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Posts Tagged ‘Three Flags Tavern’

The Scoop: Three Flags Tavern chef-owner to helm Herbie’s kitchen

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017




The chef-owner of the recently shuttered Three Flags Tavern has landed a new job as executive chef at Herbie’s in Clayton.

John O’Brien’s first day at the helm is today, May 17. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, O’Brien replaces Patrick Shaughnessy, who took over in March after the departure of Christopher Vomund.

“I was looking for someone who had the type of experience, knowledge and management style that matched up with the kind of business that we do today,” said Herbie’s owner Aaron Tietelbaum. “We’re kind of an old guard-style restaurant and I need somebody running my kitchen that has the capability to understand classics and tradition, while at the same time having the ability to manage a young and excited team, and John fit that bill perfectly.”

Three Flags Tavern closed in March after three years in business.

Teitelbaum said Shaughnessy is definitely a talent in the kitchen, but he wasn’t the best fit for executive chef position.

“Patrick is a spectacular cook, and he does amazing food, but I think it was a little bit too big of a team and operation for an executive chef’s first executive chef job,” Teitelbaum said. “And I hired him knowing that, and I probably put him in a position where he wasn’t quite ready for. He’s got a lot of potential, and he will do something great with somebody at some point.”

Teitelbaum said O’Brien will bring some of the dishes he was known for at Three Flags Tavern, and they will also work together to create new menu items. He said the target is 45 to 60 days for a menu change.

O’Brien said he could definitely see Three Flags’ famous burger and lobster roll making appearances on Herbie’s menu, and due to his penchant for seafood, he hopes to beef up the restaurant’s oyster program as well.

O’Brien was almost ready to pursue a position in Cape Cod when he got a call from Teitelbaum.

“I was about five minutes away from moving,” O’Brien said, but he was attracted to the larger scale operation at Herbie’s. He also has some history with the brand, having worked for Herbie Balaban in the 1980s.

“It was important to find someplace I feel comfortable in,” he said. “I like the restaurant, I like the French style. It’s how I like to cook and how I like to eat.”


Photo by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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The Scoop: Riverbend Restaurant closes

Monday, March 27th, 2017



Riverbend Restaurant & Bar, located at 1059 S. Big Bend Blvd., in Richmond Heights, has closed. The last day of service was Sunday, March 26, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

Owner Sam Kogos opened Riverbend in 2010 in Soulard after relocating from New Orleans. The restaurant moved to its Richmond Heights location in 2014.

Kogos did not return requests for comment, but Riverbend’s website and a message on the restaurant’s voicemail confirmed the closure.

This follows on the heels of another prominent closing, Three Flags Tavern, in early March, also reported by St. Louis Magazine. Owner John O’Brien did not respond to multiple requests for comment since the closure. The restaurant opened in 2014; Sauce reviewed it in August of that year.


Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2014

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Sauce restaurant critic Michael Renner has tasted his fair share of St. Louis cuisine. All year, he shared his thoughts on New and Notable restaurants, from pizza to Southern fare to pasta. Here, he shares his top five dishes of 2014:




No. 5: Bread Basket at Juniper
Despite all the great food — the deviled eggs, that tangy pimento grilled cheese, fine fried chicken — I’m going with Juniper’s bread basket because even at $9, it’s a worthy indulgence when there’s buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, hush puppies, popovers and fluffy angel biscuits made with lard.




No. 4: Short Rib Pappardelle at Cucino Pazzo
Perfectly al dente house-made pappardelle noodles, carrots, celery and tender, beefy short ribs braised for 16 hours in red wine all in a sauce of cipollini onions and roasted mushrooms? No wonder it’s their most popular dish.




No. 3: Venison Chop at Element
Just like baseball season, it’s gone but it sure was memorable. That farm-raised venison was something. Tasting richer than beef, the big, bone-in seared, savory chop lacked the gaminess of its wild cousin. Roasted root vegetables and a smoked Concord grape sauce balanced winter earthiness with subtle sweetness.





No. 2: Hamburger at Three Flags Tavern
Of course Three Flags’ beef brisket was ground in-house, but it was the house-baked potato bun that didn’t disintegrate and the house sauce (mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and pickle juice) that made this burger such a savory package. A close runner-up: the pan-fried chicken and the accompanying biscuit baked while the bird fries.

