> The Del Pietros are a busy bunch! Last week we told you about Marc Del Pietro’s new restaurant The Block, coming soon to Webster Groves. This week we learned that MICHAEL DEL PIETRO will be debuting another addition to his group of restaurants come springtime. Trattoria Spezie will be occupying the former home of Original Cast Lighting at 6118 Delmar Blvd. in the U. City Loop. Del Pietro says there will be roughly 140 seats inside, with another 50 on the patio. Look for lots of vegetarian offerings and locally procured items.
> The Grill at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, is keeping its name but changing its concept, and menu, around. JAMES COLE, director of food and beverage for The Ritz, says the restaurant now has a steakhouse feel, with a meaty menu to match. There are some twists on steakhouse tradition, though, like the antipasti, featuring charcuterie from local artisan salumi purveyors Salume Beddu, and duck fat fries.
> Jilly’s Cupcake Bar and Cafe at 8509 Delmar Blvd. is expanding its dining area and its menu. Owner Jill Segal is offering a new Sunday brunch from 9:30 a.m to 3 p.m., featuring a rotating menu of 30 house-made items from Chef DANA HOLLAND. And the eatery is in the process of expanding next door, yielding an additional 1,200 square feet and a private event room.
> St. Louis dining institution Tony’s has been awarded the 2011 Forbes Four-Star Award, making it the only four-star restaurant in St. Louis, and one of only two in the state. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in facilities, service and providing a distinctive dining experience. Congratulations!
> Chef BOBBY TESSLER, late of the now-shuttered Mia Rosa in The Grove, is opening, of all things, a wing joint! One look at the St. Louis Wing Co. menu makes it clear that Tessler is doing a definite culinary take on the chicken wing thing, with flavors like coconut curry and kalamata olive and feta. Traditionalists shouldn’t worry; good ol’ hot and BBQ varieties are available, too! Tessler is hoping to open the 40-seat space (9816 Manchester Road in Rock Hill) in time for Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6.
> The Missouri Botanical Garden will be hosting a series of Around The World Wine Dinners next year, saluting the great wine-producing areas of the world. The dinners, on the third Friday of each month, will feature four courses of regional fare prepared by Catering St. Louis, paired with different wines from the region. The Jan. 21 dinner will spotlight Italy’s Piedmont region. Bommarito Wines will be pouring the vino. Advance reservations are required, 577-0200.
> To make things a little bit easier on folks this holiday season, The Missouri History Museum and Bixby’s, the museum restaurant, will be offering valet service for patrons through Jan. 2, 2011 at a cost of $5. The service will be available on the south side of the museum at the park-side entrance.