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Oct 02, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘The Scoop’

The Scoop: Breakfast is focus at soon-to-open Cabana on The Loop

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014


{From left, Cabana in The Loop owners Latoshia “Hope” Morrow, Wendell Bryant and head chef and general manager Nicole Griffin}


Cabana on The Loop is about to unlock doors as soon as this Saturday, Oct. 4, at 6100 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop. Situated at the corner of Rosedale Avenue in the space most recently occupied by Horseshoe House, Cabana on The Loop will offer American cuisine rooted in Southern cookery. The eatery will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily – the latter by reservation only – but the focus will be on morning fare.

The restaurant is a project by husband-and-wife team Wendell Bryant and Latoshia “Hope” Morrow. “We always wanted a family restaurant,” Bryant said. Cabana on The Loop will indeed be a family affair; Bryant’s cousin Nicole Griffin will take on the dual role of directing kitchen operations and managing the restaurant. A graduate of L’Ecole Culinaire, Griffin helped open Southern-inspired SoHo in The Grove in 2012. After a culinary stint in Phoenix, she returned to St. Louis to manage the downtown location of Rib Shack and run her own private catering company.



{The cereal bar at Cabana in The Loop will feature 20 cereals displayed in dispensers around the bar.}


At Cabana in The Loop, Griffin will return to a down-home cooking style similar to that from her yearlong tenure at SoHo, including shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy and chicken and waffles. Look also for a number of omelets, such as the Soul Food Omelet that features collard greens and smothered turkey. Morning mainstays like pancakes are on the menu, as is build-your-own French toast. If diving into a bowl of cereal is your wake-me-up meal, Cabana in The Loop will open your eyes with its cereal bar, featuring 20 varieties behind the bar. Customers can add toppings such as chocolate chips, M&Ms or pecans. “It’s something different that The Loop doesn’t have,” Griffin said.



 {Cabana in The Loop’s shrimp and grits are plated with crisp turkey bacon.}

Lunch items include a few salads with house-made dressings, appetizers like honey-glazed onions, and a variety of chicken wings, sandwiches, burgers and wraps. When dinner service is added, that menu will change weekly. Cabana in The Loop will not serve alcohol. The new eatery’s initial hours of operation will 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Its tropical name comes not from the cuisine, Bryant said, but from a longing for an unfulfilled island getaway. “We wanted to take a vacation for so long, but we can’t do it,” he said, adding that besides opening a restaurant, the couple is expecting their third child in November.


-photos by Michelle Volanksy






The Scoop: Parker’s Table amps up specialty food focus with new staff

Monday, September 29th, 2014



Customers at Parker’s Table have long enjoyed the artisan food offerings that owner Jon Parker carries at his Richmond Heights boutique wine shop, from dried bulk pastas to fine cheese and specialty European condiments. Now, a recent addition to the staff is set to bring patrons even more options when shopping at 7118 Oakland Ave.

New shop manager Karl Runge joined the crew at Parker’s Table earlier this month. Runge comes from Whole Foods Market, where he worked as specialty team leader for wine, beer and cheese for more than a decade, most recently at the Whole Foods location in Brentwood. Prior to that, Runge lived in Richmond, Virginia, working for retailers similar to his new employer.

“It’s in my roots to work at a place like Parker’s Table,” Runge said. “My duties are going to revolve around the cheese case and food selection in the shop. We’ll be bringing on lots of fun, new products. The shop has expanded over the years. We have more room to bring in new stuff from local producers and from further afield. We want to round out the fact that we have a great wine selection with food.”

Runge will also draw on his knowledge of specialty food in the coming months as Parker’s Table prepares to open a kitchen. The Scoop reported in January that Parker’s Table would add a bakery component to the business; Runge said the bakery is still a question mark, but the shop’s full kitchen will offer a daily lunch menu featuring many of the same ingredients sold on its shelves. “It will be more grab-and-go than a dining area or cafe,” he said. Look for lunchtime fare to roll out in January 2015.


