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Nov 25, 2015
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Posts Tagged ‘The Scoop’

The Scoop: Picasso’s Coffee opens second St. Charles location

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015



Picasso’s Coffee hosts the grand opening for its second location at 1650 Beale St., in The Streets of St. Charles today, Nov. 24. The new location is only five minutes from the original shop in historic downtown St. Charles, but it offers a new opportunity for owner Chris Schulte.

“I started Picasso’s first store 13 years ago,” said Schulte. “The coffee industry is so dynamic and changing that this was an opportunity for me to open up Picasso’s a decade later with newer technology and explore the latest trends in the coffee industry.”

The menu is largely the same as the original location with a few updates. Since the new space boasts an oven, the staff is busy creating original pastries like a bread pudding muffin with cranberries. The 40-seat restaurant also allows for a 50-bottle wine selection including 10 available by the glass. Beer and specialty cocktails are also served.

A breakfast menu features a bagel and lox, as well as a veggie scramble with eggs, spinach, feta and sundried tomatoes. Other offerings include pastries baked both in house and brought in from La Bonne Bouchee. Grilled paninis like turkey and Swiss with pesto and red peppers and small plates like house-made bruschetta are available for lunch and dinner.

“We’re a coffee shop first and foremost and the quality of the coffee is important to us,” Schulte said. “We do a lot of things, but we try to do them all well.” He also stressed the shop’s community roots and emphasis on local sourcing, such as its coffee that comes from Goshen Coffee and Chauvin.


The Scoop: Fred and Ricky’s to serve plant-based fare in St. Louis County

Thursday, November 19th, 2015



A plant-based, grab-and-go concept is coming to St. Louis, as Fred and Ricky’s prepares to open in early 2016 in Westport and Creve Coeur.

Kathleen “Fred” Waidmann and husband Ricky Waidmann aim to “make plant-based food that is interesting and satisfying,” said Kathleen Waidmann, who grew up on a farm and has experience in food service. She will serve as chef, preparing a seasonal menu inspired by family recipes. Fred and Ricky’s will feature vegan, plant-based dishes with no added oils like Waidmann’s Plantasagna, a plant-based lasagna, the butternut squash soup and the chocolate pudding.

Fred and Ricky’s will have two locations. The Westport location at 64 Weldon Parkway will have a commissary kitchen and grab-and-go service when it opens in January. A retail location with grab-and-go products and a small, sit-down space with 10 to 15 seats is set to open at 11252 Olive Blvd., in Creve Coeur in early February. Both locations will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. “Ricky is an entrepreneur by spirit, so we’re extremely sensitive to what the market wants,” Waidmann said. “If more people want to spend time sitting in the restaurant to eat, we’ll put in more tables and chairs.”



The Scoop: The Dubliner on Washington Avenue closes

Thursday, November 19th, 2015



After nearly a decade of serving whiskey, beer, burgers and Irish pub fare, The Dubliner poured its last pint Tuesday, Nov. 17. Owner and longtime St. Louis restaurateur Eddie Neill attempted to sell the Washington Avenue gastropub earlier this fall, but when the deal fell through, Neill said he decided to close.

Neill has worked in St. Louis restaurants since he was 14 and has owned a number of area eateries, including Café Provencal. Neill was also among the first St. Louis chefs to advocate locally sourcing in 1982, and his kitchens have made their own sausage and charcuterie for more than two decades. “Us old guys are the last to toot our own horns,” Neill said. “But we do kind of chuckle when we hear restaurants boast about house-made pate. You should be able to make your own pate.”

He is now helping The Dubliner’s 30 employees to find other work. “Rich LoRusso (of LoRusso’s Cucina) is a great guy and is interviewing some of my staff this week,” he said. As for Neill, he said he is pursuing opportunities outside the restaurant industry.


The Scoop: KT Ayers moves to executive chef at Schlafly Bottleworks

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015



The Schlafly Bottleworks kitchen has a new captain at its helm. Chef KT Ayers stepped into the role last Thursday, Nov. 12, after Brandon Keyes departed the Maplewood brewery for The Libertine. “It’s been honeymoon-like,” Ayers said. “I’m jazzed about the professionalism and creativity of all three (Bottleworks) sous chefs. We’re playing off each other really well.”

