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Dec 13, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Tello Carreon’

Chef Tello Carreón will leave Nixta after Oct. 21

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

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{ from left, Tello Carreón and Ben Poremba } 

 

Big news from Botanical Heights – executive chef Tello Carreón will leave his position as executive chef of award-winning Mexican restaurant Nixta. His last day of service will be Saturday, Oct. 21. The initial announcement came today, Oct. 4, via a post on Carreón’s Instagram account.

Nixta owner Ben Poremba confirmed the departure in a statement and thanked Carreón for his work.

“As Nixta approaches its first anniversary, chef-owner Ben Poremba, along with his team at Bengelina Hospitality Group, will continue to passionately showcase Mexican fare as among the most exciting cuisines in the world,” the statement read. “Poremba is proud of the success Nixta has attained – both in St. Louis and nationally – during Carreón’s tenure. He thanks him for his immense contribution, and wishes him continued success in his future endeavors.”

Carreón said he’s not sure what his next move will be. “I just want to finish strong in these last few weeks, the way I started,” he said. “I contributed as much as I could to Nixta, and I gained as much as I could from the experience. I think it’s time for me to move on. It’s been a wonderful journey.”

Poremba said via text message that he did not know who will replace Carreón yet. He will helm the kitchen in the interim. He declined further comment.

Nixta opened in November 2016 and was named one of Sauce’s Best New Restaurants that same year. It has garnered local and national accolades since opening, most notably as one of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants in America.

 

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

Related Content
• Nixta earns spot on Bon Appétit’s top 10 new restaurants list

• Best New Restaurants 2016: No. 5 – Nixta

• Sneak Peek: Nixta in Botanical Heights

Nixta earns spot on Bon Appétit’s top 10 new restaurants list

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

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{ from left, Nixta executive chef Tello Carreón and owner Ben Poremba} 

The hits just keep on coming for the St. Louis restaurant scene.

As The Scoop reported earlier this month, Nixta and Vicia earned slots on Bon Appétit’s Top 50 Best New Restaurants in America list. Today, Bon Appétit announced  Nixta had earned the No. 9 spot on its coveted Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America list.

“I’m shocked,” said Nixta owner Ben Poremba. “I did not see that one coming. In my mind I knew we were top 10 quality, I won’t deny that. I knew we were doing something unique and special.”

Poremba, who also owns Elaia, Olio and Parigi, said Nixta executive chef Tello Carreón was also excited about the accolade, but typically humble in his response.

“I called him, and in typical Tello fashion, he was excited, but he was grocery shopping, and said ‘I have a 100 people to feed tonight, so…’”

Carreón could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bon Appétit senior editor Julia Kramer lauded Nixta’s popular octopus dish, the space’s fun vibe and heralded Carreón’s knack for creative flavor combinations in his Mexican fare. “They could easily have used this fun, colorful space as home to a crowd-pleasing, money-printing taco bar,” Kramer wrote. “Instead, Carreón turns out an ambitious menu that doesn’t limit itself to any particular region of Mexico.”

Poremba said his team will put together some sort of celebratory event to commemorate the honor in the near future.

It’s the latest in a slew of national honors for St. Louis restaurants and chefs. In May, Sidney Street Cafe chef-owner Kevin Nashan brought home a James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef: Midwest, and in July, Eater listed Vicia among its top 12 best new restaurants in St. Louis.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

Related Content
Nixta, Vicia make Bon Appetit’s top 50 new restaurants list

Best New Restaurants 2016: No. 5 – Nixta

Review: Nixta 

Nixta, Vicia make Bon Appetit’s top 50 new restaurants list

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

 

 

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{ Vicia chef-owner Michael Gallina }

 

Bon Appétit has announced its list of 50 Best New Restaurants in America, and two of St. Louis’ hottest eateries, Vicia and Nixta, made the cut.

The Mole Negro de Abuelita Concepción, an homage to a recipe from chef Tello Carreon’s grandmother, was singled out as a must-try dish at Nixta, while the Goose Egg, scrambled eggs served in a “bird’s nest,” was one of the specialties highlighted on Vicia’s menu, along with the restaurant’s focus on vegetables.

“It’s been quite a week,” said Tara Gallina, Vicia co-owner and general manager. Vicia also landed on Eater’s 12 Best New Restaurants in America list, which came out last week. “It’s a lot – it’s exciting!”

 

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{ from left, Nixta chef Tello Carreón and owner Ben Poremba } 

 

Nixta owner Ben Poremba, whose other eateries Elaia and Olio made the same list in 2013, said the news came as a complete surprise. “It’s nice to see the recognition on a national scale like that, especially coming back from the bittersweet moment of closing Old Standard and redoing the space,” he said.

