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It's springtime, and that means area restaurants are starting to unveil their new seasonal menus. U. City fave Blueberry Hill has announced four new specialty sandwiches, a Western Wagyu Burger, and a Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake to its menu; and also has re-introduced its popular Gazpacho. Modesto Tapas Bar & Restaurant has debuted some new items for spring, as well. The menu now has four new small bites, including the Fritada (a fried shrimp and scallop skewer) and the Banderilla (an anchovy, artichoke and olive skewer), as well as the return of the Judias Verdes, sauteed green beans with onions and sherry.
Chill Cool Frozen Yogurt in Clayton will be celebrating its third anniversary on Friday, April 19. At 3:30 p.m. that day, Fredbird will make an appearance to hand out limited-edition Chill batting-helmet bowls with frozen yogurt purchases. The store also will present its third annual donation to Friends of Kids With Cancer during the celebration. By the way, Chill has some new spring flavors on the menu: Root Beer Float, Mango Sorbet and Pina Colada.
Bogart's Smokehouse in Soulard has garnered a spot in Zagat's 2013 America's Top Restaurants guide. Zagat's also named its top 10 STL restaurants: Acero; Anthony's; Blues City Deli; Bogart's Smokehouse; Citizen Kane's; Niche; Pappy's Smokehouse; Sidney Street Cafe; The Crossing; and Tony's.
All nonprofits planning events next year, take note: Butler's Pantry has announced it will donate $2,013 to each non-profit organization that hosts an event at its Palladium Saint Louis event space in 2013.
We’ve been eating our way around Maplewood as of late, and finally made our way recently to an old favorite, Acero. We’re happy to report the eatery was every bit as good as we remembered it.
The Chase Park Plaza has announced KYLE LIPETZKY as its new executive chef. He’ll oversee all of the hotel’s restaurants (Eau Bistro and Café Eau), the catering division and outlets. Lipetzky previously held leadership positions at The Phoenician and Camelback Inn, a JW Marriott Resort and Spa, both in Scottsdale, Ariz.
◆Mosaic Market Bistro in Clayton is now Coastal Bistro & Bar. The revamped restaurant is still owned by the Schmitz family but now features a raw bar with oysters, crab legs, seafood towers and shrimp cocktails, among other items. The eatery also offers some local country menu items and has both large- and small-plate options. Co-owner FRANK SCHMITZ tells us the changes were made to differentiate the restaurant from the other Mosaics, including the upcoming Des Peres location.
CITY COFFEEHOUSE & CRÉPERIE
St. Louis may not be considered a food mecca, but its culinary recognition is moving beyond just toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake. We asked local foodies for their dining tips, and the variety of answers showcases all that St. Louis has to offer.
> Mark your calendars, because the second annual Clayton Restaurant Week is coming up fast. From Monday, Jan. 24, through Sunday, Jan. 30, 19 of Clayton’s finest restaurants are offering a special three-course dinner for a fixed price of $25 per person. Diners also have the option of adding ‘extra credit’ donations to their bills to support KidSmart, which provides area students in need with school supplies. More info at claytonrestaurantweek.net.
> Local independent restaurateurs JEFF ORBIN and AARON TEITELBAUM have introduced a creative way to counter the proliferation of ‘discount dining deals’ everyone seems to be offering of late, and drum up business during a slow period. On Monday and Tuesday nights during January, diners at their Monarch Restaurant in Maplewood can pay whatever they think their meal is worth. Guests will get two checks: one for beverages and one for food. The beverage bill needs to be paid in full, but the food check is open to interpretation. Orbin says the dining discount deals to be had out there dilute a restaurant’s business by loading the dining room with one-time diners, and diminish its brand. He hopes the initiative encourages customers to check out Monarch and decide for themselves what the experience was worth. There’s a possibility the program may continue on after January, and even be offered at the duo’s other restaurant, Herbie’s Vintage 72 in the CWE. Food for thought indeed.
