> A while back we told you about a few big changes going on with some of Chef GERARD CRAFT’s restaurants. Niche was going to move next door to the 12-seat space that housed Taste By Niche. The vacated Niche space was to become Porano, a Northern Italian concept, and Taste would move to the CWE, next to Craft’s other eatery, Brasserie By Niche, in the space formerly home to Moxy Bistro. Well, plans change. Craft tells us now that Niche is going to stay put, and the Porano concept is on hold. “It’s just not the right time,” Craft says. Taste is still moving, though; look for it to debut sometime this month. No word on what the old Taste spot will become.
> CHRIS WILLIAMS has taken over as the executive chef at Soulard favorite Franco. Williams was the original sous chef at the bistro, and recently moved back to St. Louis after spending the last few years globe-trotting and cooking in such exotic locales as the Galapagos Islands. We’re told to look for some big menu changes in the very near future.
> KATHY BECKER, VP of Steven Becker Fine Dining, which also owns Nadoz Euro. Bakery + Cafe and the soon-to-debut Vino Nadoz, tells us that KATHY SCHMIDT has assumed the mantle of executive chef of the operation. Schmidt, who has spent the last several years running her own restaurant in Indiana, was the original chef at Jimmy’s On The Park in Clayton.
> Every month, Goshen Coffee will donate $1 from every pound of its new Be Change Blend coffee sold to a different nonprofit. This month, the organization of choice is Grounds For Health, which establishes sustainable and effective cervical cancer prevention and treatment programs in coffee-growing communities. More info at goshencoffee.com and groundsforhealth.org.
> From now until Jan. 31, Zia’s “On The Hill,” 5256 Wilson Ave., will donate 10 percent of all lunch and dinner sales to The St. Louis Fire Department Lifesaving Foundation (lifesavingfoundation.org) and The Backstoppers Inc. (backstoppers.org).
> According to the restaurant’s website, Lafayette Square mainstay Arcelia’s, 2100 Park Ave., is temporarily closed while a new owner is sought. More as we learn it.
> Congrats to Butler’s Pantry! Owner and president RICHARD NIX JR. is featured in the 2010/2011 winter issue of Martha Stewart Weddings dispensing catering advice for those planning upcoming nuptials.
> ANDY WHITE, executive chef at Schlafly Tap Room, will be the featured attraction at Missouri Baptist Medical Center’s Heart of the Family event, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 5 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the center. White will demo techniques for creating heart-healthy recipes, and local radio personality Ed Goodman will emcee. The event is free and open to the public. Info at missouribaptist.org.