• Crushed Red-Urban Bake & Chop Shop, the new fast-casual eatery from restaurateur CHRIS LAROCCA, has officially opened at 8007 Maryland Ave., in the old Dick Blick location.
  • Chicago-based Potbelly Sandwich Shop has announced via its website that it’ll be opening a location in the old Provisions Gourmet Market building in Creve Coeur. No word yet as to how much of the space the restaurant will occupy. Opening is slated for this summer.
  • Sombrero Mexican Food opened its 20th location Feb. 22, in O’Fallon, Mo., at 1491 Mexico Loop Road. The eatery, located in the former home of Del Taco, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and features simple, home-style dishes. The owner/franchisee of the new Sombrero is JOHN BARNETT of The Melting Pot fame. The Sombrero chain is headquartered in San Diego.
  • Local chef and restaurateur JIM FIALA is headed to New York City next month. He’s been invited by True Refrigeration of O’Fallon, Mo., to prepare a multi-course dinner for 50 home design professionals at NYC’s James Beard House.
  • Some of the best bartenders in the area will be competing at the
    2012 Don Q/United States Bartender’s Guild St. Louis Mix-Off on Sunday, March 4, at Blood & Sand downtown. The winner of the contest will compete against other guild chapter winners at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic in May. This year, the event is open to the public. Admission can be obtained for a donation of $25, with proceeds benefiting the USBG, as well as Stray Rescue. Samples of the competing cocktails and light apps will be offered. RSVP to usbgstl@gmail.com.
  • Modesto Tapas Bar & Restaurant is commemorating its 10th anniversary by publishing a cookbook featuring some of its most popular recipes. Owner BRENDAN MARSDEN and executive chef GRACE DINSMOOR have put together a list of 25 of their favorites, and are  asking for feedback from Modesto’s Facebook fans. Eight of the recipes, one per week, will be shared on the Modesto FB page, and fans are encouraged to view, share and test the recipes at home. Those who offer feedback or photos of their final results will be entered in a weekly giveaway, which may include Modesto gift certs and copies of the book. Some of the comments and photos might even make it into the final  version of the book.

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