◆ Looks like the sale of the former Busch’s Grove property to a partnership that includes Il Bel Lago owners FRANK and CARMELO GABRIELE is still pending. Carmelo Gabriele tells us that the hope is to close on the property by the end of September, with the restaurant opening sometime in early January. Originally, the restaurant was set to debut Nov. 1.

◆ As the construction at the Saint Louis Art Museum moves steadily forward, plans are underway for a 100-seat restaurant, as well as a casual 60-seat café in the museum’s new East Building. Museum officials announced they have “begun the search for a restaurant operator capable of providing exciting dining concepts and the highest level of service, as well as a robust schedule of catering activity.” Interested restaurateurs should email catherine@manask.com.

◆The sixth annual Thirst For Life to benefit St. Louis Effort For AIDS will take place Thursday, Aug. 25. Participating establishments will donate 20 percent or more of your beverage tab to PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), a program that helps those living with HIV/AIDS keep their pet companions as long as possible. For a list of participating venues, visit stlefa.org.

◆ Local Harvest Grocery & Cafe is introducing a new monthly get-together, Friday Night Bites, to showcase dishes made from recipes submitted by Local Harvest customers and fans. Those interested can submit their favorite recipe featuring the ingredient of the month to contact@localharvestgrovery.com. Selected recipes will be prepared by Local Harvest chefs and passed out as samples. The first event, focusing on apples, will be held Friday, Sept. 23, from 5 to 7 p.m. on the Local Harvest parking lot. There will be apple growers on hand, live music, as well as beer and wine for sampling and purchase.

◆JIM FIALA’s Liluma in the CWE has added The Side Door, a back dining room that’s accessed via, well, a side door on Euclid Avenue. According Fiala, they are “cooking classic American dishes using the ‘Old World’ techniques we have learned over the years, but calling them by the familiar terms we all know and love.” The menu consists mainly of small portions priced from $4 to $10. Liluma’s front dining room, menu and hours will remain unchanged. The Side Door will be open from 5 p.m. until closing, and won’t take reservations.

◆ Looking for something different to do this fall? Registration is now underway for culinary classes at the Missouri Botanical Garden, where they’re offering everything from making sushi and Garden-inspired Asian soups to Kakao candy making and a trip to Kaldi’s roasting facility. For a complete list of classes, visit mobot.org/classes or call 577-5140.

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