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Aug 20, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘The Loop’

The Scoop: Local sushi star Naomi Hamamura joins the culinary team at United Provisions

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

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With the opening of United Provisions just weeks away, there’s news that another talented face from the local culinary scene is joining the team at the highly anticipated international grocery store at 6241 Delmar Blvd., in University City.

Naomi “Hama” Hamamura, previously executive chef at the Wasabi location downtown, has been hired as the chef at The Dining District, the prepared foods and dining section inside the grocery store. United Provisions partner Ben Poremba said he hired Hamamura two weeks ago. “He’s the best,” said Poremba, who also owns Elaia and Olio and co-owns La Patisserie Chouquette. “I called him up. He liked the idea of a new place … something a little different from what he’s done so far.”

While Hamamura will be in a new location, he’ll still be the focus of attention as he prepares sushi, ceviche and other raw far at the 16-seat raw bar at United Provisions. The Dining District’s other stations include a grill, a plancha and a deli with cured meats and cheese, according to St. Louis Magazine. Executive chef Jay Stringer will overseeing the entire dining and prepared foods operation. A veteran of the Chicago dining scene, Stringer has worked in the kitchen at Olio since it opened almost two years ago.

Lunch hours at The Dining District will be counter service with dine-in or carryout options, while dinner will be full service at this restaurant within a grocery store. There will also be a coffee shop serving up drip Northwest Coffee and pastries from La Patisserie Chouquette. Poremba said United Provisions is expected to open Aug. 11.

While Hamamura’s career began in Japan, the chef has made a mark on the local food scene since arriving to the U.S. in 1979, including working at now-closed Japanese steakhouse Robata of Japan and Ritz Carlton – St. Louis, and owning and operating the now defunct Sansui and Sansui West. In 2010, when Hamamura sold Sansui West to Wasabi, he stayed on as its corporate chef. After a stint at Prasino, Hamamura returned to Wasabi, where he worked until July 14.

-photo by Greg Rannells

Editor’s Note: This piece originally misstated Naomi Hamamura’s responsibilities at The Dining District. It has been corrected.

The Scoop: Sandwich shops open doors in The Loop, Midtown

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

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{Sandwiches and Zapp’s chips from Snarf’s}

Hungry for crusty bread filled with whatever meat, cheese or veggie you crave? Get your fix at one of two sandwich shops, Snarf’s and Which Wich, which have both recently expanded in St. Louis.

Snarf’s opened its third location today, June 2, at 374A S. Grand Blvd., near Saint Louis University. The family-owned business offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although known for its made-to-order, oven-toasted sandwiches, the menu also includes breakfast sandwiches for the morning crowd, fresh salads, soups and desserts. Beer and wine are among the beverage offerings. The newest location is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to midnight and weekends from 8 a.m. to midnight.

Snarf’s entered the St. Louis market four years ago with a shop in The Loop. A location downtown in the MX Building followed in 2012. With origins in Boulder, Colorado, Snarf’s has grown to a total of 18 restaurants located throughout that state, as well as in Chicago and St. Louis. A shop is also slated to open this summer in Austin, Texas.

 

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{Sandwich bags to order at Which Wich}

A new local unit for national sandwich chain Which Wich open less than two weeks ago in The Loop at 6662 Delmar Blvd., in the space formerly occupied by Cold Stone Creamery. This unit is operated by franchisee Satish Kumar, who also owns House of India in University City.

Which Wich offers more than 50 varieties of customizable sandwiches and is known for its ordering system. Patrons fill out their orders on a sandwich bag with the menu printed on it. Customers choose from one of 10 sandwich categories (such as turkey, Italian or seafood), then select the type of bread, sandwich length, cheese, spreads and vegetables. The sandwiches are made-to-order and handed to customers in the marked-up bag. This makes the third St. Louis-area Which Wich unit; the other two are located in Des Peres and Chesterfield.

 

 

The Scoop: Candy and soda shop Rocket Fizz to open in The Loop

Monday, May 12th, 2014

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Listen up, sugar fiends: Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop will open a new location at 6303 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop, the space formerly occupied by City Sprouts. A recorded phone message at the shop stated its owners hoped to open doors May 24. Calls to Rocket Fizz for comment were not immediately returned.

Rocket Fizz opened its first store in southern California and has since expanded to more than 40 franchise locations across the country. Best known for its line of unusually flavored name-brand sodas – bacon, pumpkin pie – the shop also stocks a wide range of rare or small-batch candies to keep your sweet tooth satisfied.