Ayers’ culinary roots run deep; she grew up in and was eventually sole proprietor of now-shuttered Riddle’s Penultimate Cafe and Wine Bar. She also has experience in the kitchens of Annie Gunn’s and, most recently, The Purple Martin.

Ayers said she looks forward to the opportunities she’ll have as top toque to change some of the menu while “keeping its core and honoring the tradition of locally sourcing high quality ingredients.” To begin, she plans to expand Schlafly’s local sourcing. “There are things we can do right away,” Ayers said. “The daily vegetable offering can change with things we have in our own garden like beets, carrots and spinach. At this time of year, there are also turnips, kale, squash and cabbage available.”

Don’t look for a menu overhaul until early 2016, but do expect to see locally sourced and Bottleworks garden-grown ingredients called out. Ayers will work closely with the bar, too. She recently created a bacon-oatmeal stout barbecue sauce with Schlafly’s Oatmeal Coffee Stout to slather on ribs.



The Scoop: Big Baby Q and Smokehouse to fire up the smokers in Maryland Heights

Thursday, November 12th, 2015



Former Brandt’s Café and The Stable chef Ben Welch is breaking into the St. Louis barbecue scene. Big Baby Q and Smokehouse, located at 11658 Dorsett Road in Maryland Heights, is set to open in early 2016.

This is Welch’s first restaurant, and he is taking on the venture alongside his father, Bennie Welch. “It’s just a father-and-son barbecue project,” said Welch. He will serve as pitmaster and his father, a native of St. Louis with a background in industrial design, will serve as the barbecue joint’s general manager.

“We want to continue the tradition of great barbecue here in St. Louis, and we want you to really experience the love we put into smoking the meats,” Welch said.

The menu will offer Memphis-style barbecue classics like dry-rubbed smoked brisket, turkey and pulled pork plates and sandwiches alongside more unusual items like pastrami, beer-braised corned beef and pork steak. Sauces will be served on the side.

Six sides will be on offer – three cold and three hot, including meat-laced greens. The dessert menu will include dishes like sweet potato pound cake and banana pudding. Seating will be limited as Big Baby Q’s will focus on carryout and the corporate catering market.



The Scoop: Sugarfire’s Mike Johnson takes third in Bacon World Championship

Monday, November 9th, 2015



Sugarfire Smoke House chef and co-owner Mike Johnson took third place in the bacon category at the World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Florida on Saturday, Nov. 7.

Johnson competed against 50 chefs hailing from around the world in a three-round bacon-off. Johnson’s first entry was a bacon taco featuring a shell fashioned from smoked bacon and filled with bacon fat-poached lobster and corn relish. Next up was a dumpling dish with pork belly in a bacon consommé with dumplings made from dehydrated and powdered bacon mixed with flour. Finally, Johnson served a bacon-encrusted red snapper smoked on a cedar plank.

Johnson won $1,500 for his creative bacon dishes. He came in fifth place at the same event in 2014 and plans to return next year and bring home the top prize. “It’s about street cred at this point,” said Johnson. “I’m working for the title of Bacon World Champion.”



The Scoop: Third location of Three Kings Public House to open in South County

Friday, November 6th, 2015



South County residents and movie buffs can grab a pint before catching a flick next year when Three Kings Public House opens its third location at 30 and 40 Ronnie’s Plaza in the complex by Wehrenberg Ronnie’s 20 Cine. Doors are expected to open in spring 2016.

“There are a lot of corporate restaurants in that area, but not a lot of independents,” said co-owner Derek Deavers. “We’ll be able to offer things that the corporate restaurants can’t.”

Among those offerings will be a private space and an upgraded menu. Renovations will turn a former Kennelwood Pet Resort and an office space into 4,000 square feet of dining and drinking. A planned 900-square-foot party room will open on a patio that will be created by reclaiming parking spots. That patio will feature a bar and 140 seats.

Three Kings opened its second location in Des Peres a year ago. Deavers said its success inspired them to “strike while the iron is hot,” adding that if that iron stays hot, they hope to open another five to six locations in the next few years.

The menu at the original University City and Des Peres locations are being revised this fall, and when the South County pub opens its doors in March, its menu and bar program will be consistent with its sister locations. Look for around 30 beers on tap, plus seasonal cocktails and a late-night happy hour.



