The new location of chef GERARD CRAFT's flagship restaurant, Niche, officially opened its doors to the public earlier this month. The restaurant is in the Centene Plaza Building in Clayton, next door to Craft's newest concept, Pastaria, which opened in September. Niche's former home on Sidney Street in Benton Park will now serve as Craft's test kitchen for culinary research and development.

Speaking of Craft, he also was named one of 10 Empire Builders 2012 in the December issue of Food & Wine. He made the list "because he's giving St. Louis culinary credibility" with his stable of eclectic eateries. Other areas of the local culinary scene are getting national attention, as well. PHIL WYMORE, co-founder and brewmaster at Perennial Artisan Ales, talks about the brewery's Heart Of Gold wheat wine in the latest issue of Imbibe. And the STL food truck scene continues to garner nationwide accolades. Guerilla Street Food, Cha Cha Chow and Seoul Taco all were named to The Daily Meal's Top 101 Food Trucks in America list.

Lumiere Place, River City Casino and Clear Channel Communications have teamed up to help hearing impaired children and adults this holiday season. Lumiere Place and River City Casino have each created life-sized gingerbread houses at their locations that can actually be reserved for dining through Dec. 26. The houses are 14-feet tall, 10-feet wide and can accommodate a family of four. A prix-fixe holiday menu is available, and guests also may order off the regular menus. One hundred percent of each $20 reservation fee will go directly to the Center For Hearing & Speech.

Elaia & Olio, the new dual-concept project from Salume Beddu's BEN POREMBA, has opened at 1634 Tower Grove Ave. Elaia is located in a renovated brick home from the 1890's, and serves fine Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Olio is adjacent, housed in a renovated 1930s gas station and has an extensive wine list.

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, The Partnership For Downtown and the St. Louis Sports Commission are hosting ‘Lunch With The Home Teams’ from noon until 1:30 p.m. at the Redbird Club in Busch Stadium. BILL DEWITT III of the St. Louis Cardinals, TOM STILLMAN of the St. Louis Blues, and KEVIN DEMOFF of the St. Louis Rams will all speak about their respective teams. Reservations begin at $40, and can be made online at

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