The Scoop: Peculiar Penguin serves up NOLA-inspired fare, baked goods in Tower Grove South



A restaurant serving up New Orleans-inspired fare with a decidedly non-NOLA name has opened shop in Tower Grove South: Peculiar Penguin opened doors April 17. The 700-square-foot space is located at 4005 Utah St., as reported by Feast Magazine.

Tower Grove residents and co-owners Michael Catalanotto and Tess Baklor took over the kitchen when the owners of next-door AM Trading Co. announced they were closing their adjacent bakery, Annie Moons. “I was a customer at Annie Moons on more than a few occasions and when I found out they were closing their kitchen, I decided right then that it wasn’t really going to close,” Catalanotto said. “I wanted to take over.”

Peculiar Penguin is his first experience running a restaurant, but he has worked in the kitchens of The Dam, South City Diner and Café Eau at The Chase Park Plaza. The menu is a nod to Catalanotto’s roots with Southern Louisiana dishes like slow-cooked red beans and rice, andouille sausage and cornmeal-breaded catfish. Plenty of a la carte options are available; look for dishes like fried green tomatoes, cornbread, pecan-crusted okra and baked macaroni and cheese. “We’re trying to keep everything below $10,” he said.

The space’s baking history gets a nod, too. A rotating selection of cakes, breads, cookies and scones changes daily. Beverage options are on the healthy side, including selections from The London Tea Room, Confluence kombucha and fresh ground Chauvin Coffee. In true New Orleans fashion, Catalanotto hopes to offer crawfish boils on the 20-seat patio. Another 24 seats are available inside Peculiar Penguin.

And just how did the restaurant get such a peculiar moniker? It’s fairly simple. Catalanotto said Baklor already owned the website, currently under construction. Peculiar Penguin is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.