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St. Louis-area chefs and restaurateurs are once again banding together to support the next wave of restoration and maintenance of Forest Park through Restaurants for Restoration. Starting Tuesday, April 1, select area restaurants will offer their patrons the opportunity to support Forest Park by purchasing designated wine selections on their wine lists. A portion of these sales will be donated to Forest Park Forever. The Restaurants for Restoration initiative was first launched in 2001 as a joint effort by Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors and its supplier partners to build community awareness and raise funds for the major renovations the park has undergone in the past decade. A full list of participating restaurants can be found on Major Brands’ Facebook page, facebook.com/MajorBrandsMO.
When the popular Arcelia's left Lafayette Square a while back, it left a vacuum in the neighborhood for those with a taste for Mexican fare. So when Laredo opened up in the same space a couple of years ago, there was much anticipation for this new kid on the block, and we were eager to finally give the place a try.
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!
Nadoz Bakery & Café bowed its newest location at the Taubman Prestige Outlets in Chesterfield earlier this month. The new spot features specialty coffee and espresso, all-day breakfast, homemade soups and salads, sandwiches and desserts, along with a Burger Bar and the new Nadoz Squeeze Juice Bar, offering raw juice from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Chef John Perkins has been making waves in the St. Louis culinary scene for a while with his Entre Underground pop-up dinner events and his catering prowess. Then he took a space in the historic Gaslight Square and revamped it for private events and also used it as home base for a series of month-long specialty restaurant concepts he put together. Late last year, he decided to forgo the monthly experiments and use the space to house an ongoing restaurant based on one of them, a successful Southern-influenced event. He called the new eatery Juniper; and it's a cozy, comforting platform for Perkins' unique takes on down-home specialties.
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.
The sixth annual Festivale to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will be held on Saturday, March 8, at Neo on Locust, 2801 Locust St. VIP admission will be from 7 to 8 p.m. with general admission beginning at 8 p.m. The event concludes at 10:30 p.m. This year's event has a speakeasy theme and features beers from some of the area's best breweries, as well as apps, entertainment, raffles and a silent auction. For more info and to purchase tickets, head online to cff.org.
ANDREW ZIMMERMAN, executive chef at Sepia Restaurant in Chicago, will be the guest celebrity chef for St. Louis Community College Foundation’s black-tie gala on Saturday, Feb. 8. Falling in Love…in Five Courses will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. Cocktails will be served at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m. Joining Zimmerman will be the Four Season's own executive chef FABRIZIO SCHENARDI and the chefs and students from the college’s culinary arts program. Tickets are $295 each (patron tickets, $500). For more information, call Jo-Ann Digman at 539-5358 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations are in order for chef DAVE ROOK, who has been named new executive chef at Oceano Bistro’s Chesterfield location at 16125 Chesterfield Parkway West. Most recently, he and his brother, MIKE, owned and operated Washington Avenue’s King Louie’s Empire Deli and Pizza. He's also served as executive chef at Copia and Crazy Fish, as well as being part-owner and chef of Aqua Vin. Rook is part of the well-known culinary Rook family, which includes dad LOU JR., meat cutter at Annie Gunn's, and brother LOU III, who serves as exec chef there.
Folks with a sweet tooth in West County now have easier access to award-winning cupcakes. The Cup’s newest shop is now open for business in Chesterfield at 1590 Clarkson Road, between Talbots and Chico’s. The Chesterfield location offers The Cup’s signature cupcakes, as well as sugar cookies, cakewiches, Kaldi’s coffee beverages and gelato. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
We've re-visited several old favorites lately that have replaced longtime chefs with new ones. The latest is Vin De Set, which recently said goodbye to executive chef Ivy Magruder and welcomed chef Ryan Buettner into that position. While it's always a bit worrisome when a kitchen gets shuffled around, we're happy to report that this transition of power has been seamless—and delicious.
Look for Seedz Cafe, a new vegetarian eatery, to open for business in early 2014 at 6344 South Rosebury in the DeMun neighborhood. The spot will feature an array of raw items, as well as smoothies and other plant-based specialties.
While some things at Winslow's Home may be a bit different, one aspect that hasn't changed is the restaurant's commitment to quality ingredients and tasty food.
Little Country Gentlemen, the evening time concept that shared the space at 8135 Maryland Ave. in Clayton occupied in the am hours by Half & Half, has announced that it's closing after service on Dec. 31. Half & Half will remain continue on as-is. Little Country Gentlemen opened in the summer of 2012, taking the place of Medianoche.
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:
One of the jewels in Zoe Pidgeon's eclectic culinary crown, along with Bar Les Freres and Bobo Noodle House, I Fratellini is one of those little oases that offer a cozy, welcoming respite from the hustle and bustle of the workaday world.
Looks like one of our favorite chefs will be leaving the Lou soon: It's been announced that FABRIZIO SCHENARDI, executive chef of Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis will be heading south this coming spring to help open up a new Four Seasons property at Disney World in Orlando. In the meantime, the search is on for someone to fill his sizable culinary shoes. He'll have some familiar company in his new gig: Local Four Seasons food and beverage director STEPHEN WANCHA also will be moving to Florida to work on the same property, which is scheduled to open for business sometime this summer. All the best, we'll miss you both!
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.
Happy Birthday, Ol’ Blue Eyes. The Four Seasons Winery, located within the Four Seasons Country Club in Chesterfield, will be celebrating FRANK SINATRA’s birthday with a special five-course dinner on Thursday, Dec. 12. Entertainment will be provided by local favorite TONY VIVIANO and his band. Admission to dinner, dancing and the tribute show is $35 person (includes tax and gratuity), and a cash bar will be available. The evening will also give diners an opportunity to preview the planned full-scale launch of Four Seasons as a wine and fine-dining venue. Proprietor Mehdi Rouhani, of the popular Candicci’s and Talayna’s restaurants, says he plans an official launch of the expanded facility early next year. For reservations, call 956-6266.
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.
The holidays came early this year when readers submitted their homemade sweets for LN’s Holiday Dessert Recipe Contest. Four Seasons pastry chef Mary Boehne, LN Cooks’ chef John Johnson and Spicy Bits writer Matt Sorrell helped judge the tight, but oh-so-delicious race, and Ladue Florist decked the festive holiday table.
There's nothing we like better than visiting an old favorite and finding a couple of new gems on the menu. That's the delightful situation we found ourselves in recently when we dropped in on Cardwell's at the Plaza.
The love for donuts in the Lou continues unabated. The latest purveyor of these sweet treats to make the scene is the Vincent Van Doughnut food truck, which hit the streets this month. The mobile bake shop will be selling a variety of classic favorites, as well as custom creations out of Clyde, a vintage 1960 Ford Grumman Olson step van. Find out where the truck will be next via Twitter @vinvandoughnut.
Robust Wine Bar's Webster Groves location has long been renowned for its fabulous wine selection, as well as the fine food coming out of the kitchen. Earlier this year, Robust ventured into the city for its second location, Robust Downtown at the MX. While the vibe is a bit different than the original, the menu and wine offerings at the new Robust remain top-notch.