Local mobile donut purveyor Vincent Van Doughnut won big on the recent season premiere of Cooking Channel's Donut Wars earlier this month. Owner BRIAN MARSDEN and his pastry chef assistant, JAMIE HARDESTY, took home first-place honors and a cool $10,000. Their winning confections over three rounds were The Bellagio, featuring a caramel pastry creme filling with chocolate ganache glaze and hazelnut caramel crunch; The Venetian, with a ricotta pastry cream filling and a lemon glaze with pistachios and tarragon; and The Flamingo, a maraschino cherry cake donut with a maraschino cherry glaze and silver nonpareils. Congrats!
There’s no question LN readers are in-the-know, so who better to ask about the things that make St. Louis stand out and stand proud? Here, we present the very best, as selected by our readers, in the 2014 Ladue News Platinum List!
The culinary scene in St. Louis continues to flourish, and 2013 was an especially exciting year for diners and drinkers and those who serve them. Here are just a few of the notable events in the past 12 months:
Happily, we have a bevy of openings and coming-soons to report: Heavy Riff Brewing Company has opened its doors on Clayton Avenue in Dogtown. Baida, a new Moroccan eatery, has opened for business at 3191 South Grand Blvd. Blueprint Coffee is now roasting and serving up fine beans in the U-City Loop. Ferraro's Jersey Style Pizza has a new location that recently bowed at 7704 Ivory Ave. in South City. And Element, the latest from Guerrilla Street Food's chef and co-owner BRIAN HARDESTY, is now serving at 1419 Carroll St. Meanwhile, look for a new location of Five Star Burgers to open in Kirkwood by the end of the year at the former Culpepper's spot on South Kirkwood Road. The first St. Louis Five Star opened in Clayton just last year and has been garnering much acclaim from critics and customers alike.
The Libertine has been making quite a splash with evening diners since opening its doors earlier this year. Now, chef JOSH GALLIANO is making his fine cuisine available to daytime customers, as well. The Libertine's new lunch menu, available Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m to 2 p.m., will feature such delicacies as ramen, Bahn Mi and Galliano Fried Chicken Salad, among others. Can't wait to try 'em all!
Chef STEVE GONTRAM'S long-awaited burger restaurant, 5 Star Burgers, is now open for business at 8125 Maryland Ave. in Clayton. In addition to beefy burgers, the menu includes some veg-centric sandwiches like the Veggie Burger and The Portabella Stack, plus a bevy of shakes and floats. We've received some reports from the field that the Sweet Potato Fries with Salted Maple Cream are not to be missed.
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.
◆ Chef BRIAN HARDESTY, who took over the kitchen at Nosh a few weeks ago, has announced he’s dropping the Nosh name in favor of Root. The name is reflective of the new culinary direction Hardesty is pursuing: original takes on classic American cuisine that span the years from the founding of the country until roughly the Great Depression era. Hardesty says to expect lots of game, roasted meat and whole fish preparations. The restaurant (co-located with Starr’s in Richmond Heights) is closed during the transformation, and is scheduled to open for business on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
◆Chef BRIAN HARDESTY has assumed the mantle of executive chef at Nosh in Richmond Heights, co-located with wine and spirits store Starr’s at 1135 Big Bend Blvd. The re-invented eatery re-opened Nov. 30, and initially will be open for dinner service Tuesday through Saturday, from 5 to 9 p.m. Street food fans can breathe easy: Hardesty still will be running his popular Guerilla Street Food truck, but he’s utilizing the Nosh kitchen as the commissary, while also helming the kitchen at the restaurant. The new Nosh menu has been pared down, but still retains a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. Hardesty says he plans to rotate menu items on a regular basis. The redesigned bar menu will feature classic cocktails, including tweaked takes on libations like the Manhattan, Moscow Mule and the Daiquiri, as well as plenty of quality beers and wines. As if that wasn’t enough to keep him and partner JOEL CRESPO busy, Hardesty says the Guerilla Street Food truck will be doing some road trips next year, taking its Filipinobased fare to a variety of cities, including Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle, New Orleans, and Minneapolis. Stay tuned!
> It’s been announced that Chef BRIAN HARDESTY has officially stepped down as executive chef at Terrene. Taking over the kitchen is Chef MICHAEL WARHOVER, formerly the sous chef at Terrene. Hardesty will be focusing on opening his new food truck, Guerilla Street Food, which he hopes to get rolling sometime later in the spring. Good luck to both!
It seems that in the CWE, the restaurants along the Euclid corridor get all the love. But just a few blocks east, on Sarah Street, Terrene consistently turns out some of the best and most creative food in town. The restaurant recently debuted a new menu, and we just had to go see what it had to offer.
> WES JOHNSON, chef de cuisine at Eclipse Restaurant in the Moonrise Hotel, will be opening a place of his own this spring. Called Salt, the new venture will be at 4356 Lindell Blvd. in the former home of Savor. Look for in-house charcuterie (hence the Salt title) as well as other unique takes on contemporary American cuisine. Eclipse fans, don’t despair: Johnson tells us he’ll be splitting his time between the two restaurants. And apparently not sleeping much!
> 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.
Terrene in the CWE is among the coterie of small local restaurants committed to the concept of farm-to-table, sustainable dining. Since its opening only a few years ago, the place has seen a few changes: a marvelous patio was added last year, and now a new chef, Brian Hardesty, has taken the reins.
> Miso on Meramec in Clayton debuted a newly formatted sushi menu by executive sushi chef and St. Louis native Eliott Harris. The menu includes old favorites and launches innovative new items like a tropical roll of coconut-crusted tempura shrimp, mango, cucumber and masago. Chef Harris, a Johnson & Wales grad, is incorporating traditional sushi items with Latin American flavors and ingredients. Since opening in 2001, Miso on Meramec has been a Clayton favorite for Pacific Rim cuisine, not to mention late-night partying (great DJs).