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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!
In March, there will be a new Schnuck at the helm of the venerable local grocery store chain. Todd Schnuck will become the company’s president/CEO. After almost eight years, older brother Scott is stepping down but will remain chairman.
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:
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.
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!
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis is giving young diners a chance to help others in need with a new program, ‘Crafting for Kids.’ All kids 12 and younger are invited for a complimentary Sunday brunch when accompanied by their family. A special crafting area will be set up in The Restaurant at the hotel for the youngsters to make cards and other paper handiwork with positive and inspirational messages for the kids and families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of St. Louis. In addition, the hotel will donate $2 to the organization for every signature Bloody Mary Cocktail purchased during brunch, which is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The program will run every Sunday through Sept. 15. To learn more about ‘Crafting for Kids’ or to make reservations, call 719-1433.
One area of St. Louis that's been seeing a real resurgence of its dining scene is Clayton. New and exciting eateries have been attracting diners by the score. The latest restaurant to add to this mini-renaissance is The Libertine.
ALTON BROWN, popular Iron Chef host and all-around food TV personality, will be coming to the Fox Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, with a new show entitled Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable. That date might seem like a ways off, but tickets have gone on sale already and are going quickly. Prices are $60.50, $50.50, $45.50 and $35.50, with a limited number of Gold Circle seats also available. Tickets are available at the Fox box office, online at metrotix.com or by phone at 534-1111.
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 is so lucky to have such an incredible restaurant scene. Talented chefs seem to be flocking here and opening new restaurants left and right. What could be better than food and fashion?
Nue dress, $350, Distinctions
Earrings, $24, MACS Designs
Greek cuff, $633, Pace Farias
Via Spiga shoes, $225, Nordstrom
Sand jacket, $595; Gran Sasso shirt, $225; Hertling pant, $195; Pocket square, $25; all from Mister Guy
Ecco shoes, $140, Laurie’s
Cini is now open in Ladue’s Colonial Marketplace. The ‘fast-casual’ Italian restaurant concept was created by DAVID JONES and DOUG TIEBER (developers of Buffalo Wild Wings in the St. Louis area), along with FRANK and CARMELO GABRIELE of Il Bel Lago. Short for ‘arancinis,’ the name comes from a traditional fried Italian street food staple made with rice and vegetables, which will be handmade daily at Cini. Also open at Colonial Marketplace is The Original Pancake House, known for its mouth-watering breakfast treats like the Dutch Baby and Apple Pancakes.
Ever since Monarch shuttered last Spring, former executive chef JOSH GALLIANO has been keeping busy with a variety of culinary projects around town. The foodie community has been waiting patiently to see where he would land on a more permanent basis, and now the wait is over: It's been announced that Galliano and restaurateurs NICK and AUDRA LUEDDE are teaming up to open The Libertine. The new restaurant reportedly is scheduled to debut in the former Chez Leon space in Clayton later this year, if all goes according to plan. We’re told Galliano’s menu will be divided into the three categories simply defined as ‘Vegetables’, ‘Meat’ and ‘Seafood,’ and there will also be plenty of craft cocktails, beers and wines available. The Libertine will serve dinner from 4:30 to 10 p.m. during the week and until 11 p.m. on the weekends, with lunch service slated to begin later in the year. We'll keep you posted as details emerge.