Hello Stranger | Login | Create Account
Feb 19, 2018
Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
Email | Text-size: A | A | A

Posts Tagged ‘Stanley Browne’

Longtime chef Joseph Hemp V steps down at Robust Wine Bar

Friday, January 19th, 2018



Chef Joseph Hemp V is leaving his post as executive chef of Robust Wine Bar and Snax Gastrobar. His last service will be Feb. 14.

Hemp began his tenure with Robust owners Stanley and Arlene Maminta Browne in 2012 as executive chef at the Robust Webster Groves location. He took over the kitchen at the downtown location in 2013, and then took the helm at sister restaurant Snax Gastrobar when it opened in September 2017.

“It just felt like the time,” Hemp said. “I love Stanley and Arlene. They’ve been a huge part of my life. But I’ve had the aching for something new.” Hemp doesn’t know exactly what that “something new” will be yet, and said he may even pursue opportunities outside of the restaurant industry.

“There’s part of me that’s ready to say ‘I’ve had a good run,’ and move on,” he said. “But I’ll always love cooking, every part of it. So maybe I’ll just take a step back from management and just enjoy cooking again. It’s a coin toss right now.”

Arlene Maminta Browne said Hemp will be sorely missed. “There’s not enough words to describe how amazing Joe is as a person and a partner,” said Maminta Browne. “He’s been so great for the organization and really grew us to another level. I’m going to miss him terribly.”

Maminta Brown said after Hemp’s departure, each restaurant will have its own head chef instead of one overall executive chef. Zach Dale, who is currently executive sous chef at Robust in Webster Groves, will become the executive chef at that location. Derek Northway, who came onboard at Snax last month after chef de cuisine Chris Ladley left for Nudo House, will run the kitchen there. Maminta Browne said the search is still ongoing for a head chef at Robust Downtown at The MX.

Hemp agreed with the new staffing arrangement. “I started when there was only one store. I worked out because I grew into the position,” he said. “I know the intricacies of everything, but to put that on somebody new is next to impossible. What works at Webster doesn’t work downtown, and what works downtown doesn’t work at Snax, so having one chef be able to spend their entire focus on one store – I think we’re going to end up with a greater product at the end.”

Photo courtesy of Robust Wine Bar

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
 J McArthur’s to close, new concept from Robust owners to open

• How to conquer the wine list

• Review: Snax Gastrobar


Sneak Peek: Snax Gastrobar in Lindenwood Park

Thursday, March 9th, 2017



Robust Wine Bar owners Stanley Browne and Arlene Maminta Browne open their first non-Robust project, Snax Gastrobar, tomorrow, March 10, at 3500 Watson Road. As The Scoop reported in December 2016, the new restaurant is opening in the space that most recently housed J. McArthur’s An American Kitchen.

Executive chef Joseph L. Hemp V, who oversees Robust’s kitchens downtown and in Webster Groves, and sous chef Chris Ladley, late of Quincy Street Bistro, have developed a menu Hemp describes as “global comfort food.” Dishes range from piquant Buffalo Balls (chicken and pork meatballs in a subtle Buffalo sauce), to simple roast chicken seared in cast iron. As one would expect from the folks behind Robust, there’s plenty of wine on hand (including a red and a white wine on tap), as well as cocktails and a wide selection of beers.

The restaurant seats around 65 inside with ample outdoor seating: 40 on the enclosed front patio and 25 on the open back patio. Snax will be open Tuesdsay to Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Photos by Michelle Volansky

Related Content
The Scoop: Snax Gastrobar to open in former J McArthur’s space

The Scoop: J McArthur’s to close, new concept from Robust owners to open

The Scoop: Ben McArthur leaves J. McArthur’s kitchen, Will Volny steps in


The Scoop: Snax Gastrobar to open in former J McArthur’s space

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

J McArthur’s An American Kitchen opened doors July 10 at 3500 Watson Road in the Lindenwood Park neighborhood.

{ The future home of Snax Gastrobar }


Arlene Maminta Browne and Stanley Browne have announced their first non-Robust Wine Bar concept: Snax Gastrobar, set to open in early March, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

As The Scoop reported last month, the Brownes, who own both locations of Robust Wine Bar in Webster Groves and downtown St. Louis, announced in December that they would open a new restaurant in the space that once housed J McArthur’s An American Kitchen at 3500 Watson Road. J McArthur’s shuttered on Dec. 31 after a year-and-a-half in business.