-photo by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Nico in The Loop to become Salt + Smoke BBQ

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

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The word of the day is certainly barbecue! In addition to Wild Flower’s plans for Majestic in the Central West End and Dave Bailey’s announcement about a new restaurant downtown, Tom Schmidt also announced that he is changing the concept and name of his restaurant Nico (pictured), located at 6525 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop. Instead of Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, patrons will be able to fill up on, you guessed it, slow-smoked barbecue. The new concept will be called Salt + Smoke BBQ and, while Schmidt has targeted an early summer opening, he stated that the restaurant may open as early as the last week in May.

“This is a great time for this concept to come to The Loop,” said Schmidt regarding the switch from Mediterranean fare to barbecue. “We’ve been smoking and curing meat in-house for years,” he said about the culinary program at his other restaurant, Franco. “Chef is excited to expand that passion into the barbecue world,” he elaborated, adding that while the menu will be barbecue-focused, “sides won’t be an afterthought.”

John Dreja will take on the role of pitmaster for Salt + Smoke. Helming the kitchen will be Haley Riley, who assumed the executive chef position at Nico last week, replacing chef Grace Dinsmoor. Dinsmoor’s last day at Nico was March 31. While she has accepted a position with a different employer, when The Scoop spoke with her, she was not at liberty to disclose such information.

Nico remains open but will close for a brief period in late May or early June so that the interior can be remodeled and the kitchen outfitted to accommodate the new menu.

– photo by Jonathan Gayman

The Scoop: Three Kings Public House to open a second location in Des Peres

Monday, March 17th, 2014

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{From left: Derek Deavers, Derek Flieg and Ryan Pinkston}

 

Since opening in 2011, Three Kings Public House has garnered a reputation as a fun neighborhood bar serving quality food and fine craft brews in The Loop. Now, co-owners Ryan Pinkston, Derek Deavers and Derek Flieg are looking to bring that same neighborhood bar feel to Des Peres.

Three Kings is opening a second location at 11925 Manchester Road, in the space formerly occupied by the now-defunct Mosaic, as reported by St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe. June 1 is the target opening date. “That’s an aggressive timeline, but we feel we can get it done,” Pinkston said. “We feel that, right now, there is a good market out there for what we are doing.”

Three Kings fans can expect numerous similarities between the two locations. Pinkston said the Des Peres spot will have “the same look with the wood and the brick” as its sister restaurant in University City, where old photographs of The Loop pay homage to the history of the neighborhood. Although design is still to be determined at the Des Peres space, items from that neck of the woods could make an appearance. “Hopefully we can track down something,” Pinkson said. “We definitely want the people of Des Peres to feel this is their neighborhood bar.”

The majority of the food on the menu will be similar to the current Loop menu. The bar will have between 20 to 25 craft beers on tap, as well as a dozen or more bottled beers, primarily domestic brews. A cellar list is available at the Delmar watering hole, but Pinkston did not think that element would be carried over to the new location.

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

The Scoop: Mike Randolph to open Público, a Mexican gastropub in The Loop

Friday, February 28th, 2014

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{Mike Randolph, center}

 

Mike Randolph, owner of The Good Pie and Half & Half has announced plans to open a Mexican gastropub called Público at 6679 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop. The new spot, reminiscent of Randolph’s former restaurant-within-a-restaurant, Medianoche, is two doors down from The Good Pie, which reopened just days ago.

Randolph has already signed the lease and has enlisted the work of SPACE Architects + Design to renovate the former D-Zine hair salon. “The space became available,” Randolph said. “[Currently] we’re not doing fine dining, and I thought it would be good to diversify.”

The hair salon will be transformed into an intimate wood-paneled space that will seat 50 to 55 patrons. Unlike most commercial kitchens, Público won’t have a gas line, stove or convection oven. “Everything will be cooked in an open-wood hearth,” Randolph said. “It’s all walls and fire.”

Randolph plans to serve lunch and dinner featuring Medianoche favorites plus new items prepared by Dale Beauchamp, former chef de cuisine from Randolph’s now-shuttered Little Country Gentleman. Diners can expects tacos with fillings such as beef tongue, pork belly, carne asada and al pastor on house-made corn tortillas.

The expanded dinner menu will include the taco-centric lunch items, as well as six to eight appetizers and “interesting” seared tuna, masa dumplings with mushrooms, pozole, chicken liver and more. Entrees will include more sophisticated dishes such as dry-aged, bone-in roasted rib-eye, whole roasted fish and other heartier south-of-the-border entrees.

On beverage side, Randolph envisions an extensive bar at Público. “A lot of whiskey – scotch, bourbon – as well as tequila and mescals,” he said. “We’re not going to be a 10-margaritia place.”

As for Half & Half, Randolph said he has no plans to change current hours of operation or create a distinct evening concept for the Ladue breakfast and brunch spot. Look for Público to open doors in July.

