• There have been some changes afoot at Bixby’s of late. Executive chef TODD LOUGH has left the restaurant to accept a position at a resort in Florida, and sous chef CALLAGHAN CARTER, who has been at Bixby’s since it opened, has stepped in to helm the kitchen. The restaurant also recently debuted its new spring menu, which includes dishes such as seared beef tenderloin, grilled shrimp lasagna and black forest ham and asparagus crostini.
  • Oenophiles have another first-class place to pursue their love of the grape. The upper level of The Crossing in Clayton has been transformed into a wine bar. Owner JIM FIALA says the new space will focus for now on Mediterranean reds and Italian whites, as well as small plates and other adult beverages.
  • Online restaurant site Opinionated About Dining (opinionatedaboutdining.com) featured six St. Louis restaurants in its Top 25 Midwest list recently: Niche, Sidney Street Cafe, Brasserie by Niche, Tony’s, Taste by Niche and Farmhaus. Congrats!
  • Local purveyors Stringbean Coffee and Kakao Chocolate are teaming up to create some new chocolate and coffee confections. We’re told one of these will be a white chocolate bark topped with Stringbean’s Redeye Roast beans. The treats will be available at Kakao, which will also be offering bags of the premium coffee soon. The Maplewood Kakao location will be offering Stringbean Coffee for samples during the third annual Maplewood Coffee Crawl tomorrow from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Jilly’s Cupcakes was recently touted in USA Today as one of the 10 best places for cupcakes in the country. Well done!
  • GEORGE RANDALL, owner of the three Randall’s Wine & Spirits stores in the St. Louis area, is planning to open store No. 4 in West County sometime this year. He’s currently negotiating for a location at 141 and Manchester Road, and tells us he has several other possibilities in the area if this space doesn’t work out. Plans for the new store include a tasting bar, among other amenities.
  • In other local spirits news, Square One Brewery & Distillery’s J.J. Neukomm Malt Whiskey recently won a bronze medal in the Smoked Whiskey category at the American Distilling Institute’s Judging of American Artisan Spirits. And MATT SEITER, bar manager at Sanctuaria, has been invited to share his expertise in the area of cocktails on tap by leading a seminar on the subject at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail held in New Orleans, one of the premiere cocktail events of the year.

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