While the term “gastropub” often indicates a substantial beer list, Arlene Maminta Browne said “gastrobar” is intended to reflect not only a large beer selection, but plenty of wines and classic cocktails as well. “We were in Chicago and talking about this concept,” she said. “And the name just came into my head.”

Browne said Robust executive chef Joseph L. Hemp V will oversee the development of an “upscale, humble food” menu. “He loves fine dining, but he has a real passion for this type of food,” she said, adding that no specific menu items have been decided upon yet. Hemp also has an ownership stake in the new restaurant.

Browne said there will be approximately 45 seats inside the space, 50 seats on the enclosed patio in front of the building and 25 seats on the back patio. Though the space does require some décor changes, Browne said no major renovations are needed. Initially, Snax will only be open for dinner, but lunch service is a possibility. Browne said it’s possible that other Snax locations may open up around town if the concept proves popular.

Photo by Michelle Volansky 

Related Content
The Scoop: J McArthur’s to close, new concept from Robust owners to open

The Scoop: Robust to close its Edwardsville location 

Best New Restaurants 2015: J McArthur’s An American Kitchen

The Scoop: J McArthur’s to close, new concept from Robust owners to open

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016



Changes are underway at 3500 Watson Road in Lindenwood Park. J McArthur’s An American Kitchen will close doors for good Dec. 31 after a year-and-a-half in business, according to co-owner Kathleen Bibbins.

The announcement comes four months after the original head chef Ben McArthur left the restaurant, and chef Will Volny took his place. McArthur’s father, John McArthur, owns the restaurant with Bibbins, his stepmother.

“We, and John in particular, worked with Ben to develop the restaurant. It was something he wanted to do for Ben, then it became a family venture,” Bibbins said. “When Ben left, it didn’t have the same family feel, the same family venture, that we hoped to have.”

Bibbins said Volny had done a wonderful job during his tenure as executive chef, but that she and her husband thought a new concept would better suit the space. “We so enjoyed putting out good food and good wine to people,” Bibbins said. “It was a really wonderful experience, but when things changed and we started shifting things about, it just didn’t make that much sense anymore.”

McArthur and Bibbins reached out to longtime friends and business partners Stanley and Arlene Browne, who own both locations of Robust Wine Bar. The couples will partner to open a new concept in late February or early spring.

Arlene Browne said they are currently consulting with Robust executive chef Joseph Hemp V to finalize the concept – but don’t look for a third location of their popular wine bar. “It’s not another Robust, but it certainly fits within our wheelhouse,” Browne said.

McArthur and Bibbins own the building and will have a stake in the new concept, but the Brownes will handle day-to-day operations. Browne said the project is bittersweet; she hates seeing J McArthur’s shutter, but she looks forward to launching a new restaurant. “I think it’s really important to always be evolving and always growing,” she said.

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

Related Content
• The Scoop: Ben McArthur leaves J. McArthur’s kitchen, Will Volny steps in

• New & Notable: J McArthur’s An American Kitchen

Best New Restaurants 2015: No. 6 – J McArthur’s An American Kitchen 

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2015

The Scoop: Robust to close its Edwardsville location

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015




Robust is closing its location in Edwardsville. Owners Stanley and Arlene Browne announced today, June 23, that the wine bar, which they opened at 126 N. Main St., in August 2013 would shutter after service on June 28.

Stanley Browne said a variety of factors culminated in the decision, one they have contemplated since the beginning of this year. “It’s hard to manage from that far away. I felt like I didn’t have good control on that location,” Browne said. The Brownes live in St. Louis and their other two Robust locations take up residence downtown and in Webster Groves, respectively.

Browne also cited less-than-expected patronage at the Illinois location. “It did not hit the same traffic as the other two locations,” he said. “It was Erato wine bar before that, so we assumed it would be just fine.” All employees at Robust in Edwardsville have been offered positions at the other Robust locations.