Nixta landed on Sauce’s Best New Restaurants of 2016 shortly after opening in November last year.

Bon Appétit’s list of 50 will be whittled down to the Hot 10 on Aug. 15, which are featured in the September issue.

“That list has some pretty heavy hitters on it,” said Poremba. “But you never know.”

Gallina agreed that landing a top 10 spot would be remarkable. “There’s a lot of incredible competition this year,” she said. “A lot of amazing places have opened, so just to be on the list, as cheesy as that sounds, is quite an honor.”

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
Eater names Vicia one of the country’s Best New Restaurants

• Review: Vicia

Review: Nixta

Best New Restaurants: No. 5 – Nixta

Best New Restaurants: No. 5 – Nixta

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened: St. Louis’ 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016.

 

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{ from left, chef Tello Carreón and owner Ben Poremba}

Surrounded by hip Latin music and tropical plants at Nixta’s recent soft opening, we kept spontaneously exhaling and saying, “This feels like vacation.” Along with the bright, beachy colors and dim, candlelit atmosphere of Ben Poremba’s newest restaurant, the menu is strewn with flowers and fruit: ceviche served with a fragrant, viscid sphere of rose water espuma; pork belly al pastor topped with caramelized pineapple pico de gallo; a sea scallop in a pool of green, bergamot-infused aguachile sprinkled with tiny whole blooms.

This pretty chiaroscuro of rich meats and delicate seafoods, deep dark mole and bright vegetal spice, is thanks to executive chef Tello Carreón. He’s the reason Poremba wanted to open a Mexican restaurant.

They got to know each other in the kitchen of Poremba’s fine-dining restaurant Elaia, just down the street. “I like his cooking a lot and thought a modern take on Mexican food – his kind of food – would make a great restaurant,” Poremba said. Why look outside – why go to New York to research new ideas – when you have such talent inside your own St. Louis kitchens?

Carreón’s passion for creativity is reflected in unexpected dishes, like the tuna tostada with lime-white shoyu glaze, and in more traditional offerings he grew up eating. “What I’m trying to say is you don’t have to be stuck with the same ingredients,” Carreón said. Which is why he paired his grandma’s classic mole recipe with braised beef cheeks instead of the expected chicken.

“I like to have dishes fresh and more alive than you typically find them. I want to elevate them a little more – bring them to life,” Carreón said. “I think I have the taste, the cuisine that people want to try.”

We think so too, jefe.

 

More about Nixta

• Sneak Peek: Nixta in Botanical Heights

• The Scoop: Ben Poremba to open Mexican restaurant, Nixta, in former Old Standard space

The Scoop: Old Standard Fried Chicken to close

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Sneak Peek: Nixta in Botanical Heights

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Editor’s note: This post contains an image that may be NSFW.  

 

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Restaurateur Ben Poremba has added another establishment to his fold in Botanical Heights. Nixta hosts a soft opening tonight, Nov. 11, at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., under the direction of executive chef Tello Carreon.

As The Scoop reported in October, Poremba’s Bengelina Hospitality has turned the building that once housed its fried chicken restaurant into this Mexican-inspired eatery. Former patrons of Old Standard will hardly recognize the 42-seat space, which Poremba designed himself. Walls are painted in bright blue and coral; Mexican rugs drape windows and cover floors. Succulents rest on shelves and light fixtures dangle from climbing rope.

Carreon’s menu is inspired by his Mexican heritage with an emphasis on intense flavors, like the al pastor, featuring a thick-cut piece of pork belly topped with caramelized pineapple and a pineapple pico de gallo. The rotating menu is a mix of smaller and larger plates meant to be shared; look for Carreon’s mole negro with braised beef cheeks inspired by his grandmother’s recipe or a seafood cocktail filled with octopus, scallops, mussels, oysters and shrimp.

Bengelina Hospitality head bartender Drew Lucido oversaw development of the bar program in consultation with Layla Linehan, previously at Brasserie, Demun Oyster Bar and Monarch. The bar features a handful of house cocktails, a large selection of tequila, rum and mezcal, as well as fresh juices and a forthcoming list of house-made aguas frescas. A selection of mostly Mexican bottled and canned beers and 14 wines by the glass are also available.

Poremba said the space will function as Nixta until 10 p.m., when it will become a more relaxed, late-night spot called Bar Limón. A selection of dishes will be available on Bar Limón’s late-night menu, as well as scaled down $6 cocktails.

After this weekend’s soft opening, Nixta and Bar Limón will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect from Poremba and Carreon:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

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