ânº Maplewood has exploded with quality restaurants and other culinary-related destinations in the past few years, so much so that’s it’s getting hard to tell what’s what. Luckily, the city has come out with The Foodie Guide, which has info on all, of the area’s specialty stores and eateries. Best of all, it’s free! To get a copy, go to cityofmaplewood.com/foodie.

ânº LoRusso’s Cucina is hosting a happy hour and dining out event on June 15 to benefit Springboard, a local nonprofit that provides a variety of programs to schools and community organizations. The happy hour will run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and $10 will get you appetizers and a choice of drink. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., and for $50 per person, diners get a choice of entree, dessert and wine. Reservations are required for dinner. Call LoRusso’s at 647-6222 and mention “Dining Out For Springboard.”

ânº It’s been announced that the sixth location of popular local chain Wasabi Sushi Bar will be opening next month at 1066 Town & Country Crossing.

ânº We’ve been told by owner MIKE RANDOLPH that his new Clayton breakfast-lunch-coffee spot, Half and Half, will be opening in early June. Right now, he’s just waiting on furniture and the liquor license. He says there will also be a brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays, featuring some more adventurous fare, and some special tasting menus will also be available during brunch times. We can’t wait!

ânº We have the chef lineup for the Second Annual Overlook Farm Sweet Summer Luv Luv Festival & BBQ Cookoff at Overlook Farm in Clarksville, MO., and it’s an impressive list. JOSEPH LERNER, SUE TORRES, STEFANO LACAVA, GREG SHARPE, RAY LAMPE, GRADY SPEARS, TED READER, BERNARD GUILLAS, TIM RECHER, SHARON HAGE, MARK BEAUPRE and Overlook’s TIMOTHY GRANDINETTI will participate in cook-off events during the three-day fest, Aug. 12 through 14.

ânº The new incarnation of Great Harvest Bread Company has opened at 125 W. Argonne Drive in downtown Kirkwood. Owners TOM and JUDY HONIGFORT missed the old Great Harvest so much after it closed in 2008 that they decided to resurrect it. The new store features breads and other baked goods, as well as a selection of sandwiches.

ânº Mixologist T.J. VYTLACIL of DeMun Oyster Bar won this month’s 2011 Ultimate MixOff Challenge, sponsored by DonQ Rum and the United States Bartenders Guild. Vytlacil won in the Fruit Forward category with his custom creation, Love Burns.   

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