Drink This Weekend Edition: Oregon’s Bounty

Thursday, September 25th, 2014



As summer berries turn to fall apples and pears, I like to adjust simple, classic cocktails to introduce fall’s best flavors. This Oregon’s Bounty is a take on a classic Tom Collins. I’ve adapted the recipe to use Ransom Old Tom gin; it’s malty base and crisp herbal notes create a richer mouth feel than its sister, London Dry. It also pairs well with pear liqueur and a homemade honey syrup. This cocktail gets its name from the use of Ransom and Clear Creek spirits, two Oregon-based distilleries; both the gin and the pear liqueur are available at Lukas Liquor.

Oregon’s Bounty
1 serving

1 cup honey
½ cup hot water
1 oz. Ransom Old Tom gin
1 oz. Clear Creek Pear Liqueur
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
Lemon twist for garnish
Thyme sprig for garnish

•In a small bowl, stir together the honey and hot water until dissolved to create a honey syrup.
• To a Boston shaker, add ½ ounce honey syrup, the gin, pear liqueur and lemon juice. Add ice and shake briefly. Strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with the lemon twist and thyme sprig.
• Store the remaining honey syrup, refrigerated, up to 1 month.

Justin Cardwell is a member of USBG St. Louis and general manager at BC’s Kitchen.

The Scoop: Racanelli’s New York Pizzeria to open fifth location in The Loop

Thursday, September 25th, 2014


{Racanelli’s owner John Racanelli}


A slice of the Big Apple is coming to the Delmar Loop thanks to John Racanelli, owner of Racanelli’s New York Pizzeria, who will open his fifth storefront at 6314 Delmar Blvd., in November.

Racanelli learned the art of pizza-making growing up in an Italian neighborhood in the Bronx. “I learned to make pizza the old-fashioned way,” he said. “We make everything from scratch using the best products.” His brothers, Vito and Sam Racanelli, were also inspired by their food-oriented Italian upbringing, opening Onesto Pizza & Trattoria in South City and later Mad Tomato in Clayton, which is still owned and operated by Vito Racanelli.

The first Racanelli’s Pizzeria storefront was opened two decades ago in University City, which was later transformed into Market Pub House in 2010 and is still owned by John Racanelli.

The menu will remain consistent with the offerings found at the Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Central West End and St. Peters locations. While slices of hand-tossed, New York-style pizzas are the house specialty (Racanelli’s personal favorite: sausage, mushroom and jalapeno with extra cheese, cooked well-done), other crowd-pleasers include parmigiana heroes topped with a generous ladle of fresh tomato sauce, sandwiches on house-baked focaccia and house-made calzones and strombolis.

Construction crews began work on the new storefront in mid-September in the space that formerly housed the vintage designer clothing shop, Timeless Authentic Garments. Racanelli expects two dozen seats inside and an additional 10 to 15 seats outside. The new location will also offer dine-in, carryout and delivery.


The Scoop: Homebrew shop Design 2 Brew opens in O’Fallon, Missouri

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014



St. Charles County homebrewers have a new resource in O’Fallon, Missouri with the recent opening of Design 2 Brew at 9995 Winghaven Blvd., whether they’re searching for hops, equipment or even honey for mead-making.

Stephanie Drilling, who co-owns the shop with her husband Donnell Christian, opened the education-based homebrew shop Aug. 29. Design to brew offers 90 varieties of hops, 80 types of grains and 26 honeys, and instructors also teach classes in winemaking and brewing with topics like all-grain brewing, cider-making, wine tasting and water chemistry.

Patrons can brew their own beer on site or bring in their basement brews to be inspected for contaminants in the facility’s lab. Eight house-made draft beers are available for sampling, and Drilling and Christian make similar recipes available for new brewers to recreate those varieties.

Drilling is especially proud of Design 2 Brew’s honey selection, which includes honey from bees that feasted in peach orchards, coffee blossoms and blueberry farms across the world, creating distinct aromas and flavor profiles that translate into tasty meads.

Longtime entrepreneurs, Drilling and Christian are making a major change. They operated a forensic lab consulting business together for two decades, and the two started brewing their own cider about 18 months ago. They quickly became engrossed in their new hobby, moving onto making mead, fruit wines and then beer. “To create something that tastes so good, it’s a fascinating process,” Drilling said. “It’s an addicting hobby.”

Design 2 Brew is currently open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and Sundays, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays.




