> Mad Tomato, the newest restaurant from Chef Vito Racanelli Jr. of Onesto Pizza & Trattoria fame, is finally ready to open, and they’re celebrating by helping out a worthy cause. On Friday, April 15, the restaurant, located at 8000 Carondelet Ave. in Clayton, will hold an opening party, dubbed ‘The Ripening of Mad Tomato,’ to benefit Operation Food Search (OFS). The event kicks off with a ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m., followed by an open house, and will feature samples of the farm-to-table menu, Italian wines and desserts, courtesy of pastry chef Sally Sciaroni. Tickets are $30, with half of the proceeds going to OFS. For reservations, email larissap@onestopizza.com. Mad Tomato will be partnering again with OFS once they’re open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through the end of May with their ‘communal table.’ Guests reserve a seat and order from a fixed menu, with a percentage of the proceeds going to OFS. The communal table menus will be posted online at madtomatostl.com.

> Companion Bakery is doing its part to help disaster relief efforts in Japan by offering a specialty cookie to raise money for the American Red Cross. Through April 15, one dollar from the sale of each of these cookies, decorated with a red cross, will be donated to the charity. The treats can be found at the Companion Cafes in Clayton and Ladue.

> Former Blues player KEITH TKACHUK and his wife CHANTAL are hosting an evening at BRIO Tuscan Grille in Frontenac Tuesday, April 12, from 4 to 10 p.m. There will be a raffle, silent auction, and of course, great food! Ten percent of proceeds benefit The Little Bit Foundation. For reservations, call 432-4410.

> Spring is the time for some menu revamps, it seems. Modesto Tapas Bar & Restaurant has introduced seven new items. The venerable tapas destination is also celebrating its 10th year this summer! And South City fave The Royale has added a Missouri grass-fed burger, mac & cheese and Missouri grilled ham and cheese, among other items, to its menu, as well as adding Greenwood Farms and Eat Here STL to its list of local purveyors.

> L’Ecole Culinaire is debuting some new classes geared toward amateurs and kitchen pros alike. Classes at the new L’Ecole Academy for Culinary Development include Chocolate Confectionary Basics, Ice Carving Fundamentals and Introduction to the World of Wine. The classes will be held at L’Ecole Culinaire, 9811 South 40 Drive. More details are available at lecoleculinaire.com.

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