It's time once again for the James Beard Foundation Awards. The annual ‘Oscars’ of the culinary world recently announced its list of semi-finalists, and St. Louis is represented in a big way. Chefs GERARD CRAFT (Niche); KEVIN WILLMANN (Farmhaus); KEVIN NASHAN (Sidney Street Cafe); JOSH GALLIANO (The Libertine); and BEN POREMBA (Elaia) all are in the running for the title of Best Chef: Midwest. Chef RICK LEWIS of Quincy Street Bistro has been tapped as a contender for Rising Star Chef of the Year, and Taste in the CWE has been nominated for Outstanding Bar Program. Finalists for the awards will be announced on March 18, in Chicago, and the winners will be revealed in NYC in May. Congrats to all, good luck and thanks for representing St. Louis' culinary scene so well!
Head to Monarch in Maplewood for the second annual Celebrate Life, Celebrate Local event on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 4 to 7 p.m. Indulge in some of the best beer, wine and chocolate our area has to offer, while helping out a great cause: SSM Hospice and Home Care Foundation. Tickets are $50, and can be obtained by calling 989-2775 or visiting ssmhospicefoundation.com.
The folks at members-only dining concern Blood & Sand have announced they're going to be opening up a second restaurant concept in the near future. The new place will be called Death in The Afternoon, a reference to the famous Champagne and absinthe cocktail, as well as the Hemingway story. Look for it in the old Terrace View space at City Garden downtown.
Congratulations to the folks at Sidney Street Cafe, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this month. To commemorate the milestone, chef KEVIN NASHAN and his kitchen staff will be partnering with 10 chefs from St. Louis and beyond for a one-of-a-kind dining experience early next year. The roster of chefs is a veritable culinary who's who, and includes GERARD CRAFT of Niche Restaurant Group, KEVIN WILLMANN of Farmhaus and JOSH GALLIANO of The Libertine. The event will be held at Sidney Street Cafe on Jan. 20, with passed apps and cocktails being served beginning at 6:30 p.m. and dinner kicking off at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $195 per person. For the full chef roster and to purchase tickets, go online at brownpapertickets.com.
Another production year in the fields is winding down at Claverach Farm, but there’s a lot to look forward to in 2014 and beyond. For many years, Claverach Farm has had a presence at area farmers markets and as a produce supplier to a few of St. Louis’ popular restaurants, including Sidney Street Cafe, Stellina, Oceano Bistro and Farmhaus, just to name a few. But in more recent years, operations on the Eureka farm have grown and expanded, with great promise for the future.
On July 15, chef KEVIN NASHAN will be hosting a benefit dinner at his Sidney Street Cafe to benefit Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign, a national initiative to end childhood hunger. The dinner will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. and features an impressive line-up of local and regional chefs, including GERARD CRAFT of Craft Restaurants Ltd.; KEVIN WILLMANN of Farmhaus; Top Chef winner STEPHANIE IZARD of Chicago's Girl & Goat; JASON VINCENT of Nightwood in Chicago; and MICHAEL PALEY from Metropole in Cincinnati. Tickets are $150 and are available online at ce.strength.org.
St. Louis restaurants were well represented on the Opinionated About Dining's Top 25 Midwest Restaurants list that was recently released. Niche took the No. 2 slot; Sidney Street Cafe was No. 8; Stone Soup Cottage was No. 11; Brasserie by Niche came in at No. 12; Farmhaus garnered No. 13; and Tony's landed at No. 20; and Harvest rounded out the list at 22. Well done!
St. Louis' food culture will be recognized on the national stage this summer, thanks to Cochon 555, a premier culinary event that will bring together some of the area's very best chefs to see just what they can create with the pig.
Cupcakes make it easier than ever to satisfy a sweet tooth. Perfectly sized for one--or two, if you're feeling generous--each cupcake bite is an experience to be savored. Lucky for us, there seems to be a never-ending supply--and selection--thanks to cupcake connoisseurs who have elevated the formerly ho-hum children's birthday party staple to a whole new level.
You voted, we listened! Ladue News readers know what they like; and with this year's Platinum List, you've made your voices heard. This list compiles the best of St. Louis.
Next stop, Clayton! STL Culinary Tours has added Clayton to its growing list of neighborhood-centric foodie excursions. On Saturday, March 9, the company will conduct a tour of some of Clayton's finest eateries. The tour will start at Bar Les Freres and will traverse the neighborhood, stopping at Extra Virgin, Oceano Bistro, Little Country Gentlemen and end up at I Fratellini. For more info and to purchase tickets, go online at StlCulinaryTours.com.
The past year has been a busy one for the St. Louis culinary scene. Here are a few of the highlights from 2012:
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.
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Diablitos is the latest project from Gupreet Padda and Amy Grimes, the duo who brought us Cafe Ventana and Sanctuaria, as well as the latest incarnation of Chuy Arozoles to life. Their latest is billed as a Mexican street vendorthemed cantina, specializing in traditional south-ofthe- border favorites. Despite having just opened a couple of months ago, Diablitos has generated considerable buzz among local foodies and cocktalians, so we just had to head over to check it out.
Once again, St. Louis has been recognized nationally for its culinary prowess. Chefs KEVIN NASHAN of Sidney Street Cafe; GERARD CRAFT of Niche; KEVIN WILLMANN of Farmhaus and JOSH GALLIANO of Monarch all have been named semi-finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category of the 2012 James Beard Awards. And chef WES JOHNSON’s Salt in the CWE, which opened just last spring, is a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant. Good luck to all!
◆ Just in time to honor the 78th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse has introduced a new cocktail program that pays homage to classic concoctions. Look for libations like The Moscow Mule, The Hemingway (thought to be the original version of the daiquiri), and The Manhattan East Side (a combination of the Manhattan and Whiskey Sour), as well as other creations—all with an emphasis on fresh juices and ingredients.
◆ 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.
◆ 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.
Water Street Cafe is one of the new kids on the block in Maplewood, helping to bolster the growing downtown dining scene there. The restaurant is becoming well regarded for its classic and custom cocktail offerings, but the cozy, inviting space and interesting, delicious menu items also make this spot worth a visit.
◆Sad news for fans of fine Italian food. Longtime favorite Del Pietro’s House of Pasta will be closing its doors this month. Owner MARY ROSE DEL PIETRO, who opened the restaurant 35 years ago with her late husband, MICHAEL, says the time has come to retire and spend some time with her family. The final service will be Aug. 27, but the space won’t be vacant long. MATHEW UNGER, executive chef at the Missouri Athletic Club West, will be opening his new restaurant, Mathew’s Kitchen, at the location on Oct. 1.
> A big congratulations to Niche general manager BRYAN LIPA, who has accepted a position as captain at chef Thomas Keller’s world-famous French Laundry in Yountville, Calif. Lipa, who has been at Niche since 2009, says experiencing boss GERARD CRAFT’s focus on cuisine and hospitality has been invaluable. “If it wasn’t for Gerard, this opportunity wouldn’t have been possible,” Lipa says. He’ll remain at Niche until May.
> Our town has been at the center of the culinary universe lately. The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2011 awards last week, and St. Louis was well-represented. Local chefs GERARD CRAFT of Niche, KEVIN NASHAN of Sidney Street Cafe and KEVIN WILLMAN of Farmhaus Restaurant have all been named semifinalists for Best Chef: Midwest, and sommelier GLENN BARDGETT of Annie Gunn’s is a semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Service.