>We reported recently that WES JOHNSON, chef de cuisine at Eclipse Restaurant at the Moonrise Hotel in the Delmar Loop, was planning on opening a new restaurant called Salt in the CWE this spring, while still remaining behind the stoves at Eclipse. Well, we’ve been told that the plan has changed. JOHN STUHLMAN, who has most recently served as executive sous chef at Eclipse, has assumed the chef de cuisine mantle. Johnson has left to devote all of his efforts to his new venture. Stuhlman’s new spring menu is set to debut March 11. Best of luck to both chefs!
>There’s been a change in service at Herbie’s Vintage ’72. Management has done away with weekday lunch service, but has added an extra day of brunch. The restaurant now features brunch on Saturdays, in addition to Sundays from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. During the week, the bar now opens at 3 p.m, with happy hour kicking off at 4 p.m. Co-owners JEFF ORBIN and AARON TEITELBAUM also told us that the ‘pay what you want’ program in place last month at their other eatery, Monarch, was a success. We reported back in December that the restaurant would allow patrons to pay whatever they thought their meal was worth on Mondays and Tuesdays during January in an effort to combat the coupon discount craze and drum up business during a traditionally slow period. Orbin says about 30 percent of diners took them up on the discount offer and the restaurant doubled its normal business on those nights. Look for the restaurant to revisit the idea during future slow periods.
>The owners of Peruvian eatery Mango have announced they are consolidating their operations. They have sold the original restaurant at 7307 Watson Road in Shrewsberry to focus on the downtown location at 1101 Lucas Ave., which opened in September 2009. The staff from the Watson Road location will move downtown in March, when the Shrewsberry location officially closes.
>Congratulations to JOSIE PATANE, who won this year’s Pasta Bowl competition at LoRusso’s. Her creation, Bucatini Gamberi con Pesto, was chosen by diners at the Pasta Bowl dinner held at the restaurant Feb. 8. Her dish will be on the LoRusso’s menu for the next year, with $2 of every order benefiting Operation Food Search. Last year’s winner, Mary Ann Schreiber’s Farfalle Melanzane Pomodoro, raised $962 during its year on the menu. This year’s Pasta Bowl dinner brought in $5,000 for the organization’s coffers. The event has raised more than $50,000 for the cause since it began 14 years ago, but the 15th year looks to be the last. Chef/owner RICH LORUSSO says that it’s time to look at doing something new, but it looks like the Bowl will be going out with a bang. He says next year they may host a ‘Grande Bowl,’ where some or all of the previous year’s winners will come back to compete. We’ll keep you posted.
>Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to start planning that garden. Find out how to make your next crop of tomatoes the best one yet on March 5, at 10 a.m. when CHIP TYNAN of the Missouri Botanical Garden presents a ‘Tomato 101’ seminar at Bowood Farms, 4605 Olive Street in the CWE. Bowood staffers ELLEN BARREDO and KATHIE HOYER will also be on hand to introduce some new tomato varieties, as well as some old favorites that will be available as seeds (and eventually plants) at Bowood this spring. For more info, call 454-6868 or go online at bowoodfarms.com.