The folks who own the local Potbelly Sandwich Shop franchise have announced they'll be opening a second location at 12 S. Bemiston Ave. in Clayton in late October. The space previously housed the long-running The Fatted Calf, which closed earlier this year.
Get your appetites ready, because next week is the ninth annual Downtown Restaurant Week in the Lou. From Monday, Aug. 19, through Sunday, Aug. 25, enjoy a special three-course menu for $25 at 27 different eating and drinking establishments in the heart of the city. Get the whole rundown of participating venues at downtownrestaurantweek.net.
Big congrats go out to MATT SEITER, bar manager at Sanctuaria Wild Tapas in The Grove. His book, The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars, is one of 10 semi-finalists for Best New Book at the Spirited Awards at the 2013 Tales of The Cocktail, which will be held in July in New Orleans. The list of finalists for the category will be released next month. Good luck!
With tax season almost upon us, Truffles in Ladue has decided to give its customers a break with a unique promotion. The restaurant has announced it'll be ‘Tax Free Till Tax Day,’ and pay all taxes that its customers usually are responsible for from March 1 until April 15. Hey, every little bit helps!
The Crystal Cajun Cook-Off, one of the premier events leading up to the city's Mardi Gras celebration, was held Jan. 26, in the City Hall rotunda downtown. The contest featured 10 amateur and 10 professional chefs slugging it out in the kitchen for the title of best Cajun/Creole Dish. When the dust settled, Lumiere Place/River City executive chef and LN Cooks columnist JOHN JOHNSON top honors in the pro category, while chef GEORGE MACDONALD came out on top in the amateur division. Congrats to both chefs!
The past year has been a busy one for the St. Louis culinary scene. Here are a few of the highlights from 2012:
Hendricks BBQ opened earlier this fall, bringing both over-the-top design and quality food and drink over the bridge to St. Charles.
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.
Glad to be able to report some more recent restaurant openings. The local franchise of Potbelly Sandwich Shop opened for business at 11615A Olive Blvd., in the former space of Provisions Market, on Thursday, Aug. 23. Then Hendricks BBQ opened its doors at 1200 S. Main Street in St. Charles a week later on Thursday, Aug. 30. The restaurant is the latest from the folks who brought us Sanctuaria Wild Tapas, Diablitos Cantina and Cafe Ventana.
Clayton favorite Oceano Bistro has debuted another location at 16125 Chesterfield Parkway West in Chesterfield, while the space at 2001 Park Ave. that once housed Arcelia’s is now the home of Laredo on Lafayette Square, which is serving up both classic Mexican and Mexican-fusion cuisine.
◆ 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.
No one would argue that St. Louis has a nightlife that’s equal to New York or L.A., but sometimes we tend to overlook some of the great (and even award-winning) options that are right around the corner. We’re putting these hot spots on our list!
> ANGELA DEL PIETRO has sold Clayton favorite Portabella to KIM TUCCI and JOE FRESTA of Pasta House Company. It will reopen as Tucci and Fresta’s Trattoria and Bar in about four to six weeks. Look for a menu of upscale Italian fare.
> MARC DEL PIETRO, chef/owner of Luciano’s Trattoria in Clayton, is bowing a new venture called The Block at 146 W. Lockwood Ave. in Webster Groves. The 2,500 square feet of space will house a butcher shop, restaurant and bar and will have about 75 seats. All of the restaurant’s meat will be butchered and aged in-house. Del Pietro says the name is a play on ‘butcher’s block,’ as well as a reference to being part of the community ‘on the block.’ Look for a February opening.
> There are two more names to add to your dining destinations in The Grove: Sanctuaria now sits at the corner of Boyle and Manchester in the space previously occupied by Agave. The concept is ‘wild tapas,’ prepared by chef Chris Lee, formerly of Café Ventana and the late Melange in the CWE, with Matthew Seiter shaking things up behind the bar. A few blocks to the west, Phil Noe is opening an all-night diner next door to his Italian joint, Mia Rosa. Doors open Nov. 26 at the yet-to-be-named nocturnal eatery.