> Now open is Molly’s in Soulard, a conglomeration of the old Norton’s space with Molly’s, at 808 Geyer Ave. The menu is designed by Eric Brenner of Moxy and focuses on French Bistro style with some Creole thrown in. Bruno Cardone, formerly of Araka and An American Place, will be the executive chef. Molly’s will be open seven days a week, including late-night dining until midnight Friday and Saturday. It’s also dog-friendly on the patio.
> Modesto Tapas Bar & Restaurant at 5257 Shaw Ave. is honoring the La Tomatina Festival, a food-fight held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol in the Valencia region of Spain. Tens of thousands of participants come from all over the world to fight in a battle where more than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. Modesto will host a Tomato Festival featuring specialty Spanish drinks and Spanish style barbecue and water balloon fights Sept. 5 from 2 to 11 p.m. As a bonus, Modesto will offer specials Sept. 8 thru 12 featuring locally grown tomatoes and tomato-inspired drinks.
> John Gabriele of the popular Agostino’s (newly moved to 280 Long Road in Chesterfield) has left for his annual trip to Italy, where he plans to meet with chefs in Rome, Venice, Milan and his homeland of Sicily to bring back new dishs.
> Mango Peruvian restaurant opens its doors to the public at its new downtown location (1101 Lucas Ave.) Friday, Sept. 11, starting with lunch at 11 a.m. This is a second location for the popular spot, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. The original location at 7307 Watson Road in Shrewsbury will keep its doors open for dinner only. Many of Mango’s current menu items created by executive chef/owner Jorge Calvo will stay, including favorites like ceviche, empanadas, lomo saltado and saltado de langostinos, but guests can expect seasonal dishes and new additions, too.
> El Scorcho in Maplewood will soon change owners and become a Las Palmas restaurant, related to the Las Palmas at 4030 Woodson Road.
> Soda Fountain Square, the family-friendly Lafayette Square restaurant, has also become a private event space, so now you can book it for a burgers-and-milk shake party!
> Top examples of yummy pumpkins, squash, melons and gourds, all of the same tongue-twisting botanical family, Cucurbitaceae, will be on display at Bowood Farms Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 4 to 6 p.m., at a free Pumpkin Contest. The contest is open to home, school and community gardeners and will be judged by Chip Tynan of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Nathan Brandt of University of Missouri Extension. This also is the day of the popular ‘Boo-wood!’ pre-Halloween event that includes pumpkin carving, pumpkin painting, free snacks, treasure hunts and more. The garden center is located at 4605 Olive St., in the Central West End.