> Snooping for Space: Stanley Browne, owner of the popular Robust Wine Bar in Webster Groves, has been looking at sites in the CWE on a quest for a second location. Nadoz Café, likewise, is sniffing around to put location No. 3 in the West End (and last week, the Steven Becker eatery introduced a fancy nighttime menu at the Brentwood Boulevard location)…Simon Lehrer, cheesemonger at The Wine Merchant, recently checked out a farm in Festus with hopes of beginning his own cheese-making operation. “We will be doing sheep’s milk cheese and chickens, heritage pork and a veggie garden for ourselves,” tweeted wife Annie (aka chzmongerswife)…The rooftop bar at The Moonrise Hotel may turn into a four-season hangout. Owner Joe Edwards has been soliciting bids for a removable cover for Eclipse’s hip outdoor bar, which opens on April 1 (earlier, if weather permits). If all goes well, the cover would be completed by next winter. Plans to finish the eastern portion of the hotel’s roof are also in the preliminary stages.
> In the Valleys: Michael DelPietro, owner of Sugo’s Spaghetteria in Frontenac, plans to open an Italian restaurant in Chesterfield Valley. Look for Babbo’s sometime in March, located on Chesterfield Airport Road in the spot formerly occupied by Masterpiece Barbecue…Construction should begin in February on a second Gianino’s at Big Bend and Dougherty Ferry. The 6,000-square-foot space will feature pivoting walls that enable the restaurant to be divided into some cool configurations, according to Tom Niemeier of St. Louis architectural design firm Space, which recently won an AIA award for its design of Bobo Noodle House on Skinker near Forest Park Parkway.
> Tummy Fillers: Masuzo Kudo has taken over as GM of Sekisui in Clayton. And if you haven’t stopped by the Japanese restaurant lately, it now offers an all-you-can eat sushi lunch buffet for $9…On Jan. 28, Cowboy Ribeyes partners Jeffrey Zornes and Scott McKenna will kick off their new venture as purveyors of bone-in ribeye steaks with a fundraiser at Palladium St. Louis to benefit St. Patrick Center. For information about the event, call 769-2971 or visit cowboyribeyes.com. The McKenna name might be familiar to some, as he was previously involved with site and product development for Panera Bread and Einstein Bros. Bagels. His grandfather, Charles McKenna, was superintendent of the Ladue School District…The Doug Frost Wine Dinner at Monarch has been rescheduled for Feb. 11. With wine selection from one of the world‘s foremost authorities and food prepared by executive chef Josh Galliano, the four-course affair should be deliciously educational. Visit monarchrestaurant.com for reservation information.
> Morning eating options have increased as Jim Fiala recently added Sunday brunch hours at The Terrace View in Citygarden downtown. And starting Feb. 1, Pi will begin serving breakfast—coffee and sinful pastries by Mathew Sweet—at its CWE location…The economy took its toll on Velocity Café & Cyclery. The dual café and bike rental/repair shop located at DeBaliviere and Pershing closed its doors after only 16 months.