The Brownes have sold the assets to the Edwardsville wine bar to an Edwarsdsville-based restaurateur, who will open a different concept in the space. Browne could not divulge the new owner’s name, nor specifics about that project.

As for their next steps, Browne said they are exploring other opportunities. He confirmed that they are looking to open another St. Louis-area location and they will focus on the catering arm of their business. “We’re going to keep growing and expanding,” he said.


The Scoop: Robust to open doors in Edwardsville Thursday

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013



Stanley and Arlene Browne, husband and wife owners of Robust, are just a couple days away from opening doors at the newest location for their wine bar, shop and cafe concept in downtown Edwardsville, Ill. Last May, they announced the expansion of the Robust brand for a third time, taking the location at 126 N. Main St., previously occupied by Erato on Main. Renovations now complete, Robust will open doors for dinner this Thursday, Aug. 22.

The core menu at the new Robust will be the same as that at its sister restaurants downtown and in Webster Groves. Arlene Browne added there will be distinct specials at the Edwardsville location, and there are individual specials at the other locations, too. Similar to downtown Robust space, the Edwardsville outpost also will have a few larger plates on the menu.

Although Joseph L. Hemp is the executive chef for all Robust locations and its catering arm, on a day-to-day basis it will be general manager Brendan Hickman, formerly of Demun Oyster Bar and Salt, overseeing kitchen operations in Edwardsville. Other members of the Robust E-ville team include sous chef Ben Rudis and sommelier Byron Beiermann, a native of Edwardsville who joins the team having worked at the luxury St. Regis Aspen Resort in Colorado.

Former patrons of Erato on Main will notice numerous changes to the space. “It looks completely different,” remarked Browne, who called the interior design a “modern vintage” look with lots of dark wood, chandeliers, covered leather benches, gilded chairs and an immense mirror in an gilded antique frame that holds court in the wall across from the bar. The retail section has been created in the center space between the front and rear dining areas.

“I love the space! I love this location!” said an excited Browne. Robust was a vendor at a recent cycling event in Edwardsville. “I cannot get over the overwhelming support that we got from the community,” she said of the event. “People were so excited … introduced themselves to us. It’s an amazing and supporting community. I feel so welcome and can’t wait to serve all our new customers.”

Robust will have only dinner service during its first Thursday, Friday and Saturday of business. Beginning the following weekend, it will expand its hours to include lunch. Sunday hours are still to be determined.



Sneak Peek: Robust downtown

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Robust’s new location is opening this weekend. The restaurant, wine bar and gift shop, owned by Stanley and Arlene Browne, is located at 635 Washington Ave. Robust is part of the Mercantile Exchange, a block of property located downtown between 6th and 7th Streets that includes a Pi PizzeriaMX Movies and will soon house several more restaurants, stores and The National Blues Museum.

The Browne’s hope to have their new Robust location open for regular service as early as tomorrow night, but they suggest calling ahead at 314.287.6300.

Hours of operation will be similar to Robust’s Webster Groves location. The restaurant and wine bar will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Check Robust’s website for hours for the gift shop.

From the architecture to the locally designed tabletops to the original artwork, find a sneak peek of Robust on our Facebook page.

— photos by Michelle Volanksy

Drink This Weekend Edition: What we’re drinking on National Cabernet Day

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

083111_redwineOK, so it’s not the weekend just yet, but we had to take this opportunity to raise a broad-bowled glass in honor of National Cabernet Day, a fine excuse to buy a bottle of this noble, full-bodied red. Although, credit must be given where it’s due; it was Robust Wine Bar owner Stanley Browne who reminded me that this holiday is September 1. Were it not for him, I might be drinking something white right now instead of perhaps the most widely recognized red variety on the planet. Browne thus earned himself first crack at recommending a cab – a domestic, mind you, considering we Americans made this holiday up all by ourselves.

Browne’s picks: 2006 Star Lane and 2006 Pepper Bridge. The former is out of California’s Santa Ynez Valley and could be called the hometown choice since St. Louisans Jim Dierberg – brother to Bob Dierberg of local supermarket fame – and his wife, Mary, own the vineyard. The latter vino is an example of the success with cabernet sauvignons from the Walla Walla Valley region in Washington State. Both wines are available by the bottle at Robust in Webster Groves. (Star Lane sells for $37 retail, $76 tableside; Pepper Bridge is $45 retail, $86 tableside.)

