Once again, St. Louis has been recognized nationally for its culinary prowess. Chefs KEVIN NASHAN of Sidney Street Cafe; GERARD CRAFT of Niche; KEVIN WILLMANN of Farmhaus and JOSH GALLIANO of Monarch all have been named semi-finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category of the 2012 James Beard Awards. And chef WES JOHNSON’s Salt in the CWE, which opened just last spring, is a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant. Good luck to all!

Nico, the latest project from the folks who brought Franco in Soulard to the forefront of the local culinary scene, is now open in the Delmar Loop at 6525 Delmar Blvd., in the space that used to house Brandt’s Cafe.

Originally expected to open late last year, BlackFinn American Grille is now scheduled to debut in late March at the northern end of the Saint Louis Galleria (in the space formerly occupied by Mark Shale). The eatery will be the chain’s only Midwest location.

The Kaldi’s Coffee location in Clayton recently made Food & Wine Magazine’s list of the 30 best coffee bars in the country. Congrats!

St. Louis has yet another quality coffee purveyor: Former commercial banker PETER COHEN started Stringbean Coffee Company just last November, and his beans are already making a splash around town. There are currently four roasts available, including decaf, in which Cohen uses the Swiss Water process instead of chemicals to remove the caffeine. Go to stringbeans.net to find out who’s stocking the brand.

For readers who participate in the St. Louis Originals program, Three Kings Public House, at 6307 Delmar Blvd. in the Loop, is now part of the group, which includes some three dozen of the area’s top independent restaurants. The organization has more than 30,000 Rewards Card members, who earn points for discount purchases when they use their cards at participating restaurants.

Cheese-ology Macaroni & Cheese is now offering free delivery to Clayton and U. City addresses, plus the eastern part of the Loop up to the Delmar Station area. There’s no minimum order required either.

Food Outreach is holding its 24th annual A Tasteful Affair April 15 at The Chase Park Plaza. The event, billed as Ye Olde A Tasteful Affaire, will feature a Renaissance theme. More than 40 of the area’s finest restaurants and caterers will be providing samples to nosh on, and there will be more than 100 silent and live auction items to bid on. Proceeds will benefit Food Outreach’s mission to provide vital nutritional support to those battling cancer or HIV/AIDS in the greater St. Louis area. For more info, call 652-3663, ext. 122 or visit foodoutreach.org.

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