And my No. 1 dish of 2014 is…





Lobster Roll at Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.

Regardless of the style — Maine (served cold with mayo) or Connecticut (tossed with drawn butter and served warm) — what made these rolls even more notable than the chunks of fresh, tender, sweet lobster was the bun: a split-top brioche bun griddled to a buttery, toasted perfection, soft enough for fingers to gently crunch, yet substantial enough cradle all that meat.


And an honorable mention goes to the duck confit at Jax Café Chef-owner Brian Hale showed style and whimsy with a savory chipotle-cherry pancake topped with arugula, creamed corn and a confit of duck leg. A lot of competition for a limited number of taste buds produced surprisingly complementary flavors.

-photos by Jonathan Gayman

Trendwatch: A look at what’s on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now – Part 2

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Click here to read Part 1 of Trendwatch.






4. Eveything’s Better with Uni: Whether it’s Peter Gilmore at Quay in the land down under or April Bloomfield at The John Dory in NYC, top chefs around the world are diving into uni. When the sushi chefs at Baiku get their hands on the sweet, briny roe sacs from a prickly sea urchin, they get egg crazy with an uni shooter special: The creamy uni, a quail egg, masago and tobiko (capelin roe and flying fish roe, respectively) all swim in a sake-filled champagne flute. Or, try the spreadable version when Baiku runs its special of salmon with uni butter. The Libertine’s Josh Galliano proved uni has a place outside of Asian and seafood restaurants when he pureéd the raw orange lobes with sungold tomatoes for an uni sorbet to accompany tomato toast. Uni is nothing new to Vince Bommarito Jr. When the venerable Tony’s chef gets the itch to cook with the delicacy, it usually ends up on a billowy bed of house-made fettuccine. And we thought the egg-on-everything trend was nearing an end.

5. A Side of Flan: Jiggly flan always equals caramel custard, right? Wrong. Stop looking for the silky egg custard on the dessert menu and check out the entrees instead. Find carrot flan served on the side of duck confit at newly opened Avenue in Clayton, spoon up the horseradish flan served with rainbow trout at Three Flags Tavern or try Modesto’s goat cheese and salmon flan.

6. Don’t Be a Chicken … Eat the Skin: We all know the best part of fried chicken is the crispy, greasy skin. Recently, area chefs indulged us by ditching the meat altogether and taking strips of fatty chicken skin straight to the fryer. During the summer and into fall, Juniper featured fried chicken skins as a starter, and during a one-night-only event at the CWE restaurant, guest chefs Jeff Friesen of Farmhaus and Andrew Jennrich of The Butchery unveiled their ingenious idea for chicken skin: Wrap it around okra. At Franco, it wasn’t decadent enough for chef Jon Dreja to roll chicken around black truffles and pistachios; he served the roulade with a wedge of crispy chicken skin.

7. Tapping into Local Maple Syrup: Funk’s Grove was once the only local choice for sweet tree sap, but now the maple syrup market is booming, and chefs are stocking up. Just a year after its first bottling, DeSoto homestead Such & Such Farm saw its liquid amber stocked in pantries at Juniper, Dressel’s and The Libertine. New among maple syrup suppliers is Michael Gehman, the man formerly known as Veggie Boy, now the owner of Double Star Farms. Gehman peddles Raber’s Sugar Bush, a grade B maple syrup from Flat Rock, Illinois, to numerous area restaurants.







Trendwatch: A look at what’s on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now – Part 1

Monday, December 8th, 2014



1. Fishy Doughnuts: French fritters stuffed with fish and seafood have been washing up on menus all over town. Even if you missed Niche’s smoked trout beignets with sorghum butter and chives, you can still bite into beer-battered brandade beignets of salted cod, potatoes and garlic at Urban Chestnut’s Brewery & Bierhall in The Grove, lobster beignets at Three Flags Tavern and spicy crab beignets at Vin de Set. The classic French market doughnut has never tasted so much like the sea.

