> It’s been a long summer for the faithful, but Monarch Restaurant & Wine Bar will finally reopen Aug. 2, says co-owner JEFF ORBIN. The venerable Maplewood eatery has been closed since June 1 for an interior makeover and the launch of an additional casual, Southern-inspired dining menu. Orbin says the impetus for the change was to take full advantage of chef JOSH GALLIANO’s New Orleans roots and to give guests a relaxed, informal option to complement the fine dining side of the house. According to Orbin, about two-thirds of the space will be dedicated to the new concept, including two stages for live music. Galliano tells us the new menu will include a variety of po’ boy sandwiches, bourbon pecan pie, crawfish bread, and other Nola delights, most in the $15 to $20 range. For those who can’t wait until the official opening, there will be a ‘sneak peek’ preview to benefit National Children’s Cancer Society July 31.
> A big congratulations to GERARD CRAFT, TED KILGORE and the staff at Taste by Niche, which has been named one of the top 10 best new cocktail bars in the country by Bon Appetit!
> A while back we reported that Atlas Restaurant in the CWE was changing hands, with BRYAN and DIANE CARR, owners of Pomme Restaurant and Pomme Cafe & Wine Bar, taking over the reins from JEAN DONNELLY and MICHAEL ROBERTS. Well, the re-opening was delayed by licensing issues, but everything has been resolved and the restaurant is now officially open for business. Bryan confirmed the name will remain the same, as well as much of the menu. Welcome back, Atlas!
> As of the end of the month, The Cupcakery will officially change it’s moniker to The Cup. Also, it’s opening a new store in Springfield, Mo., at the end of July.
> Modesto Tapas Bar & Restaurant has introduced a new allergy-free menu for a limited time. From now until Aug. 29, patrons can take advantage of dishes free of gluten, peanut and dairy. A percentage of the restaurant’s proceeds during this time will go to support the Asthma and Allergy Foundation. Even after the promotion ends, restaurant management says staff is always willing to switch-up ingredients in regular dishes to accommodate diner needs.
> From the “Comings and Goings” department, word has it that the Original Soup Man at 612 N. 11th St. has closed; NANCY NOVAK is looking for a buyer for her lounge, Nancy’s Place, at 4510 Manchester Road in the Grove, so she can concentrate on her other venture, Novak’s Bar & Grill; and Gelato di Riso has shuttered its 9905 Manchester Road location in Warson Woods in order to expand efforts at the other two stores in the CWE and on The Hill.