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Atlas Restaurant is one of those establishments that has quietly built a loyal following over the years while staying a bit under the popular radar. The restaurant was founded by Jean Donnelly and Michael Roberts, and changed hands a couple of years ago when it was taken over by Diane and Bryan Carr, who also own Pomme Restaurant and Pomme Cafe & Wine Bar.
> The Bakery in Clayton, right inside The Ritz-Carlton, is open for business. The full-service bakery features items prepared by the pastry staff at The Ritz, headed by executive pastry chef SIMONE FAURE, which are available for walk-in purchase. Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, it might just fill the void left by the beloved Lake Forest Bakery. They’ll even validate garage and valet parking!
Atlas Restaurant, long an oasis of hospitality in the southwest corner of the CWE, has changed ownership. Founders Jean Donnelly and Michael Roberts built a lively neighborhood spot by greeting patrons personally and serving delicious French-Italian cuisine. Taking over the reins are culinary couple Bryan and Diane Carr, of Pomme fame.
> It’s been a long summer for the faithful, but Monarch Restaurant & Wine Bar will finally reopen Aug. 2, says co-owner JEFF ORBIN. The venerable Maplewood eatery has been closed since June 1 for an interior makeover and the launch of an additional casual, Southern-inspired dining menu. Orbin says the impetus for the change was to take full advantage of chef JOSH GALLIANO’s New Orleans roots and to give guests a relaxed, informal option to complement the fine dining side of the house. According to Orbin, about two-thirds of the space will be dedicated to the new concept, including two stages for live music. Galliano tells us the new menu will include a variety of po’ boy sandwiches, bourbon pecan pie, crawfish bread, and other Nola delights, most in the $15 to $20 range. For those who can’t wait until the official opening, there will be a ‘sneak peek’ preview to benefit National Children’s Cancer Society July 31.
> Word on the street is that Maplewood may soon be welcoming another restaurant. Owners of the proposed new eatery are in talks to occupy the space that once housed Deluxe Fine Food & Spirits at 2733 Sutton Blvd. According to city documents posted on-site, the restaurant will be called The Wood. Liquor license and conditional use permits have already been approved. We’ll keep you posted…
> The Alsace Tourism Agency and the Union Alsacienne will be here for this weekend’s Taste of St. Louis. For the first time, the regional associations are bringing their oh-so-French goodies to town. Check out their booth, where you can sample the famous Alsatian specialty, tarte flambe, and meet VIPs Gerard Staedel (president of the Union Internationale des Alsaciens), Jim Mauze (honorary consul) and Olivier Muller (executive chef at NYC’s db Bistro Moderne).
> Chris Sommers, owner of Pi in the U.City Loop, has announced plans to open a LEED-certified bar in November at 408 N. Euclid Ave., most recently home to Posh. Hometown boy Sommers has enlisted the help of H. Joseph Ehrmann, owner of Elixir in San Francisco, to create the cocktail menu. “We’ll be doing a lot of things with local ingredients,” Sommers promises. “And we’ll be following the trend toward classic cocktails while keeping a focus on green, local and organic.” He plans to call the bar Pi Bar, Liquid Pi or some other spin on the name of his popular pizzeria. Sommers also is negotiating a lease nearby to house a third Pi!
> Mango, St. Louis’ Peruvian restaurant and a favorite since 2004, will open a second location later this summer at 1101 Lucas Ave. in the Washington Avenue loft district. The original location, at 7307 Watson in Shrewsbury, will stay open for dinner only. The grand opening for the downtown location is scheduled for Sept. 4. We are extremely excited about our new location,” says Jorge Calvo, executive chef, founder and co-owner. “My wife and I have been working in the restaurant industry for over three decades in Peru and St. Louis, and this is definitely one of our proudest moments. We love coming to work every day, where we work side-by-side with our daughters.”
• More room in cupcake heaven!!! Very soon they’re going to knock down a wall and expand Jilly’s Cupcake Bar to accommodate 30 more seats and all the requests for Girl Scout Troop meetings and other social events. Owner Jill Segal recently adjusted the bar’s hours to include brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The added space will be filled with Valentine bliss; executive chef Dana Holland will prepare a multi-course dinner to be served Feb. 12 through 15. For reservations, call 993-JILLY.
• Get your green on early at Tigin. The authentic Irish pub is starting its St. Patrick’s Day Party at 7 in the morning on March 15 with satellite coverage of RBS Six Nations Rugby (Ireland vs. England, Scotland vs. Italy, and Wales vs. France) games. The pouring of perfect pints continues until 3 a.m.; the covered and heated patio will have a DJ playing Irish tunes and a Red Bull Bar to keep partyers going. For those traditionalists who celebrate only on March 17, Tigin will open at 11 a.m. on Monday. Beer and boxty (Irish potato pancakes) will be served until the wee hours.