2. Top Muffins: What could go better with eggs than a homemade English muffin? You don’t have to head to David Chang’s Momofuku Ko to get a killer house-made version. Restaurants like Death in the Afternoon and Winslow’s Home ditched the bag of Thomas brand rounds and baked their own. Grab a fried egg sandwich at Winslow’s to experience the difference. And any time you eye the sporadically available English muffin at microbakery Comet Coffee, snatch it. Prepare to become an English muffin addict when cafe-bakery Union Loafers opens (“Soon!” promised owner-baker Ted Wilson.). Look for the breakfast staple at the Botanical Heights shop along with a bialy, a Polish roll that’s a cross between an English muffin and a bagel.

3. Forest on the Plate: Cooking with conifer is an art form at René Redzepi’s restaurant, Noma, in Copenhagen, and pine has popped up on plates here at home, too, at places like Sidney Street Cafe, where spruce oil brightened pistachio-encrusted scallops, or Blood & Sand, where they’re grinding toasted juniper berries to season chicharrónes. Also spied at B&S: an Asian pear salad with a buttermilk-juniper sauce and juniper-hemp seed crumble.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of Trendwatch.





Drink This Weekend Edition: Local spirits shine at Three Flags Tavern

Friday, May 23rd, 2014



At newly-opened bar and restaurant Three Flags Tavern, located in the heart of Southwest Garden neighborhood, local spirits are taking center stage.

We recommend trying the whole cocktail menu, but if you must be responsible, start with the 314, an unaged Manhattan featuring Pinckney Bend white corn whiskey, Mad Buffalo Thunderbeast Storm Moonshine, Benedictine, Dolin Blanc and Boston Bittahs. Three Flags bar manager Nicholas Crow, creator of the 314, loves that Mad Buffalo Distillery, located in Union, Missouri, makes its own mash for its moonshine, which he thinks sets the liquor apart.

For your second drink, look no further than Chouteau’s Funeral. We loved this light but not too-sweet-whiskey drink so much that we begged Crow for his recipe.

Chouteau’s Funeral
Recipe courtesy of Three Flags Tavern’s Nicholas Crow
1 Serving

1¾ oz. Still 630 Rally Point Rye Whiskey
¾ oz. Yellow Chartreuse
¼ oz. lemon juice
¼ oz. St. Elizabeth’s allspice dram
Luxardo cherry to garnish

• In a cocktail shaker, build the whiskey, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice and allspice dram over ice and shake 8 seconds. Fine strain into a coupe or fluted chalice, garnish with the cherry and serve.


Hit List: 4 new places to try in May

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014


Three Flags Tavern: 4940 Southwest Ave., St. Louis, 314.669.9222, threeflagstavern.com

Patrons of the former Harry’s Bar and Grill in the Southwest Garden neighborhood may not recognize their old haunt, now transformed into Three Flags Tavern. The menu pays tribute to the cuisines of Spain, France and the U.S., whose flags were raised on Three Flags Day, the tavern’s namesake. Choose a wine from the 18 by-the-glass options to pair with your meal, which should include the cheesy, light-as-air lobster beignets. Continue your crustacean indulgence with a buttery Connecticut-style lobster roll in a house-made potato bun (the mayo-laced Maine style is also available), or savor the braised pork shank, swimming in the tavern’s take on posole.



The Salted Pig: 731 S. Lindbergh Blvd., Frontenac, 314.738.9373, thesaltedpigstl.com

Michael Del Pietro, owner of four area Italian concepts, has moved past pasta. New Southern cuisine is the focus at The Salted Pig, whose menu includes small bites, soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees. Start with an order of roasted Brussels sprouts, made sweet and spicy thanks to house-cured bacon and caramelized onions, all napped in a delicious sweet hot sauce. We licked our fingers clean after eating the fried chicken [1] – crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside from a three-day bath in a buttermilk brine. Served in a 10-inch skillet, this half-chicken is easily a meal for two. In the mood for barbecue? You can’t go wrong with pitmaster Ken Dennison’s slab of ribs seasoned with a dry rub and slathered with a sweet house-made sauce. A minimalist design in the 175-seat space showcases beautiful repurposed wood – from low- and high-top tables to a bench spanning the length of the dining area to a statement wall of stacked timber.



