Next stop, Clayton! STL Culinary Tours has added Clayton to its growing list of neighborhood-centric foodie excursions. On Saturday, March 9, the company will conduct a tour of some of Clayton's finest eateries. The tour will start at Bar Les Freres and will traverse the neighborhood, stopping at Extra Virgin, Oceano Bistro, Little Country Gentlemen and end up at I Fratellini. For more info and to purchase tickets, go online at

After five and a half years, owner BRAD BERACHA has announced he will close ARAKA in Clayton next month. Saturday, March 9, will be ARAKA’s last night of dinner service, followed by a farewell party starting at 9 p.m. Though he has no immediate plans to re-open in a different location, Beracha is not ruling out the possibility of bringing a new concept to St. Louis sometime in the future. "Distance will bring clarity, and I truly believe the best is yet to come."  

La Patisserie Chouquette, the long-awaited boutique bakery from former Ritz-Carlton pastry chef SIMONE FAURE, has finally opened its doors at 1626 Tower Grove Ave. in the Botanical Heights neighborhood. Faure tells us the bakery will specialize in over-the-top custom creations, like her signature edible shoes and handbags, as well as edible wedding dress recreations. The venture is a partnership between Faure and BEN POREMBA, chef/owner at Elaia & Olio across the street, where you’ll find Faure's delicacies on the dessert menu.

Kudos to chefs GERARD CRAFT of Craft Restaurants Ltd. and KEVIN NASHAN of Sidney Street Cafe. Both have been named semi-finalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards' Best Chef-Midwest. They'll find out Monday, March 18, if they made it to the finals. Good luck, chefs!

Congratulations to Cielo, Niche, Giovanni’s on the Hill, The Grill (at The Ritz-Carlton) and Tony’s, for once again being honored with a AAA Four Diamond Award. Only 2.6 percent of the 29,000 AAA-rated restaurants earned the Four Diamond Award in 2013. Well done!

Saveur magazine has been showing St. Louis lots of love recently. South County's The Donut Stop was featured on the magazine's recent list of the 50 best donut shops in the country. And Whiskey Seduction, an original cocktail from CORY CUFF of Cielo at the Four Seasons was featured, along with the hotel's virtual cocktail class, on the publication's website.

MICHELE COEN-RACANELLI of Michele C. Catering & Events has announced she'll be opening The Dam, a new burger restaurant located at 3173 Morgan Ford Road in South City (next to the Amsterdam Tavern) sometime in May.

Both Nadoz Cafe locations (at the Coronado in Midtown and at The Boulevard development in Richmond Heights) now have a juice bar, where patrons can choose from 11 different made-to-order blends.

Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood is hosting a Taste Of Oregon dinner on Thursday, March 7. The feast will include beers from Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Ore., paired with regional delicacies such as dungeness crab, squab, veal short ribs and gingersnap custard and molasses cookies. Cost is $75 per person and reservations can be made at 802-7676.