> CWE news: The West End will soon welcome The Vino Gallery. Located on the corner of McPherson and Walton avenues, the wine shop and art gallery will offer boutique wines, wine classes and art openings…Although the space that Chez Leon occupied on Laclede Avenue is still home to the fabulous French bistro Brasserie (now serving lunch and Sunday brunch, by the way), we were saddened when Leon Birnbaum’s venerated eatery closed last fall. But Birnbaum has reopened in Clayton at 7927 Forsyth Boulevard in the former Bistro Alexander spot…Companion Bakery has closed its cafe on Maryland Avenue near Euclid Avenue, but you can still enjoy their fresh fare at the Clayton and Ladue locations.
> Cardinals chatter: Come April 12, we’ll get to see Holliday dressed for the Cardinal’s home opener, and those of us not lucky enough to score tickets can happily watch it on the big screen at Ozzie’s Sports Bar on Washington Avenue just south of City Museum. Ozzie’s closed its Westport Plaza location this past fall, and though the Hall of Famer isn’t an owner this time around, you’ll still be able to see some of #1’s memorabilia on display at the restaurant.
> Oceano Bistro has a great rotation of top area chefs for its upcoming Guest Chef Charity Dinners. On Jan. 21, Robust Wine Bar executive chef Mike Morton will showcase his talents at the Clayton seafood restaurant, followed by Mark Curran of Araka on Feb. 18 and Truffles’ Jimmy Jackson on March 18. The January dinner benefits College Bound, a charity that provides high school students with the skills they need to succeed in college. Proceeds from the February and March events benefit Healing the Children and The March of Dimes, respectively. To make reservations for the $65 dinners, which include five courses and wine, visit oceanobistro.com.
> Mark your calendars: Jan. 25 through 31 marks the inaugural Clayton Restaurant Week. Diners can visit any of 17 restaurants and select from a three-course dinner menu, priced at $25. For a list of participating restaurants, visit claytonrestaurantweek.com.
> Options for frosty weather fun: Go outside on Jan. 16 and freeze at the annual Loop Ice Carnival. While you’re there, stop in at Moonrise Hotel’s rooftop bar for their ‘Cosmonauts on Ice’ party, which includes vodka tastings in ice shot glasses, vodka-based cocktails and free hot chocolate to keep the kiddos warm. If you stay past 10 p.m., you can order from the menu created by Anthony Baker, the new late-night dining chef at Eclipse. Otherwise, stay indoors and concoct a winning recipe for B’nai El Congregation’s Chicken Soup Cook-Off to be held Jan. 31. For information about this annual event that benefits the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, visit bnaiel.org.
> St. Louis Cellars, the Maplewood retail wine store that has built a name for selling bottles priced at $20 and under, is expanding their line of wines and gift items, as well as their event business. However, to make room for new wines and merchandise, they are no longer offering lunch.