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Jan 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Sugarfire Smoke House’

Sugarfire Smoke House team will take over The Boathouse

Friday, December 15th, 2017

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 { Sugarfire Smoke House and Hi-Pointe owner Mike Johnson } 

The Boathouse at Forest Park will soon be under new management. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, the team behind Sugarfire Smoke House, Hi-Pointe Drive-In and Cyrano’s will take over the restaurant sometime in early 2018. The Boathouse has most recently been run by Catering St. Louis.

Sugarfire co-owner Mike Johnson said the new Boathouse menu hasn’t been set yet, but it won’t be another Sugarfire or Hi-Pointe location. He said menu items would most likely include affordable options like sandwiches, salads, grab-and-go items, kid-friendly fare and possibly picnic baskets, but it’s still very much a work in progress.

Johnson said they also have not decided what the service model will be, or what modifications, if any, would be done to the space. He did confirm, however, that the fleet of paddleboats would be getting a serious upgrade.

While it’s a done deal that Sugarfire will helm the space, Johnson said that the final details, including when the handover will take place, will be finalized next week.

“We’ve been looking at this space for quite a while,” Johnson said. “We’re going to make Forest Park proud. We’re taking this seriously.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Mr. Johnson’s Opus

• Best New Restaurants 2017: Hi-Pointe Drive-In

• Review: Hi-Pointe Drive-In

Sugarfire Smoke House to open in O’Fallon, Illinois

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

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Barbecue powerhouse Sugarfire Smoke House is making its way across the Mississippi to open a franchise at 1405 Green Mount Road in O’Fallon, Illinois by early 2018.

As reported by the Belleville News-Democrat, co-owners Mike Johnson and Christina Fitzgerald said plans are in place to break ground at the site this October.

Fitzgerald said they are excited to bring their food to Illinois since so many people travel to Missouri enjoy it already. “Sugarfire is a destination,” she said. “People travel from Illinois to get barbecue, so we’re excited to bring it to them.”

In addition to the O’Fallon franchise, Johnson and Fitzgerald plan to open at least four more Sugarfire restaurants before the end of the year in Farmington, Wentzville, Indianapolis and Tampa, Florida.

The restaurant will open its doors soon after construction of the freestanding building is complete. The look, feel and menu at the new establishment will be reminiscent of its predecessors. “We’re really excited to be in Illinois and be more accessible,” Fitzgerald said.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Caitlin Lally is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine.

Related Content
Chef Nick Blue lands at Sugarfire Smoke House

Mr. Johnson’s Opus

• Review: Hi-Pointe Drive-In

 

Trendwatch: What’s on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

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1. Proof in the Pudding
We’ve come a long way since Snack Packs – like the butterscotch pot de crème at Olive & Oak, a rich caramel pudding capped with salted caramel and whipped cream. At Pint Size Bakery, occasionally available Yum Cups are filled with rotating pudding flavors. But we all know chocolate reigns supreme, like the blend of milk and dark chocolate pudding with a black cocoa brownie, Thai basil ice cream and fresh blackberries currently on the menu at Taste. Retreat Gastropub recently offered an orange- and lemon-scented chocolate pudding served with toasted marshmallows and almond biscotti, while ClevelandHeath serves its version with Chantilly whipped cream and chocolate-dipped puffed rice.

 

2. Activate
Charcoal has made the move from face masks to the table. Gaining popularity as a detox ingredient at California juice shops like Pressed Juicery and Juice Served Here in recent years, activated charcoal has been making an appearance in cocktails like the inky mezcal-based Moonwalk at New York’s Mission Chinese Food. Closer to home, the black-hearted ingredient showed up for brunch in a chocolate-charcoal waffle at Hiro Asian Kitchen. Try a taste of the darkness at Clementine’s Creamery, where the black cherry ice cream is made with activated charcoal.