 

 

 

Sneak Peek: The Good Pie

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

After The Good Pie closed its doors in Midtown last August, the much-anticipated pizza joint is almost ready to open in its new space at 6665 Delmar Blvd. But expect more than just pizza, salads and great beer. With the closure of restaurateur Mike Randolph’s fine-dining establishment Little Country Gentleman last month, he was able to scoop up even more talent to augment The Good Pie’s food and beverage offerings.

Along with bottles of beer, wine and ten draft beers behind the bar, you’ll find Jeffrey Moll Jr., former bartender at LGC. Moll has greatly expanded The Good Pie’s cocktail menu. Find classic cocktails, aperitifis, a slew of vermouths, digestifs and even house-made limoncello. The Good Pie’s kitchen has also gained an LCG chef, John Messbarger, who has also worked at Elaia and Truffles. Messbarger’s roles in the kitchen include making house-made pastas for specials and helping with cured meats.

“When we first opened, we had a little money and a lot of big ideas. Now, five years later, we get to do it all again,” Randolph said. “It’s a grown-up Good Pie.” Randolph, who also owns Half & Half, hopes to open to the public Feb. 18.

Here’s what’s in store when doors open at The Good Pie.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

-photos by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Mission Taco Joint to expand in The Loop and Soulard

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

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While Adam and Jason Tilford are currently in San Francisco gathering inspiration for their newest restaurant venture, this afternoon they took a moment to catch up with The Scoop.

The brothers announced that this coming January, the space next to Mission Taco Joint will open as an overflow bar, designed for people who are waiting for a table or waiting to pick up food.

Why more space?

When Mission first opened less than a year ago, the brothers weren’t quite expecting the level of success the restaurant has been experiencing. “We didn’t think we would have much use for this little space,” Adam said. “Our plan was to have a little bodega, a Mexican market with milk, tortillas and staples, but two things changed that.” He explained that with the new Washington University housing development going up across the street from Mission and a giant Global Foods going under it, there really wasn’t a need for the bodega concept.

So they came up with a better idea. “We go on a wait every night, but there’s nowhere to wait, so we had the idea to change the bodega to a waiting bar,” Adam said. At the waiting bar, there will be 10 to 12 beers available by the can and bottle and a handful of cocktails. The bar, with the look of a beach taco stand with its corrugated tin roof, will also be a drink lab, of sorts – a place for the bartenders to experiment with new ideas. “Jimmy and Kyle [Mission’s bar manager and assistant bar manager] are really excited about it,” Adam said.

In addition to expanding next door, Mission Taco will also be expanding across town with another location at 908 Lafayette Ave., in Soulard.

As first reported by Ian Froeb of the Post-Dispatch, Adam signed the lease for the new space on Monday.

The Tilfords told The Scoop that the concept will pretty much be the same as the existing Mission. There will not be a take-out window though, and no patio seating. “It will have about 120 or 130 seats inside,” Adam said. “It also has a big garage door – a faux four seasons patio, and the door can go up.”

Along with the space and the location, the Tilfords are excited to be so close to iTap, where patrons will be able to order and carry-in Mission food. “We are right around the corner. Our back doors meet,” Jason said.

Look for the new Mission location to open in late spring.

— photo by Michelle Volansky

Meatless Monday: Veggie Pan-Stirred Noodles at Corner 17

Monday, August 19th, 2013

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Open for less than three weeks, Corner 17  already has a following in this office. What we like the most about this new bubble tea and Chinese restaurant, located at 6623 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop, are the hand-pulled noodles.

 

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Make tonight’s meal meatless by ordering the Veggie Pan-Stirred Noodles. The lack of a distinct sauce (just a touch of soy) allows the soft yet chewy noodles to shine through and not taste like a salt bomb just went off.  Although we’d be fine with just the noodles (There is nothing slimy or mushy about these guys.), the added bean sprouts, bits of broccoli, shredded carrots, cabbage and zucchini add color, texture – and fool us into thinking we’re eating healthy. If you can’t dine in, we recommend planning to stay a few minutes when you pick up, in order to see the noodles made before your eyes.

 

 

 

The Scoop: Chinese restaurant Corner 17 sets up shop in The Loop

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

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Corner 17 is up-and-running at 6623 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop, as Nancy Stiles of the Riverfront Times reported earlier this month. Corner 17 is a Chinese restaurant, specializing in noodle dishes, kabobs and bubble tea. Patrons can peer through a viewing glass to see the noodle-making action, then slurp those noodles with meat, seafood or vegetables in a sauce or as a soup. Asian kabobs likewise are available for meat, seafood or veg lovers. While bubble tea may be the big draw among beverages, the Corner 17 chalkboard menu lists a wide variety of drinks, including fruit teas, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, smoothies and slushes.

 

 

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