I recently had the opportunity to taste the Mercer Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Washington State. Winemaker David Forsyth explained that the wine was made using fruit from warmer sites in Columbia Valley and from a warmer harvest where “the variety could take advantage of its late-ripening behavior, allowing it to develop the flavors, color and mature tannins in the cool days of October.” I tasted dark cherry, berry and a bit of spice, and my sniffer picked up oak spice and vanilla. Before I knew it, the glass was empty (and I wanted another one). Fortunately, the 2008 vintage hits our market in early October; in the meantime, you can experience the equally rich mouth feel, good structure and long finish of the 2007 vintage at Lorenzo’s Trattoria on The Hill, where it is specially priced through Sunday, September 11, at $40 a bottle (normally $56) or $10 a glass.

A third Washington State selection comes from Jeff Bender of St. Louis Wine Market and Tasting Room in Chesterfield. Bender praised the 2008 cabernet sauvignon from Seven Hills, also of Walla Walla Valley, because “it’s really big, it’s complex and it’s hard to get.” Moreover, at $30 retail (same price if enjoyed in the tasting room), the price is right. “It drinks like it’s a $75 bottle of wine. For the money, you can’t get a better one,” summed Bender.

Cheers to whomever conceived of this day and to all of the U.S. wineries whose cabernet sauvignons keep us drinkers happy. Now, excuse me, I have to go find my corkscrew.

The Scoop: Robust Wine Bar coming to Laurel Building downtown

Friday, August 12th, 2011

081211_robustStanley and Arlene Browne, owners of Robust Wine Bar, will be adding a second location of their popular restaurant/wine bar at Seventh Street and Washington Avenue in the Laurel Building formerly occupied by Dillard’s. Robust’s downtown site will be 4,200 square feet and is scheduled to open in spring 2012, according to Mack Bradley, spokesperson for the MX District, the downtown development area that includes the Laurel Building and the Mercantile Exchange Building, formerly known as St. Louis Centre. Robust Wine Bar opened at 227 W. Lockwood Ave., in Webster Groves in 2007.

Robust is the second restaurant to be announced as a tenant for the MX District (The first was Pi Pizzeria, announced back in April). The district is undergoing major renovations as part of a project to develop the area into a full-service retail, dining, entertainment, arts, culture and residential district along Washington Avenue. Other restaurants and shopping and entertainment venues slated to open in the MX District are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. All of the venues inside the district are planned to open at the same time – tentatively spring of next year.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Where to be a wino when outside isn’t an option

Friday, August 5th, 2011

080411_robustFrom one helluva heat wave to a warm and wet forecast, this weather has us wanting to duck into a watering hole where the air conditioning is pumping and the dog doesn’t need walking. This weekend, we’re chilling at Robust Wine Bar in Webster Groves where owner Stanley Browne and GM Frank Romano just launched a menu of wine-inspired cocktails, aptly called Winetails.

Winetails are a simple combination of white, rosé or sparkling wine – even sake – and fresh juices or fizzy soda. The drinks are light on sugar, low in alcohol and wonderfully refreshing. The Tinto de Verano, for example, is a 50/50 mix of rosé and lemon-lime soda served over ice in a wine glass and garnished with a lemon wedge. Romano considers it a way to “drink rosé like it’s iced tea,” – and we heartily agree.

Cosmo drinkers will be content ordering one (or more) of the Robust Wine “O” Politan. Don’t look for vodka in this summertime spin on a Cosmopolitan; but with a combo of Cointreau, Pinot Grigio and cranberry juice – shaken and strained – we promise, you won’t miss it. For red wine drinkers, we’d suggest the fruity Watermelon Cooler: a mix of watermelon purée and Grenache Blanc – wine made from the white grape cousin of red grape Grenache. Think of this drink as a watermelon-flavored Jolly Rancher in a glass.

Keep up with one or all of your favorite Sauce Magazine columns
Conceived and created by Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC 1999-2018, Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Sauce Magazine 1820 Chouteau Ave. St. Louis, Missouri 63103.
PH: 314-772-8004 FAX: 314-241-8004