

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015



{Chef Kore Wilbert and his children}


South Grand will welcome its newest eatery this fall when The Garden on Grand, a progressive, fresh dining restaurant serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner opens its doors at 2245 S. Grand Blvd. Hoping to appeal as much to the neighborhood as to the health conscious, chef Kore Wilbert will put organic, locally grown ingredients into meals for vegetarians and meat lovers alike.

“You can serve things like pork that aren’t traditionally considered healthy, but in the right portion size and paired with something healthy, you can have balance,” said Wilbert who came aboard eight months ago after serving as executive sous chef at DePaul Health Center.

Owner Cevin Lee was inspired to open the restaurant following his own journey into “raw, almost vegan” eating, which he said all but freed him from debilitating arthritis pain. “In three months of going cold turkey, I was basically able to get my immune system back to normal. It’s a lifestyle commitment and removing things from your body that shouldn’t be there and putting things in that your body needs,” said Lee whose family has owned neighboring Hong Kong Express for nearly 25 years.

Drawing on Lee’s Asian heritage and Wilbert’s affinity for Mediterranean cuisine, the menu is shaping up to be a house take on a variety of international classics like chop suey-style dishes, bahn mi and assorted Italian dishes. “We’re trying to do dishes that will please the neighborhood but are also healthy and wholesome,” Wilbert said.

Some of those wholesome ingredients include locally sourced produce including heirloom zucchini and zucchini blossoms, which will be grown specifically for The Garden on Grand. The restaurant will also include a fresh juice bar and will seat up to 55 diners.

Editor’s note: This post was updated Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. with the correct name of The Garden on Grand and an additional quote from owner Cevin Lee. 

-photo by Ashley Gieseking


The Scoop: St. Louis Kolache to open in Creve Coeur

Monday, August 24th, 2015




Hand pies have long been a staple of the working man’s diet. Witness northern Michigan’s pasty, Italy’s calzone and Latin America’s empanada. Russ Clark is bringing the Eastern European version, the kolache, to 1300 N. Lindbergh Blvd., in Creve Coeur, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

When it opens at the end of September, St. Louis Kolache will be the only independently owned kolache shop in the St. Louis area and will offer around 30 different fillings all wrapped up in a slightly sweet pastry. “We can be creative and do a lot of interesting things,” Clark said. “We’re looking forward to that.”

These creations will include savory selections like house-smoked pulled pork; brisket; pastrami and Swiss; and smoked salmon with capers and creamed peas. On the sweeter side, St. Louis Kolache will offer fruit flavors like a cherry and cream cheese creation and the Chocolate Elvis filled with banana, bacon and Nutella.

Clark, who also owns Total Catering and a Cecil Whittaker’s franchise, brought pastry chef Scott Walker on to help man the kitchen. The dining room will seat between 12 and 16 with additional outdoor seating available. The shop will be open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Scoop: Mellow Mushroom to open first Missouri location in Sunset Hills

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015




Positive pizza vibes will be moving and grooving into Sunset Hills come March 2016, with Mellow Mushroom set to open its first Missouri location at 3811 S. Lindbergh Blvd., in the space formerly occupied by Growlers Pub, as reported by the St. Louis Business Journal. The Sunset Hills location is still in the early stages of development with only demolition permits submitted thus far, according to Trish Moore, Sunset Hills assistant zoning officer.

The Atlanta-based pizza chain currently has more than 100 locations. Standard menus consist of both specialty and customizable pizzas, calzones and salads along with an assortment of hoagies and appetizer-like “munchies.”

This will be the first Mellow Mushroom location in Missouri, owned by four St. Louis-area residents. “Mellow Mushroom has been slowly coming up to the north,” said spokesperson Mindi Sachs. “For the past 40 years, most locations have been in the South, but hand-tossed, stone-baked Southern pizza is becoming more recognized on a national level.”

Sachs said the franchises often form partnerships with local purveyors. “Every Mellow location focuses on using local ingredients,” she said. “From the pizza ingredients to the beer selection, people can expect to see plenty of locally sourced options on the Missouri menu.”

Editor’s Note: This article was updated Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. to remove the name of the owner, per his request. 

The Scoop: Chris Bork, Mud House owners to open Vista Ramen on Cherokee

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015



Seeing an opportunity to add an Asian restaurant to the eclectic food scene on Cherokee Street, Chris Bork, formerly executive chef at Blood & Sand, plans to open Vista Ramen with Jeremy and Casey Miller, owners of The Mud House.

Located at 2609 Cherokee St., the restaurant will offer ramen and other Asian-inspired dishes, although Bork is keeping the menu a secret for now.

The chef said he hoped to open “the restaurant of my dreams” after leaving Blood & Sand in December 2013, but the concept he had in mind proved to be too expensive. But having previously worked at the Mud House and missing the “tight-knit community” of Cherokee Street, he jumped at the chance to open a “super casual” restaurant with the Millers.

While he can’t discuss menu details, Bork said the food will feature Asian flavors and he plans to keep prices less than $15. He and the Millers plan to preview the Vista menu at pop-ups The Mud House and Maryland House in Central West End.

In additional to ramen, Bork said Vista will offer sake, Korean and Japanese soju, Japanese whiskey, and Asian and local beers.

Aaron Stovall, manager of the Mud House, will be general manager at the new restaurant, which will only serve dinner at first. Bork said he doesn’t yet have a projected timeline for when Vista will open.

Executive editor Ligaya Figueras to leave St. Louis and Sauce Magazine

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Searzall Demonstration


{From left, Niche Food Group chef-owner Gerard Craft and Sauce executive editor Ligaya Figueras}


Sauce executive editor Ligaya Figueras will join the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as its food and dining editor in September. Her last day at the magazine is Aug. 28.

Figueras joined the Sauce editorial team in 2008 as a contributing writer. In 2011, she was hired as the magazine’s senior staff writer before being promoted to executive editor in 2013.

“The decision to leave Sauce and St. Louis was difficult,” Figueras said. “I believe strongly in the high bar that Sauce sets for food writing, equaling the best in the country. During my tenure, I’ve experienced incredible support from Sauce founder and publisher, Allyson Mace, who has spearheaded awareness of St. Louis’ culinary scene. I’ve also been fortunate to cover this city during a period of intense growth. Without the contributions of many individuals, we couldn’t fill the pages of this independent publication.”

Mace acknowledged Figueras’ more than seven years of dedication to Sauce and the St. Louis culinary community. “Ligaya’s leadership and vision have been instrumental to the magazine. We’re sorry to see her leave, but we wish her all the best as she continues her career. As Sauce enters its 15th year as a print publication, I’m confident that our dedicated team will continue to uphold the high journalistic standards that St. Louis has come to expect from Sauce Magazine.”

Sauce is currently conducting a candidate search for an executive editor. “I have full confidence in Sauce’s team of award-winning editors, writers and photographers,” Mace said. “Their years of journalism experience, culinary knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for the St. Louis dining scene will open another chapter of growth and innovation.”


-photo by Jonathan Gayman

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