The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis has named MELISSA LEE as its new executive chef. Lee has been with the company since 2004. She replaces chef AZHAR MOHAMMAD, who is now at The Ritz-Carlton in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

It's finally official: Gerard Craft's latest, Pastaria, has opened for business in the Centenne Building in Clayton. We also mentioned a while back that Circle 7 Ranch Taphouse and Grill was getting ready to open in Ballwin. That eatery has opened its doors, as well, effective Sept. 24.

Chef ELIZABETH SCHUSTER, late of The Scottish Arms, is pursuing a new project with partner JAKE ALCORN that combines her love of food and film. Tenacious Eats, as the venture is named, promises a 'full-contact dining experience.' Schuster and company present a film with a culinary bent, then cook and serve dishes that tie in with what's happening onscreen, either directly or indirectly. The shows take place at Meyers Grove in The Grove neighborhood. Find out more at

The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis recently launched a two-year pilot project, Project Compost. The initiative includes a bevy of restaurants along Washington Avenue: Blondie's Wine & Coffee Bar; Caruso's Deli; Copia; The Dubliner; Flannery's; Gelateria Tavolini; Lola; Lucas Park Grille; Mizu Sushi Bar; Nara Cafe & Hookah Lounge; Prime 1000; The Over/Under Grille; Rosalita's; Rue 13; Washington Avenue Post; TREx; and Park Avenue Coffee. Each restaurant deposits its compostable waste in bins in the area. The goal is to divert more than 3,000 tons of organic food waste from landfills over the duration of the program, which was made possible by a grant from the Solid Waste Management District and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Lots of stuff of interest coming up for all the oenophiles out there. On Tuesday, Oct. 2, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., Balaban's Wine and Tapas Bar will host a wine tasting featuring the wares of Elyse Winery. Elyse's MICHELLE DUCKETT will be on hand to discuss the winery's offerings. Cost is $10 per person. Giovanni's on The Hill will host a five-course wine dinner featuring dishes paired with Beringer wines on Monday, Oct. 15, at 6:30 p.m. There will also be a representative from Beringer on hand to discuss the vino in detail. More info is available by calling 314-772-5958.

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--Matt Sorrell

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