4 Hens Creole Kitchen team will open Simply Delicious in downtown St. Louis in August
4 Hens Creole Kitchen executive chef and co-owner Brandi Artis and her wife Brittany Artis (co-owner and business manager) are opening a second restaurant at 1115 Pine St. in downtown St. Louis called Simply Delicious in late August.
“I’ve always wanted to open a breakfast, lunch and brunch restaurant so I could be home by 3 [p.m.] to be with the kids,” Brandi Artis said.
Building on the quick success of 4 Hens at City Foundry STL, which opened in January 2022, Brandi Artis had the opportunity to sign a lease for a brick-and-mortar. The concept breathes new life into her former catering company in Chicago, also called Simply Delicious. Brandi Artis signed the lease for the space that used to be Good Buddy’s Tasty Soups & Sandwiches on May 27, which happens to be her birthday. “Life is short and when you sit still on it, you let opportunities go by. Not a lot of opportunities come by for black and brown girls, so I took the leap,” Brandi Artis said.
Simply Delicious will offer a completely different menu than 4 Hens. However, a few things will carry through to the new concept: a dash of 4 Hens Creole seasoning and sauces on certain menu items; and Little Chicks Lemonade, which was made with the help of their two children: Braylei Artis, who is almost 2, and Britton Artis, who will soon be 5.
The Simply Delicious menu is personal to Artis and her journey as chef. It holds recipes from her catering days in Chicago, which began about seven years ago. Some items that will be ported over include spicy agave chicken tenders, as well as Hot and Sticky, a recipe with french bread baked in the oven with caramelized brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. When served with the agave chicken tenders, the pairing is called Sticky Chicky. There will also be a shakshuka dish that pays homage to her Lebanese heritage but with a modern twist: pita, feta cheese and cilantro instead of parsley.
The restaurant is in the process of acquiring a liquor license for a full bar, which can take up to six months. In the meantime, they have a BYOB policy. The cocktail menu is still in the works, but the drinks will have a sophisticated and playful flair. There will also be a selection of local beers and wines, though specific offerings have not yet been determined.
Chef Derrick Hickman, Brandi’s friend and “brother from another mother,” will run the Simply Delicious kitchen when she isn’t there. “Opening up something like this, you’re really taking a chance,” Hickman said. “But if you cook for the right reasons, if you cook for love, everything else will flourish.”
The owners plan to offer an inclusive environment and will host drag brunches on the patio. “Identifying as a queer woman of color, I’ve been in spaces that didn’t reflect me. [Simply Delicious] is hopefully going to be an inclusive space for all,” Brittany Artis said.
Brandi Artis wasted no time painting and decorating the “bohemian-chic” space to prepare for opening. “I made every piece of artwork on the wall,” she said. “Every leaf has been placed by me. This is my baby. It’s a true labor of love. We didn’t use a designer, so all of this is my own dream coming to fruition.”
The 1,200-square-foot restaurant will have room for about 50 guests inside, along with about 45 on the 1,000-square-foot patio. Another 18 will be able to sit on picnic tables on the front sidewalk.
Guests will order straight from a QR code, reducing the amount of wait staff on the floor. True to its roots, Simply Delicious will also offer catering.
Hours will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The owners plan to eventually add evening hours for Taco Tuesdays. Carryout will be available, as well as delivery via third-party apps.
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