•  Sweet Summer 2009!  The St. Louis area has three new treat shops coming our way. First to open is the Kakao Chocolate store, at Shenandoah and Jefferson. Chocolatier BRIAN PELLETIER has scheduled a grand opening for Saturday May 30. SUZY REIS plans a June opening for her third Gelato Di Riso; it’ll be on The Hill at Marconi and Wilson. And in historic Kimmswick, MARY HOSTETTER’s dream project is coming together. She and her daughter, KIM WARNER, are working on candy recipes and sundae creations for Mary’s Sweet Shoppe while renovation of the building next door to The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery proceeds. The tin ceiling was just installed, so Hostetter hopes to open in early June.

•  The Belloni Market at the intersection of Chouteau and Vandeventer has been transformed into Spaghetteria Mamma Mia II, and Don Belloni is chef/owner Pepe Kehm’s new partner. Expect rustic Italian food served in a casually elegant dining room. Pepe salvaged many of the decor elements, such as the wood bar from the Lennox Hotel, in homage to the TV show Sanford and Son. Pastas are made fresh daily and cost only $10 including a salad. The 90-seat restaurant also serves $12 pizzas and $6 antipasto plates…Mamma Mia!  It’s open Tuesday through Friday for lunch and Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, and the 30-seat patio and adjoining bocce courts will soon be open.

•  Certified barbecue judge CHARLIE BRINZA will lead a panel of judges at the third annual Schlafly Brew and Q at the Schlafly Bottleworks! The Pork Barrels, Butts-A-Smokin, War Pigs and other barbecue teams are vying for a $500 grand prize for the best-prepared 16 oz. center-cut pork steak. While the competition takes place Saturday May 23 from noon to 5 p.m., the free event starts Friday May 22 and continues until 10 p.m. Saturday. Lots of live music too!

•  The best-selling author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma comes to the St. Louis County Library headquarters Friday May 22 at 7 p.m. MICHAEL POLLAN awakened our senses to the mass production of food for America’s supermarkets and how that relates to our health and to our environment. In his latest book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Pollan explains how most of the things we eat are edible food-like substances, products of food science, not nature. As the Buzz Westfall Favorite Author speaker, Pollan will offer a path to healthier eating and being.

•  The two Straub’s Farmers Markets are scheduled to open before the end of the month. The Clayton market returns May 22 with its regular Saturday morning hours, and the following Thursday the market at the new Ellisville Straub’s opens for the first time from 4 to 7 p.m. In addition to dozens of farmers from far-flung hamlets like Golden Eagle, Benton, and Opdyke in Illinois, there will be barbecue, nut and cheese vendors and bakers. ADAM PREY will debut his Wheatless Wonders gluten-free baked goods line, which uses olive oil instead of butter. And RENÉ SACKETT will run special children’s activities and a learning program called ‘Growing Healthy Kids from Seed to Table.’

More Diversions articles.