> ADAM TILFORD, co-owner of Tortillaria in the CWE, is working on construction of Milagro Modern Mexican, which will be located in The Shoppes at Old Webster in the space previously occupied by Natural Fact Foods. The 120-seater with full bar will be open for lunch and dinner, with a focus on grilled meats and seafood. Look for a mid-April or early May opening. Consulting on the project is Tilford’s brother, JASON TILFORD, who owns Barrister’s in Clayton and worked with restaurateur Chris LaRocca on Triumph Grill and the new Kota Wood Fire Grill, where he serves as executive chef.
> Restaurateur CLAUS SCHMITZ is planning a second location for Mosaic Modern Fusion Cuisine. This tapas restaurant will take up space in the old Schnucks spot on Manchester in Des Peres. Schmitz also plans to open Mosaic Market Bistro in the old Benito’s Gelato space on Central in Clayton; construction for that locale should begin mid-March. Finally, Schmitz has his eyes on the Centene Center, the building development at Forsyth and Hanley set to be completed this summer. Schmitz is hoping to use 6,000 square feet of space on the plaza level for Mosaic Steak Bar, a steak and seafood tapas concept restaurant. BILL KOMAN of The Koman Group, one of Centene’s equity partners, is bringing action of his own to the Clayton food scene. Look for his frozen yogurt shop, Chill, next to Protzel’s Deli on Wydown, with doors opening by April.
> March Madness: No, not the basketball kind, the restaurant kind! The following are slated for spring openings: McAlister’s Deli in the former KD Poppa’s spot on Central in Clayton; P’Sghetti’s in the former Caito’s spot on Manchester near Sappington in Glendale; and Llywelyn’s Pub is coming to Main Street in historic St. Charles. Bissinger’s in the CWE expanded its indoor and outdoor seating, plus they’ve added a stone fireplace and a wine wall. The grand opening is planned for early March.
> Congratulations to GERARD CRAFT and JOSH GALLIANO for being semifinalists in the Best Chef – Midwest category of the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards. It couldn’t happen to more deserving guys. Last year, Craft (Taste, Taste by Niche and Brasserie) and Galliano (Monarch), as well as Kevin Nashan (Sidney Street Cafe), were semifinalists, with Craft making it to the final round. This year’s winners will be announced in May at a gala awards ceremony and reception in NYC…Speaking of finalists, Pi’s exec pastry chef, Mathew Rice, made it all the way to the final round of casting for the inaugural season of Top Chef: Just Desserts. Rice trekked to L.A. for that baking showdown, and though he didn’t make the final cut, he hopes to go the distance next year.
> Cats and Critters: Tenth Life Cat Rescue is hosting a trivia night and bake sale at Mad Art Gallery tomorrow, Feb. 27, featuring sweet treats from Bittersweet Bakery, Black Bear, The Cupcake Project, The Cupcakery, Kakao, Local Harvest Café, McArthur’s and Sweet Art, among others. Proceeds benefit Tenth Life Cat Rescue, an animal welfare organization that assists injured, abused, and medically needy stray cats. For information, visit tenthlifecats.org.