The Scoop: Gerard Craft to open second Pastaria in Nashville

Friday, November 6th, 2015



Niche Food Group chef-owner Gerard Craft announced today, Nov. 6, that he will open a second location of his Italian eatery Pastaria in Nashville in summer 2016. This will be Craft’s sixth restaurant and his first outside of the St. Louis area.

Craft said he has been looking for the right expansion opportunity for two years. “Our company is growing, and it’s been ready to expand, but we want to make sure we’re taking the right steps and growing with the right people,” he said. “We’re been spending a little more time (in Nashville) … and (the west end) seems like an area that had a lot of potential.”

Craft is dispatching St. Louis talent to helm the Nashville kitchen; Josh Poletti will take on the role of executive chef. Poletti was a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2014 and joined the Niche Food Group team earlier this year.

The Nashville location at 8 C1TY Blvd., will feature a similar menu of house-made fresh pastas, sauces and wood-fired pizzas as the Clayton location. Grab-and-go options like jarred sauce, gelato and dried pasta will also be available.

At home in The Lou, the James Beard Award-winning chef is putting the finishing touches on Porano, his fast-casual Italian concept set to open downtown at 634 Washington Ave. Craft said he hopes to host a soft open for that restaurant in late November or early December.


-photo by Ashley Gieseking


The Scoop: The Cabin at Judy Creek to see new life in Glen Carbon

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015



Standing at the corner of Illinois State Routes 157 and 162 in Glen Carbon is a building that has been a grocery store, a brothel and a down-and-dirty saloon over the years. Pending inspections, it will see its next life as The Cabin at Judy Creek, as reported by the Riverfront Times. The new bar is set to open at 3730 S. State Route 157 in mid-November.

Industry veteran Justin Pickering has been working with his father to renovate the space. The project quickly turned from a $40,000 facelift to a $100,000 overhaul, including all new electric and plumbing systems. For Pickering, who helped open Social Gastropub and managed downtown restaurants for years, it has been well worth it.

“I worked in downtown (St. Louis), so I didn’t hang out there,” Pickering said. “I hung out at the Judy Inn. It was a local watering hole and was around the corner from my house.”

Pairing sentimental attachment to The Judy Inn with his desire to attract a different clientele, Pickering has renovated the interior, changed the drink menu and added a food menu. However, he was clear that The Cabin at Judy Creek is not a restaurant but “a bar that serves food.”

Seven of the 10 draft beers will feature local breweries from both sides of the river like Schlafly and Old Bakery Beer. Canned domestics brews will be available on the cheap; think $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon and Busch Light, the cans of which will be recycled and proceeds donated to local nonprofits. The cocktail menu will consist of classic libations like Manhattans with a few infused offerings.

To soak up the booze, Pickering will man the kitchen and serve a grilled cheese-focused menu. Look for sandwiches from a basic American cheese variety to the My Nolan, named for his son and starring brie, apples, peanut butter and honey. Also on the menu will be French bread-style pizzas and occasionally smoked chicken and pork. “I like being the boss,” said Pickering. “I don’t have to ask if adding a new menu item is OK.”



The Scoop: Slide Piece food truck to serve sliders downtown

Monday, November 2nd, 2015



Slide Piece, the latest in a slew of new food trucks, aims to fire up the engine and serve sliders in downtown St. Louis by Monday, Nov. 9, pending inspections. Behind the wheel and the counter will be Tommy Lee, who most recently was the general manager at a restaurant in Denver, Colorado. A St. Louis native, Lee said he felt the time was right to return home to be closer to family and strike out on his own.

Breaking from family tradition – his sister is Katie Lee Collier of Katie’s Pizza & Pasta – Lee opted for a food truck for the flexibility it offers over a brick and mortar. “There’s more to a food truck than a means to a brick and mortar,” Lee said. “We want to use it to its full potential and be able to adapt to the environment and clientele as we go.”

To start, Slide Piece will serve a variety of house-crafted patties served on buns from Breadsmith. Beef, crispy tofu, smoked salmon and pork steak slider options are all in the works. Lee plans to pair the proteins with different flavor profiles like lamb with traditional mint, garlic and yogurt, and pork steak with Vietnamese-inspired flavors.

No burger is complete without sides; Lee plans to offer fries, wasabi fried pickles, crispy green beans and possibly tater tots. Follow the new truck on Twitter @slidepiecestl for location information when it hits the streets.





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