The Scoop: Leonardo’s Kitchen and Wine Bar to open on The Hill

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014



For more than 20 years, Rich and Terri LoRusso have owned and operated LoRusso’s Cucina in the Clifton Heights neighborhood. Now they are headed back to their roots as they prepare to open Leonardo’s Kitchen and Wine Bar, a neighborhood eatery, in an old gas station turned pizzeria at 2130 Macklind Ave., on The Hill. Named after their 2-year-old grandson, Rich LoRusso said his aim is to create a place that attracts locals hungry for a slice of pizza, as well as those looking to sample an intimate but interesting array of imported Italian wines.

“I grew up here,” LoRusso said. “You don’t forget where you came from. I want this to be a neighborhood joint where people come more to eat than dine. Don’t look for truffles on the menu.”

What you can look for on the menu is a casual variety of hand-tossed pizzas, sandwiches, possibly some fried chicken, and of course, toasted ravioli for the lunch crowd. Appetizers and small plates such as marinated olives and specialty personal pizzas will be served in the evening. LoRusso is involved in planning the menu and will maintain a presence in the kitchen, but he is working to add additional staff to further develop the menu.

The bar will feature Italian wines (eight red and eight white), local craft beers and a light, but full bar. LoRusso plans to host wine tastings on Saturdays and has his eye on using the ample outdoor space for a farmers market next spring. Until then, the outdoor space will seat up to 40 while the interior will seat around 25.

LoRusso hopes to begin serving food the week of Oct. 6  as he awaits his liquor license approval. Leonardo’s will be open Monday through Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 9 or 10 p.m.

“I grew up a block from (Leonardo’s Kitchen and Wine Bar),” LoRusso said. “I want this to be a whole neighborhood experience. The way the Hill is supposed to be.”


The Scoop: Hydroponic gardening shop opens in Overland

Thursday, September 18th, 2014



Don and Heather Willman, co-owners of Advanced Garden Supply in Jefferson City, have opened their second shop Sept. 2 at 2126 Woodson Road in Overland. They’re aiming to provide customers with the essentials to grow their own healthy garden with a hydroponic twist.

Hydro-what? The difference is in the soil – or lack thereof. Hydroponic, literally “working water” gardening, utilizes nutrient-packed water to raise crops. These plants grow suspended above nutrient-enhanced water, as their roots grow freely in the liquid underneath. “You get all kinds of weather (in Missouri), from hot and dry, to wet and soggy,” Don Willman said. “When you grow a garden inside on a water-based system, your possibilities are unlimited … Instead of working with soil, water is the main delivery system for getting all the nutrients needed.”

The Willmans, both longtime hydroponic farmers, have grown a variety of vegetation from shiitake mushrooms to banana plants. Advanced Garden Supply sells plant nutrients, LED lighting and other tools necessary to successfully grow hydroponic gardens at home.

Willman chose the St. Louis area after witnessing a growth of hydroponic gardening in the city. “There are all kinds of people getting into it right here in the St. Louis community,” he said, including rooftop gardeners, professional farmers and novice gardeners.

Advanced Gardening Supply is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.



The Scoop: Blind Tiger in Maplewood to close this week

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014



After almost a year in business, Maplewood’s Blind Tiger will close its doors for good on Thursday, Sept. 18 or Friday, Sept. 19. The closure was first reported by 40 South News.

“It was just a perfect storm, and we had to close,” said owner Mike McLaughlin, citing strategic mistakes and bad luck including a break-in and robbery in late August. Blind Tiger opened in December 2013 at 7376 Manchester Blvd., and featured a wide selection of whiskey and New York-style pizzas.

Blind Tiger chef Jackson Noon will move just down the block to McLaughlin’s other restaurant, The Crow’s Nest, where he will turn his attention to updating its food offerings. McLaughlin said the new menu will “be a more creative take on what we’re already doing. We want to use the best quality stuff we can.” Fans of Blind Tiger’s barrel-aged cocktails can still get their fix at The Crow’s Nest; those drinks will find their way over to that bar, too.

-photo by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Two restaurants heralding breakfast open quietly this summer

Thursday, September 11th, 2014


{Belgian waffles with berry compote at County Seat Cafe}

Jonesing for a shortstack at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday? Two new restaurants can both sate your craving, whether you’re in St. Louis or across the river in Edwardsville.

