The Daily Meal just released its list of the 101 Best Food Trucks in America, and the St. Louis mobile food scene was well represented. Cha Cha Chow came in at #94; Seoul Taco took the # 87 slot; and the Guerrilla Street Food truck made the grade at #20. Congrats to all!
The 2014 Budweiser Taste of St. Louis will be held Sept. 19 to 21. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the popular food-centric event, and it promises to be bigger and better than ever. Highlights include showcases by celebrity chefs TYLER FLORENCE and DUFF GOLDMAN, as well as plenty of fine food, courtesy of some of St. Louis' best chefs and restaurants. This year also is the first time the event will be held at its new location at the Chesterfield Amphitheater in Central Park and Chesterfield Village. Check out TasteSTL.com for a full listing of all participating eateries and a complete rundown of events for the weekend.
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant will open its first-ever St. Louis location next month in Town & Country. The restaurant, in Town and Country Crossing, will feature award-winning wines in a Napa-style tasting-room setting, as well as contemporary American fare. Opening is set for Dec. 12.
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.
Chef Pierre Chambrin has had a storied culinary career. Trained at Ecole des Metiers de L'Alimentation in Paris, he came up through the ranks the old-school way. He worked in some of the best restaurants in the country, in positions from apprentice to executive chef, ultimately running the kitchen at the White House under two presidents.
Get out this weekend and take advantage of the last few days of the 4th annual Clayton Restaurant Week, which wraps up Sunday, Jan. 27. The establishments participating this year include: Alexander’s Restaurant; Araka; Bar Napoli; Barcelona; Bocci Bar: Cardwell’s; Coastal Bistro & Bar; The Crossing; Crushed Red; J. Buck’s; Jimmy's On The Park; Mad Tomato; Oceano Bistro; Remy’s Kitchen & Wine Bar; Roxane; Ruth's Chris Steak House; and Tani Sushi Bistro. Participating restaurants are offering a special three-course dinner promotion for a fixed price of $25 per person, plus tax and tip. Guests also have the option of adding a $5 ‘Extra Helping’ donation to their dining bill to support Operation Food Search. More details are available at claytonrestaurantweek.net.
As you may have heard, the former home of Busch's Grove will finally get a new tenant this year. The folks from EdgeWild Restaurant & Winery will be opening a second location in the space in early summer. The restaurant will offer more than 20 local microbrews on tap, a full cocktail list and an extensive selection of fine wines by the glass, including EdgeWild label wines and non-EdgeWild label wines. The menu will focus on smaller plates, and will also have a selection of entrees similar to those on EdgeWild’s current menu featuring plenty of local purveyors.
For those just not up to the chore of making a Turkey Day feast for the whole fam, Cielo Restaurant in the Four Seasons downtown has the answer: Chef FABRIZIO SCHENARDI and his crew are whipping up Thanksgiving dinner to-go. The dinners include delectable items like roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potato puree and a take on a holiday favorites, green bean casserole, as well as a whole roasted free-range turkey (brined for a full 48 hours before baking), and a choice of two pies from pastry chef PETER WHITLEY. The cost per dinner is $295 (excluding tax) and it feeds 10. Orders have to be received by Monday, Nov. 19, and can be made by calling 881-2105.
Big congrats go out to Robust in Webster Groves and Copia Restaurant And Wine Garden downtown. The two vino-centric eateries made Open Table's Diners' Choice 2012 Most Notable Wine List Top 100. Way to represent the Lou!
The eighth annual TomatoFest will be held Sunday, Aug. 12, from 2 to 7 p.m. at Iron Barley. The event will feature a variety of tomato dishes, tomato dodge ball, tomato art and other tomato-related contests and activities, as well as a live auction at 6 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. All proceeds will go to support Lift for Life Gym. For more information, call 351-4500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big news from the CWE. WES JOHNSON, co-owner and executive chef at Salt, has left the restaurant he helped lead to a James Beard nomination. Johnson is now working at Cafe Pintxos, the eatery in the Hotel Ignacio in midtown, as executive chef and soon he’ll be debuting a new project, Fixe. Johnson says the restaurant will be only open on weekends and will provide a smaller and more intimate dining experience. Johnson says he’s scouting some potential locations in the U. City area and hopes to open the doors sometime this fall. Johnson is partnering up with fellow chef BRENDAN NOONAN, who currently works at Harvest, in the endeavor. The two have worked together in the past at such popular culinary destinations as Eclipse, The Scottish Arms and The Shaved Duck. We can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Chez Leon has closed its doors. The high-end French eatery, which moved to Clayton from its original CWE location in early 2010, was apparently a victim of the continuing sluggish economy.
Chef CHRIS DIMECURIO, most recently at Taste by Niche, is now chef de cuisine at Vino Nadoz in Richmond Heights.