 

3. Bring in the Funk
Savory caramels are currently lending a sweet, funky accent to all manner of cuisine in St. Louis. The Copper Pig and Juniper have both combined fish sauce and caramel to great effect – the former on chicken wings and the latter on chicken and waffles. At Vista Ramen, crab caramel brings subtle sweetness and an unctuous umami pop to a tender pork rib dish. A little funk works just as well in cocktails, like The Sound of One Hand Clapping recently at Planter’s House, which combined tequila and mezcal with a miso-caramel syrup. On a more vegetal note, a beet caramel adds earthy sweetness to roasted beets, charred carrots and whipped herbed goat cheese at Boundary, while Vicia recently offered hazelnut financiers with an onion caramel sauce.

 

4. Get Crackin’
Pistachios have been lending their mild, nutty flavor to a variety of cocktail menus around town. The Lights Down, Music Up at ClevelandHeath uses Dumante Verdenoce, an Italian pistachio liqueur, to complement apricot and lemon in the rum-based drink. At The Preston, The Lady of Kildare, a unique tiki cocktail with Irish whiskey instead of the usual rum, includes a house-made pistachio syrup that plays well with tropical flavors like coconut and pineapple. And the Garden of Forking Paths at Taste utilizes the nut itself – ground and rimming a Collins glass.

 

5. The Big Cheese
Grilled cheese sandwiches have been subbing in for buns lately. Take The Big Lou special at The Corner Butcher in Fenton, where two of the sandwiches held two patties topped with nacho cheese. The Libertine appended GC to a classic BLT for a brunch special, and the ever-fluctuating menu at Shift: Test Kitchen recently experimented with The Sasquatch, pulled pork and cole slaw between two gooey sammies. Head to Festus for a Fatty Melt at Main & Mill Brewing Co., a classic patty melt with two grilled cheese sandwiches. And of course, Sugarfire Smoke House and Hi-Pointe Drive-In get in on the action with the Sweet Baby Cheesus special.

 

6. The Spice Route
Area bartenders are reaching into the spice cabinet for a taste of India on their cocktail menus. Retreat Gastropub mixes gin with coconut milk, turmeric and ginger in the curry leaf-topped Golden State, and combines rum, mango, vermouth and chai in its Cash Me Outside cocktail. Reeds American Table opts for yellow curry and coriander mixed with coconut milk in the Philosophical Zombie, while Planter’s House recently featured a chai five-spice syrup with bourbon, tequila and amaro in the Exit Stage Left. Polite Society’s arsenal of house-made tinctures and infusions includes a blood orange and cardamom gastrique featured in the Sanguine cocktail, made with vodka and coconut water. Frazer’s makes use of Desipop, a masala-cumin soda, in its rum-based Kama Sutra. Over at Eclipse, they’re shaking cardamom bitters into the Effervescent Love Machine, while just down the street, the team at Randolfi’s also added cardamom bitters to Advice from a Fortune Cookie and curry bitters to A Rule of Plumb.

 

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Related Content
Sauce Magazine: June 2017

Trendwatch: 7 trends on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list now

Poke: The Hawaiian classic that’s having a big moment

The Scoop: Chef Nick Blue lands at Sugarfire Smoke House

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

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{ Chef Nick Blue } 

 

Former Sardella executive chef Nick Blue has left fine dining behind and is headed in a more casual direction. Last week, he began a new chapter at Sugarfire Smoke House.

“After Sardella, I got reached out to by so many great chefs and restaurant owners and it was really a great feeling,” Blue said.

As The Scoop reported in April, Blue left Sardella and Pastaria executive chef Ashely Shelton added the eatery to her list of duties at Niche Food Group. During his hiatus, Blue met Sugarfire owner Mike Johnson, and something clicked. Both had backgrounds in fine dining and worked for chef Charlie Trotter in Chicago during their careers.

“Mike’s a great guy,” Blue said. “He’s got a lot of things happening, and he has a lot of fun with what he does.

So, Blue decided to give the fast-casual barbecue world a try.

“I’ve never done anything this casual, I’ve never done anything barbecue related,” Blue said. “I’m only a week in, but I’ve never experienced a culture in a restaurant like this. Everybody has fun with what they do, with their co-workers. It’s been great.”