County Seat Cafe adds its name to a growing roster of 2014 openings in Edwardsville, a list that includes Brevan’s Patisserie, Doc’s Smokehouse, Stur, Uncle Munkey’s and Cunetto’s, while Gulf Shores and Social Gastropub are slated to open this fall. County Seat Cafe opened quietly July 21 at 316 S. Buchanan in Edwardsville, serving home-style American fare in a spot formerly occupied by a Pizza Hut.

Stefanie Franklin owns the restaurant with her parents, Scott and Belinda Franklin. The family has been in the restaurant industry for years – but on the supply end. Scott Franklin owns Franklin Fixtures, an Edwardsville-based restaurant equipment supplier, where Stefanie Franklin has worked for years. “I have wanted to open a restaurant since I was little, but we’ve always been on the other end of it,” she said.

Head chef Randy Lueker, who previously worked at Peel in Edwardsville, makes approximately 80 percent of the food from scratch, Franklin said. Breakfast staples are served until 2 p.m. daily, including enormous pillow-shaped biscuits, which are topped with a country sausage milk gravy. Other dishes are more whimsical like pineapple upside-down pancakes, which are cooked over roasted, sliced pineapples and maraschino cherries and served with whipped brown sugar-cinnamon butter and drizzled with butter toffee sauce.

Traditional fare like soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, fish and pasta populate the lunch and dinner menu. Dishes include double hand-dipped fried chicken, a BLT club with basil pesto mayo and a Reuben with corned beef brined, cooked and sliced in-house.

County Seat Cafe seats 72, and pictures of the old Court House in Edwardsville and old pictures of downtown Edwardsville adorn its walls. “We wanted to pay homage to old Edwardsville,” Franklin said. The Restaurants is open from Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m and until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.



{Sweet and spicy chipotle wings with cheese fries from Taste Budz Take Out}


Meanwhile, in the Skinker DeBaliviere neighborhood, Eric Tomlin and chef Jason Dickerson are slinging diner fare fast and furious at Taste Budz Take Out. Tomlin opened Taste Budz in May at 280 DeBaliviere Ave., the former home of The Kitchen Sink.

Dickerson, who used to work with Tomlin at his previous North County spot Best Happy Hour, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in St. Louis. Tomlin aims to give students and other busy individuals in the neighborhood a quick spot for tasty takeout. Dishes like hot sandwiches, chicken wings, salads and fish dinners are all cooked to order 15 minutes or less, Tomlin said, including breakfast anytime. “For some reason, people like to eat breakfast all day,” he said. “It gets hard for everyone working on a budget, and a lot of students don’t work or are on an allowance. I want to give them good food fast.”

About 15 seats seats are available to dine-in. Taste Budz Take Out is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

County Seat Cafe reporting by Greta Weiderman; Taste Budz Take Out reporting by Grace Kennedy. 


The Scoop: Sushi House offers Japanese cuisine and karaoke in Chesterfield

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014



You don’t have to sing for your supper at Sushi House in Chesterfield, but you can sing with your supper at the new Japanese restaurant and karaoke bar at 17265 Chesterfield Airport Road. Doors opened at the eatery Aug. 25.

Chef Jin Bae joins his parents and restaurant owners Hyeong and Myong Bae, who previously owned Momoyama, in the family’s new venture. Sushi House offers traditional Japanese cuisine, including a variety of sashimi and sushi rolls, along with a full compliment of rice and noodle dishes like udon, fried rice and grilled teriyaki chicken.

Bae has six years of sushi-making experience at Lumiere Casino’s Asia restaurant and developed the sushi, lunch and dinner menus. “We wanted to satisfy everyone that comes in,” he said. “Some people don’t like sushi. With this menu, everybody can enjoy their own food.” Bae’s favorite item is the Sea of Love Roll which has shrimp tempura, eel, cucumber, avocado, asparagus, tataki tuna, spicy mayo, eel sauce and crunch.

Sushi House offers a wide variety of wines, beers and spirits to accompany its dishes.  More than 10 different sakes are available, each of which can be paired with different types of sushi. For example, Bae said the sushi rolls pair best with a full-flavored sake, while the unfiltered sakes work well with sashimi. The bar also offers 12 draft beers, some of which will rotate seasonally.

The 143-seat restaurant also has five private rooms equipped with karaoke equipment where guests can dine until 10 p.m. and croon late into the night. Sushi House is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight. A grand opening celebration is slated for the end of September.



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