• EDDIE NEILL opened his newest establishment in Grand Center last week. It’s good timing since it’s before Mrs. Lovett starts hawking her meat pies during November performances of Sweeney Todd at the Fabulous Fox. Wm. Shakespeare’s Gastropub feels like a West End London theater pub with its high wainscoting, pressed tin ceiling, and lots of beers, ales and stouts on draft. With three partners, John, Pat and another John, Neill has taken over the corner of Grand and Washington with a window-lined, ground-level space of 2,500 square feet and a Rathskeller of equal size featuring darts, Skittle (London style bowling) and flat-screen TVs. The menu, developed by Neill, is authentic fare, including savory pies, smoked salmon, and minnow and chips, as well as newer items like Lobster haggis and mustard fried rabbit, all made with ingredients from local farmers and lamb and hog producers.
• At last week’s ribbon cutting for the new Dr. Jazz Soda Fountain & Grille at 29 N. Gore, owner SISSY MacLELLAN said, “Last year I had not heard of Dr. Jazz’s and now I own one.” PAUL KRUMSIEG, founder of the original Dr. Jazz in Lebanon, Ill., had been looking for an historic downtown neighborhood for a second location; Webster Groves fit the bill. Paul found the 121-year-old wood cabinets and the 1940’s chrome and Formica soda fountain counter and stools, which create a time warp effect. In addition to the sundaes and malts, and the full menu of sandwiches and salads, the New Orleans-style beignets are a house specialty. Dr. Jazz is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Monday. Moms: Be sure to check out the cute kid’s party room.
• For her first fall season at the Four Seasons, executive chef KAREN HOFFMAN has created a marvelous Thanksgiving Day menu. Her feast will offer roasted pear and butternut squash soup with spicy pecans, fennel and sage rubbed turkey, and chestnut-sausage stuffing with local apples and black walnuts on the near traditional side. The not-found-at-Grandma’s-house offerings include tuna tartare, sushi and crab claws for adults and a chocolate fountain for the kids. Dinner will be served buffet style at seven different stations set up in the Cielo bar and lobby area. Small groups will be seated in the restaurant, and large families will be accommodated in the Mississippi Room adjacent to Cielo. Seatings: from noon to 7 p.m.; Reservations: a must; Cost: $75 per adult, $30 per child 12 and under, free for children under age 3.
• Even under pressure, RICH EICHHORST, president of the American Association of Railroaders, would not divulge the names of the sausage makers on The WURST Tour of Illinois. In addition to spectacular fall foliage, the daylong motor coach outing includes stops at four meat processor markets, as well as an old-fashioned bakery and a country store. Lunch will be at the Governors Run Golf and Country Club in Carlyle. There will be samples of award-winning Braunschweiger and summer sausage, etc. at every stop; bringing coolers is encouraged! The bus leaves from 4666 Lansdowne at 8:30 a.m. sharp. Call Rich at 752-3148 to make reservations; the tour costs only $59 per person.
• When BRIAN PELLETIER retired from public relations at age 41, he purchased a business lock, stock and barrel. The barrel turned out to be a yard tall, weigh 40 pounds, and be filled with cocoa powder! Yours Truly was invited into his chocolate lab on Cherokee Street where he makes his signature ka·ka·o chocolate blend into bars, wonderful truffles and outstanding caramels. Brian loves special occasion jobs; recently he made 260 lavender vanilla truffles and 260 single malt scotch truffles and tied ribbons around 260 tiny boxes engraved with the names of the bride and groom. His personal weakness is the marshmallow pies with chocolate and toasted nuts. If you want to read about how Brian makes bars of chocolate, go to his blog at http://chocolating.wordpress.com/. If you want to eat one of those bars, go to Local Harvest Grocery at 3148 Morganford Road; the 1-ounce bars (almond, ginger or coffee) cost $2.29.
Got something for Spicy Bits? Write to Amy Peck Abraham at firstname.lastname@example.org.