Blue said he’s not stepping into a specific position at Sugarfire, but is working in a variety of roles and learning the ropes at Sugarfire’s Olivette location. Once barbecue competition season starts in earnest, Blue said he’d likely be helping out at other Sugarfires.

“I’m doing everything,” he said. “I’m trying to learn everything I can at the restaurant to be an asset.” That includes learning the pit, helping out with specials working the line and working the floor.

“I’m kind of along for the ride,” he said. “I’m willing to do whatever they need. I want to prove myself to them as much as I can and see where it goes from there.”

Photo by Ashley Gieseking

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

Related Content
The Scoop: Pastaria’s Ashley Shelton is named Sardella exec chef

The Scoop: Nick Blue leaves post at Sardella

What I Do: Nick Blue of Sardella

First Look: Hi-Pointe Drive-In

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

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Hi-Pointe Drive-In opens today, Jan. 5, at 1033 McCausland Ave. As The Scoop reported last July, the minds behind Sugarfire Smoke House tore down the former Del Taco building for the colorful, new 3,000-square-foot burger and sandwich joint.

The menu will satisfy both traditionalists and trend-seekers: Classic griddled burgers and fries are offered alongside a taco burger seasoned with Cool Ranch Doritos and Chili Cheese Fritos, and creative sandwiches like The Abaconing, an indulgent take on a BLT, made with fried tomatoes and collard greens.

Milkshakes are available in a few classic flavors as well as Dreamsicle, butterscotch and a seasonal Strange Donuts collaboration shake. Add booze to any of those, or order a boozy slushie, wine or one of the 8 beers on tap. Excel sodas are also available.

Hi-Pointe Drive-In will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Here’s what to expect when you walk in:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

-photos by Michelle Volansky

Extra Sauce: Top 10 Scoops of 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

From big chef changes at Niche Food Group to new taco restaurants in Kirkwood and steakhouses in Sunset Hills, here’s the dining news you were most excited about this year.

Don’t miss out! Follow Sauce Magazine on Facebook and Twitter to get The Scoop on the latest St. Louis-area restaurant news.

 

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1. The Scoop: Kirkwood to see new taco restaurant

2. The Scoop: Owners of Sugarfire Smoke House to open burger joint this fall

3. The Scoop: Catrinas opens in Edwardsville

 

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4. The Scoop: Jimmy’s on the Park closes after more than two decades

5. The Scoop: Joey B’s fourth location to open in April

6. The Scoop: Twisted Tree to open in Sunset Hills

 

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7. The Scoop: Nate Hereford to exit Niche, Brasserie’s Nick Blue to take the helm

8. The Scoop: Old Standard Fried Chicken to close

9. The Scoop: Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade to open in St. Charles

 

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10. The Scoop: Firecracker Pizza and Beer to open in The Grove

 

Related Content
10 Best New Restaurants of 2016

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2016

Extra Sauce: Top 10 Sneak Peeks of 2016

The Scoop: Owners of Sugarfire Smoke House to open burger joint this fall

Friday, July 15th, 2016

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The owners of Sugarfire Smoke House are opening another restaurant – but barbecue isn’t on the menu. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, The Hi-Pointe Drive In will serve griddled burgers on potato buns, fries and shakes in a new space at 1033 McCausland Ave., after tearing down the former Del Taco building at that address.

Sugarfire co-owner Mike Johnson has wanted to open a burger joint for years. “Probably even before Sugarfire first opened,” he said. “We’ve been working on it for a long time.”

The building will be made up of shipping containers, to be designed by Tom Cohen. “It’s going to be unreal,” Johnson said. “You won’t believe you’re in St. Louis.”

The fast-casual Hi-Pointe Drive In is slated to open in November.

What I Do: Phil Jarvis

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

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If you dine out in St. Louis, you’re probably a fan of Phil Jarvis’ work – you just don’t know it yet. Jarvis is a local artist, muralist and sign painter, carefully identifying hundreds of restaurants, bars and tattoo shops in the U.S. and dozens more around the world. In the industry 40 years, his elegant hand-painted lettering and mural work grace establishments from Sugarfire Smoke House and Sauce on the Side to Sump Coffee and Reeds American Table, each signed with his name and a bearded profile. Here, Jarvis shared why some signs stand the test of time.