> Central Cafe & Bakery opened quietly last month at 331 N. Euclid in the CWE. Specializing in food with a Lebanese focus, the menu includes Middle Eastern delights like shawarma beef and chicken, along with appetizers, salads, sandwiches and fresh-baked breads. We’ve been told there will be some new menu items soon, as well as some other attractions, like live music and an outdoor fire pit. The new eatery seats about 40.
> The Patio Cafe opened Oct. 18 at 7711 Bonhomme Ave. in Clayton, on the first floor of The Equity building. Co-owner BILLY CORRINGTON says the restaurant is open for lunch and breakfast Monday through Friday with a menu that includes some unique signature salads and a banh mi ga, a Vietnamese chicken sandwich. This isn’t Corrington’s first Clayton venture; he and partner MOLLY O’CONNOR also have Sweet Peas in The Sevens Building.
> Look for Colleen’s Cookies to take over the space at 7337 Forsyth in University City, once home to Casa Dilla. Owner COLLEEN THOMPSON says she’s moving from Chesterfield to open a retail front to complement her special order business. And there will be more than cookies afoot. “I have a whole lot of things dancing around in my head about what we want to do,” Colleen says. Look for an early June opening.
> Soul food fans will have a new place to frequent this fall. ROBBIE MONTGOMERY, of Sweetie Pie’s fame, will be opening another eatery, Sweetie Pie’s Upper Crust, “sometime in September or October” at 3643 Delmar. Right now the building is being cleaned up and prepped for construction. In addition to current Sweetie Pie’s favorites, the Upper Crust menu will also offer salads, steaks and sandwiches. Robbie says the new place will feature a banquet room, bakery facility, bar and separate carry-out line. Look for culinary classes to be held there as well.
Here’s a ‘tweet’ for fans of TWITTER, the social networking and micro-blogging phenomenon: Twitter creator/chairman/co-founder JACK DORSEY is returning to his native St. Louis to speak at Webster University next Friday, Sept. 18. He’s being honored as the university’s ‘Success to Significance 2009 Person of the Year.’ The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required at webster.edu/jackatwebster. Business Week recently named Dorsey, a ‘95 grad of Bishop DuBourg HS, as one of technology’s ‘best and brightest.’
Terrace View restaurant at 8th and Chestnut streets lives up to its setting, and that’s a tall order. The glass-walled structure overlooks Citygarden, an innovative urban oasis of climbable sculptures, fountains and native Missouri plantings.
> Oceano Bistro in Clayton is presenting a guest chef series benefiting various local charities. Each month, the visiting maestro will present a four or five course tasting menu, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the chef’s choice of charity, great idea!
• St. Louis foodies got early holiday presents last week when three restaurants and one food mecca made their debuts.
One of the most popular spots in the Central West End, Liluma, is marking its fifth anniversary. With a large, beautiful patio smack on the corner of Maryland and Euclid avenues, this has been the perfect spot for leisurely people-watching since it opened. Inside, the first room, with great frontage onto this bustling scene, has only about a half-dozen tables. Then a narrow walkthrough and a back room offer about a dozen more.
• These are busy times for Monarch Restaurant’s Aaron Teitelbaum. On the heels of BRIAN HALE’s departure to become executive chef for the Chase, Teitelbaum and partner JEFF ORBIN are trying to bring back Balaban’s (under a new name). The good news is that MATT McGUIRE, formerly of King Louie’s, has signed on to the management team at Monarch, their flagship contemporary American restaurant. Teitelbaum is keeping the name of his new Monarch executive chef to himself, at least for now, while he dons chef’s whites to head the kitchen himself.
• Wow! A five-day-long grand opening party! That is how Cinco de Mayo was celebrated at Beso Mexican Grill and Cantina. Owner RICK ONSTOTT chose Mexican food for his first restaurant simply because it’s his favorite. The classic cantina lunch and dinner menu of enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, etc. also has some upscale items. How do shrimp Tijuana and Puerco Veracruz sound?. Beso’s Tequila Bar and $3 margaritas will be a welcome addition to the downtown dining scene, and city dwellers are going to love the carryout (1130 Washington Ave.) and delivery options. Suburbanites will love the valet parking!