• These are busy times for Monarch Restaurant’s Aaron Teitelbaum. On the heels of BRIAN HALE’s departure to become executive chef for the Chase, Teitelbaum and partner JEFF ORBIN are trying to bring back Balaban’s (under a new name). The good news is that MATT McGUIRE, formerly of King Louie’s, has signed on to the management team at Monarch, their flagship contemporary American restaurant. Teitelbaum is keeping the name of his new Monarch executive chef to himself, at least for now, while he dons chef’s whites to head the kitchen himself.

• In the revolving door of chefdom…former Balaban’s chef ANDY WHITE has left his own bistro, Off the Vine, to become chef/manager at The Schlafly Tap Room. MIKE SANO is the new head chef at Off the Vine.

• Put the Grapevine Grill at Chaumette Vineyards & Winery on your ‘where to eat’ list during your next visit to Ste. Genevieve wine country: The new executive chef is ADAM LAMBAY! Bringing his kitchen creds from such Clayton spots as Cafe Mira, 12 North, Portabella, and Araka, Lambay is maximizing local products from the Mississippi River Hills Association in his lunch and dinner menus. The Grill’s contemporary American cuisine complements the wines and the Charleville microbrewed draught beer served at Chaumette. Adam is also leading design and menu development for the future poolside bistro at Belle Haven, the spa at Chaumette.

• KLAUS FRITSCH, co-founder of Morton’s The Steakhouse, was in Clayton Aug. 5 to christen Bar 12 • 21, the new glass-fronted bar that graces our local Morton’s, and to cut the ribbon on the brand-new patio. He commented that the new decor and martini menu “make it clear to the ladies that Morton’s is not just an old man’s club anymore.” You might want to check out the space at the Aug. 25 Chimay Belgian beer tasting event, when $5 of the $45 ticket price benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

• Cafe Osage, a most lovely eatery, recently opened daily, serving breakfast and lunch in the Central West End. JOHN McPHEETER, owner of nearby Bowood Farms nursery and garden store, built much of the adjacent cafe with his own hands. Check out the cork floor and copper-top bar! Two Davids are in the kitchen: DAVID GUEMPEL of Zinnia fame and DAVID KIRKLAND of Frazer’s Brown Bag. The menu is pretty straightforward, with many of the ingredients harvested from the veggie garden across the street and the herb garden on the roof. The bison sausage and burgers are made on the farm in Clarksville, where McPheeter raises Bowood Bison. It’s located at 4605 Olive St.

• Kudos to JAMES FIALA, whose Acero restaurant in Maplewood got a call-out in Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant issue! The Acero recipe featured in the prominent national gastronomic magazine will be served as the third course of a special wine dinner at the restaurant Aug. 20: five courses for $48 (including house-made gnocchi and ravioli!)

Got something for Spicy Bits? Write to Amy Peck Abraham at spicybits@laduenews.com.

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