 

First impressions
“A hand-painted sign better represents who they are as a shop or restaurant because they are one unique place. … The sign is really the first impression people get when they walk into a place. … (Owners) are very conscientious about every part of the product. I think a sign done by hand represents that same sort of mentality.”

More than graphic design
“I’m not really fond of just doing straight-up Helvetica or regular block font. Mainly because a computer can do that. What’s the point? I try to embellish it with shadows and highlights, make it look more 3-D, put some flourishments around it.”

Better with age
“Vinyl doesn’t get more character as it gets older; it looks old and worn out. But you can look at (a hand-painted sign) and almost tell how old it is and see the brush strokes as it gets older.”

Clarity and art
“I learned pretty quickly that a sign is not meant to be ambiguous. If the sign says ‘Turn right,’ and there’s an arrow, you don’t want them to contemplate what the meaning of ‘right’ is. … On the other hand, when I come home and paint, the opposite is true. … (My art is) supposed to be something that they contemplate.”

Sign painting renaissance
“It’s definitely taken a surge upward. There’s lots of kids in their 20s wanting to learn how to paint signs. … There are not a lot of avenues for artists these days to do things by hand. Everything is done on a computer: graphic design, all the illustrations, even signs. The only two industries left really are tattoos and sign painting.”

Worldwide clientele
“I can’t call myself worldwide until I’ve got four continents, and I’ve only got three so far. Australia or southern Africa, either one of those would be fine. I’m not so fond of Antarctica … but if I were invited, I’d go down and paint one sign.”

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

Edible Weekend: 3 more food-filled events this weekend

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

From food fights to festive events al fresco, here’s three more don’t-miss events in The Lou this weekend.

 

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1. Fleur de Lilies welcomes patio season all weekend starting with a food and wine pairing event, a Saturday brunch and a Sunday Gin Week Kickoff with gin and cigars. May 13 to 15, fleurdelilies.com 

2. The grill mitts come off when Sugarfire Smoke House’s Jeff Friesen and upcoming Stellar Hog’s Alex Cupp face off in the next round of Bolyard’s Meat & Provision’s  Burger Battle. Cool off from the heat of competition with a treat from Ices Plain & Fancy. May 14, bolyardsmeat.com 

3. Slide Piece food truck is getting into the spirit of St. Louis’ first Tennessee Williams Festival. The truck is serving a menu of Williams-inspired sliders, like the Sriracha-spiked Lamb on a Hot Tin Roof with mint-garlic yogurt and apple, as well as A Slider Named Desire with fontina cheese, arugula and balsamic reduction. Look for the truck at Strauss Park Sunday afternoon.
May 15, slidepiecestl.com

 
Still hungry? Then sign up for Edible Weekend, our newly redesigned weekly newsletter, and get the weekend’s top four foodie events delivered directly to your inbox every Wednesday. Click here to sign up now!

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Monday, November 16th, 2015
Get caught up on all last week’s food news, from the latest restaurant openings to the best way to roast a chicken (Hint: you’re doing it wrong.). ICYMI, here’s the latest in the St. Louis restaurant scene:

 

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1. After brewing beer for over a year in an industrial space in at 5231 Manchester Ave., in Dogtown, Modern Brewery opens its tasting room today, Nov. 13. Click here for the Sauce Sneak Peek.

2. 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. Click here for the Sauce Scoop.

 

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3. Doors are officially open at Copper Pig, owner Nhat Nguyen’s newest venture at 4611 Macklind Ave., in the Southampton neighborhood. Click here for the Sauce First Look.

4. 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. Click here for the Sauce Scoop.

 

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5. Meet the salad to convert all Brussels sprouts haters. Click here for the recipe.

6. You’ve been roasting chicken wrong. Dee Ryan shows the way in Just Five. Click here for the recipe.

 

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