Curbside Cookery is the latest food truck to hit the St. Louis scene. The truck will be serving up comfort food favorites like grilled cheese and burritos, and is expected to be on the road later this month, according to owner DAVID JOHNSON. In other mobile food news, L’Ecole Culinaire’s Le Food Truck, which debuted a couple of months ago, and has been focusing on stops in the county, is now venturing into the city to sell its wares.
Pi at the MX, the latest eatery in the Pi Pizzeria empire, has opened its doors at the Mercantile Exchange Building (hence the name) at 610 Washington Ave.
The Saint Louis Brewers Heritage Festival will be held from Friday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17, at Ballpark Village downtown, across from Busch Stadium. Guests will get to sample 80 beers from more than 15 local breweries, eat fine fare courtesy of Vin de Set, Harvest, Companion, LoRusso’s, and Sqwires, as well as enjoying live music and a variety of other activities. Go online for more details at stlbrewfest.com
Chef CLARA MOORE of Local Harvest Cafe made her television debut last week as a contestant on Bravo’s latest culinary competition show, Around the World in 80 Plates, which takes 12 chefs through a variety of countries where they complete food-based challenges. Unfortunately, she was the victim of a treacherous co-competitor and was voted off the show. She made a good effort and represented the Lou well. Good job chef!
Diners in West County have a new option for Mexican fare. Fiesta! Modern Mexican Cuisine debuted May 3 at 185 Hilltown Village Center in Chesterfield, near Highway 40 and Olive Blvd. The menu features south-of-the-border faves like fajitas, quesadillas and empanadas, among others.
Brunch fans will be pleased to hear that long-time favorite Atlas Restaurant has started brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays between 8 am and 2 pm. The new menu features omelets, French toast, buttermilk pancakes and quiche, among other tempting dishes.
Schlafly has added another offering to its stellar roster of beer festivals. On Saturday, May 26, from 10 am until 6 pm, the parking lot of the Schlafly Tap Room will be the site of Pork Shop: A Downtown BBQ & Garage Sale. Those interested in cleaning out their garages and basements can sign up to be vendors and bring their wares down for sale. Chef ANDY WHITE will be roasting six whole hogs, and there will be live music, as well as plenty of Schlafly beer on tap. Goodwill will have a donation site set up for any items that don’t sell. More details are available at schlafly.com.
Looking for something to do in the early evening downtown? The Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District is hosting Wednesday Night Out, a downtown happy hour, every Wednesday from May through August from 4 to 7 p.m. Enjoy drink and food specials at some of the best bars and restaurants in the city. For details and a full roster of participating venues, go online at downtownstl.org/wednesdaynightout.
Parents searching for something to keep the kids occupied after school lets out, check out L’Ecole Academy’s Young Chefs Summer Camp. L’Ecole chefs will be teaching children (ages 8 to 14) how to make a variety of food, from pizza to scones. The classes will be held at the L’Ecole Culinaire Academy for Culinary Development, 9200 Olive Blvd., Suite 108, in Olivette. Classes will be held daily from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. during the three one-week sessions available: June 25 through 29, July 9 through 13. and July 23 through 27. For more info, go to lecoleacademy.com.
Chef JIM FIALA recently got back from an excursion through
Italy, and he’s announced that in the near future, there will be
special menus available at his restaurants Acero and The Crossing
that will reflect some of his favorite finds from his trip. We’ll
keep you appraised of the final menus when they’re announced.
Root in Richmond Heights has closed. The rustic American eatery
was shuttered last week, after being open for only three weeks.
Ownership cited financial reasons for the closure.
Small Plates, a new culinary events and networking group, will
be holding its first event, EMPANADAS! EMPANADAS!, on Thursday,
Feb. 23, at 6:30 pm at Urban Eats Cafe, 3301 Meramec St., with WIL
PELLY of Diablitos as the first guest chef. Pelly will be doing a
cooking demo covering Latin American food. For tickets, visit
smallplates314.com. Small Plates donates 10 percent of all proceeds
to a different local charity each month.
Congrats to DORA BACHESTA, the winner of this year’s annual
Pasta Bowl at LoRusso’s Cucina. This was the 15th year for the
event, and instead of the usual open competition, three previous
Pasta Bowl Winners came back to compete in a sort of grand
championship round. Bachesta won with her Fettuccine & Polo
Asiago, which took the top prize in 2005. The dish will be on the
LoRusso’s menu for the next year, and every time it’s ordered, $2
goes to Operation Food Search.