Ballpark Village: 601 Clark Ave., St. Louis, 314.345.9481, stlballparkvillage.com

Ballpark Village boasts five distinct venues at which to dine (with more on the way) and even more places to grab a drink. In the atrium of this newly completed, 120,000-square-foot entertainment district, feast on a juicy Bacon Three Way Burger while you watch the ballgame on a 40-foot wide TV. Or head to Budweiser Brew House’s swanky rooftop deck or its Biergarten, complete with fireplace, communal tables and Adirondack chairs. Wash down the Brew House’s fish and chips with a Goose Island Honker’s Ale. Feeling nostalgic? Outside at Busch-II-Infield, located on the old Busch Stadium’s baseball diamond, the kids can play catch while you relax with a beer on the same ground where legends were made.


The Tap – An American Restaurant & Brewery: 3803 Elm St., St. Charles, 636.724.4242, gotothetap.com

While house-made microbrews are on the horizon at The Tap – An American Restaurant & Brewery, this new St. Charles venue boasts nearly 200 bottled beers, another 18 on draft (many of them local), plus tap handles for wine and cocktails. Thirsty patrons can enjoy a round at the bar, which sports a 30-foot frost rail, or draw their own pints of beer at one of five self-service tap tables. If you’ve sworn off toasted ravioli, now’s the time to cheat. The Tap’s house-made T-ravs are larger than life and expertly cooked. Same goes for its Tap Cakes – a delectable mix of lobster, crab and smoked salmon – and no-frills French onion soup. The somewhat frenetic space is jammed with hovering flat-screen TVs and beer art on the walls, and even a hot sauce cart that avails diners to 150 bottles – some with a healthy kick, some downright dangerous.

-photos by Michelle Volansky


The Scoop: Three Flags Tavern to open in Southwest Garden neighborhood in December

Monday, November 11th, 2013



Three Flags Tavern is on target to open in late December in the former Harry’s Bar and Grill space at 4940 Southwest Ave., in Southwest Gardens. St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe reported in July that husband-and-wife owners John and Cathy O’Brien were opening the restaurant. The Scoop recently caught up with John O’Brien – a chef whose 30-plus-year career has taken him to such kitchens in St. Louis as the old Balaban’s in the CWE, The Ritz-Carlton, McGurk’s, King Louie’s, The St. Louis Club, Chase Park Plaza, Adam’s Mark, and, most recently, Table Three in Wildwood – to learn first-hand about his concept and the food and drinks that will soon fly under the Three Flags Tavern banner.

Three Flags Tavern will offer American, French and Spanish fare “because that’s the food that I eat,” summed O’Brien. However, in searching for something to tie the three cuisines together, the St. Louis native came upon Three Flags Day, which took place in St. Louis March 9 and 10 in 1804. During the two-day ceremonial transfer of the Louisiana Territory, three different flags marked who ruled the city. The Spanish flag was lowered and the French flag was raised and flown for 24 hours instead of being immediately lowered (as originally planned) because it was so enthusiastically received by the townspeople. The next day, one red, white and blue flag came down, while another bearing the Stars and Stripes was raised. This cleared the way for Lewis and Clark to begin their exploration of the new territory. “Our local history is directly relevant [to Three Flags Tavern]. It explains the menu,” said O’Brien, adding, ”and people like stories.”

O’Brien hopes that guests will leave Three Flags telling great stories about the tavern’s food and drink. Besides a tight dinner menu (prominent with hearty meat and seafood entrees), the restaurant will offer a rotating selection of daily soups, salads, sandwiches and a roast meat plate, as well as weekend brunch. Cathy O’Brien will manage the front of the house.

Although O’Brien doesn’t posit Three Flags as a “drinking bar,” it will have an extensive by-the-glass wine list, with 20 options between reds and whites, as well as six local craft beers on tap. Running the bar will be Nick Crow, who recently left his position behind the bar at Mission Taco Joint. The handful of cocktails on the menu will be classics, O’Brien noted.

The 44-seat space is currently “hot and heavy under construction,” according to O’Brien, who is working with local firm Space Architects on the interior design. Upon completion, a focal point in the dining area will be a large map on the wall that depicts the Louisiana Territory.



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