nachos at loaded, clockwise from left: marty’s reuben nachos, toasted ravioli nachos, banh mi nachos and mediterranean nachos photo by meera nagarajan

First Look: Loaded: Elevated Nachos in St. Charles

Brandon Holzhueter and Brad Merten, co-owners of Narwahl’s Crafted, opened Loaded: Elevated Nachos at 1450 Beale St. in St. Charles on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The duo signed the lease on the space in November 2019 in preparation for an opening in summer 2020 but delayed their launch due to the pandemic.

There's an array of nacho dishes, ranging from crab rangoon and banh mi to toasted ravioli and Jamaican jerk. For a lighter option, all nachos can be served atop greens to make a salad or on top of farro to make a grain bowl. Vegetarian protein substitutions like mushrooms or plant-based Impossible “meat” are available as well.  

Currently on the dessert menu is a cannoli nacho with sweetened mascarpone cheese served with cinnamon-sugar wonton chips topped with a mixed berry jam, strawberries, chocolate shavings and orange zest.  

Dan Sammons, previously of Polite Society and the now-closed Demun Oyster Bar, helms the kitchen at Loaded. His experience at those restaurants demonstrated his ability to make creative, composed dishes. Subdivision, the fast-casual ghost kitchen Polite Society launched in response to the pandemic, was largely Sammons’ project. These varied experiences made him the right fit for Loaded, Holzhueter said. 

To go with the food menu, Merten and Holzhueter have been working on a non-alcoholic drink menu. “The [non-alcoholic] thing is something people want in the fast-casual space, and we’re trying to grow the NA draft cocktail program here,” Merten said. Current options include a cranberry-thyme limeade on tap and a cafe tonic made with house-made tonic syrup and cold brew coffee from Course Coffee Roasters in St. Charles; a pineapple-cilantro non-alcoholic margarita is also in the works. 

The space, designed by Atomic Dust, seats 32 inside and 20 outside, weather permitting. Loaded: Elevated Nachos is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day but Monday.