4 Hands Brewing Company will host The Lupulin Carnival, its
first beer festival, on Saturday, March 3, from 2 to 6 p.m. There
will be eats, courtesy of area food trucks, beer from various local
craft breweries, live art and music. The folks at 4 Hands also will
be using the event to launch their latest brew, War Hammer Imperial
IPA. Tickets can be purchased at the brewery, 1220 S. Eighth
It’s been announced that staff and students at L’Ecole
Culinaire will soon be rolling out their own food truck, which we
understand will focus on venues in the county. Not a lot of details
yet, but we’ll keep you posted.
It’s also been reported around town and even nationally that
Pujols 5 Westport Grill has been renamed St. Louis Sports Hall of
Fame Bar and Grill. Guess it had to happen.
This month, St. Louis Bread Co. is launching a new program
called Warm-Up Wednesday, giving away free soup to customers who
donate to benefit area charities. St. Louisans can nominate
deserving nonprofits to the company via Twitter and Facebook, and
Bread Co. will select winners from the recommendations. On the
final Wednesday of the month, Feb. 29, customers can bring in three
non-perishable food items and receive a free bowl of soup. The
donated items will go to Operation Food Search.
STEVE and JAMIE KOMOREK, who own South City favorite Trattoria
Marcella, have announced plans for a second restaurant. The name of
the new eatery hasn’t been revealed, but it will be another homage
to their mother, Marcella. The restaurant will be located on
Clayton Road, just west of 141, and construction has already begun.
Look for an opening sometime this summer. We’re told the bar area
will be a central focus of the restaurant and will feature
small-production wines from high-quality vineyards.
The latest food truck to hit the scene in St. Louis is Hot
Aztec. The truck features gourmet Mexican street cuisine, and fans
can follow it on Facebook and on Twitter @hotaztec. In other food
truck news, the owners of popular mobile cake shop Sweet Divine
have announced they’re looking for a permanent storefront to
augment their rolling operation.
Gourmet to Go recently opened its second location in Clayton at
7710 Carondelet Ave. The new cafe features breakfast, lunch and
coffee and is open from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., Monday through Friday,
and seats approximately 20.
The St. Louis Chapter of the Missouri Restaurant Association
has named PAUL and WENDY HAMILTON, co-owners of Eleven Eleven
Mississippi, Vin de Set, PW Pizza and Moulin, as its Restaurateurs
of the Year. Paul Hamilton also is president of the Saint Louis
Originals, a consortium of more than 30 or the area’s finest
locally owned and operated restaurants.
For those looking for a day-time option to celebrate
Valentine’s Day, The Presentation Room at L’ Ecole Culinaire is
offering a Lunch of Love, beginning at noon on the 14th and
featuring a choice of one appetizer, two entrees, one shared
dessert and two non-alcoholic beverages. Cost is $30 per couple and
reservations are required. Call 587-2433 to secure a spot. For more
of a hands-on V-Day experience, Kitchen Conservatory in Clayton is
offering a series of culinary classes for couples in the weeks
leading up to the big day. More info at
His vision and leadership in the establishment of a clinic for
the underserved have garnered BOB FOX the 2011 St. Louis Award.
Each year, the award recognizes a St. Louisan who has contributed
“the most outstanding service to the community.” Fox, owner of
NewSpace Office Interiors, is the founder of Casa de Salud, a
midtown health clinic for the city’s underinsured and uninsured
◆ New microbrewery 4 Hands Brewing Company has started brewing
its beers on a commercial scale, and will be opening its tasting
room to the public in December. Instead of running a kitchen
on-site, food will come courtesy of a rotating roster of local food
trucks. Co-owner KEVIN LEMP says so far, he’s been talking with the
Cha Cha Chow, Pi, Guerilla Street Food and Seoul Taco trucks about
bringing their wares to the tasting room. On the brewing side, look
for the company’s four core beers—Cast Iron Oatmeal Brown, Divided
Sky Rye IPA, Reprise Centennial Red and Single Speed Session—to be
available in kegs initially for restaurant and bar use, and 22-
ounce bottles shortly thereafter.
Signs of the season… The fifth annual GINGERBREAD HOUSE CONTEST
kicks off this weekend at Plaza Frontenac. This year, some of St.
Louis’ top chefs will create their edible interpretations of
beloved storybook tales. The houses will be on display Nov. 19
through Dec. 4, and shoppers are invited to vote on their favorite
house or purchase raffle tickets to win one of their own. Proceeds
from the event benefit LYDIA’S HOUSE, which is working in
partnership with L’ECOLE CULINAIRE and PLAZA FRONTENAC.
◆We’re sad to report that local legend MIKE ‘TALAYNA’ FAILLE
passed away last week, on Oct. 27, from complications arising from
a heart attack. The 73-year-old was famous for his Talayna’s
Italian Restaurant, which closed in the late 1990s, along with a
string of other restaurant projects, and was just getting ready to
open a new venture, the Frontenac Grill, in West County. His family
has announced the restaurant will still open to honor his