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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.
Great Harvest Bread Company, which recently moved from Olivette, and La Cosecha Coffee Roasters have teamed up to provide customers with top-notch coffee and bread at 7360 Manchester Road in Maplewood. "We're sort of roommates" jokes La Cosecha co-owner JAMIE JESCHKE, since the two businesses are sharing the space and each one is operating as a separate entity. The idea, according to Jeschke, is for each company to do what it does best and complement the other. In addition to its coffee bar operation, La Cosecha also is roasting its coffee onsite.
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.
Mission Taco Joint is the latest from brothers Adam and Jason Tilford. Unlike their other restaurants, Mission concentrates on simpler fare, serving up both classic and unique takes on Mexican street food with impressive results.
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.
This month, Operation Food Search is hosting its annual Tomato Explosion fundraiser. A variety of area eateries are offering a tomato dish on their menu, with part of the sales benefiting the organization. One of our faves so far is the Tomato Tagliatelle at Cielo at the Four Seasons Hotel, featuring homemade pasta, sauteed sea scallops, mussels and crudaiola. Three dollars of each one ordered goes to OFS. For a full list of participating restaurants, go to operationfoodsearch.org.
Kraftig Light, brewed by St. Louis' William K. Busch Brewing Company, took top honors in the American-style Light Beer category at the North American Beer Awards, held earlier this month in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The brew bested entries from many of the biggest names in beer in the country, including Anheuser-Busch's Michelob Ultra and Budweiser Select, which took second and third places, respectively.
Fork & Stix recently opened its doors on the eastern edge of the U. City Loop just off Delmar Boulevard, and local foodies have been talking and blogging about the place ever since. On our recent visit, we learned first-hand what all the hype was about.
Love to report new places opening up: The Sweet Divine's new Soulard location at 1801 S. Ninth St. is now open for business. Likewise, Piccione Pastry at 6197 Delmar Blvd. in the U-City Loop is now up and running.
This year is the 20th anniversary of Dining Out For Life, the national fundraiser for AIDS service organizations. This year's event on Thursday, April 25, involves a variety of local eateries that will donate 25 percent or more of your bill to Saint Louis Effort For AIDS (SLEFA). More than 100 area restaurants are participating. For the full list, visit diningoutforlife.com/stlouis/restaurants. Since 1990, Dining Out For Life has raised more than $4.3 million for SLEFA.
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!
After St. Louis native Terry Ross met her future husband, Neal, in San Francisco, the couple moved back to her hometown in 2000. They were looking for the same quality of life they enjoyed in California and found it in University City, where they appreciate the urban setting and walkability of the neighborhood, while still living in a larger home. Their children, Finnegan 9, and Charlotte (better known as ChiChi), 7, are able to walk to school and parks; and Terry, who works in marketing for College Bound, and Neal, who works in merchandising for CCA Global, enjoy the closeness of The Loop for date nights. We spoke with Terry to learn more about her family’s love for University City.
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.
The past year has been a busy one for the St. Louis culinary scene. Here are a few of the highlights from 2012:
It's been announced that Clayton-based Wasabi Management Company, which owns the popular Japanese restaurants bearing the Wasabi Sushi Bar name, has purchased the three St. Louis SanSai locations. "With different menus and dining experiences, SanSai complements the Japanese cuisine offerings that our Wasabi Sushi Bars have been providing diners in the St. Louis area since 2003,” according to Wasabi CEO John Kim in a press release regarding the purchase.
A 5-foot bejeweled peacock sculpture is local jewelry artist DIANE KATZMAN’s latest showpiece for charity. The peacock was created to benefit COLLEGE BOUND, to raise awareness of the compelling need for greater equity in education. The stones and feathers on the sculpture represent the hopes and dreams of College Bound students and their families and the community. The peacock made its debut this week at Neiman Marcus, and will be on display throughout the holiday season. This Saturday, Nov. 17, at 1:30 p.m., the store is hosting a ‘peacock party’ with refreshments and treats. Katzman also will be offering attendees the opportunity to create their own piece of jewelry.
Chef STEVE GONTRAM'S long-awaited burger restaurant, 5 Star Burgers, is now open for business at 8125 Maryland Ave. in Clayton. In addition to beefy burgers, the menu includes some veg-centric sandwiches like the Veggie Burger and The Portabella Stack, plus a bevy of shakes and floats. We've received some reports from the field that the Sweet Potato Fries with Salted Maple Cream are not to be missed.
If ever a place has earned the moniker of ‘local landmark,’ it's Blueberry Hill. Long the cornerstone in the decades-long revitalization of the U-City Loop, the restaurant and music venue just celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Yet another food truck is opening a permanent location. We’ve been told Seoul Taco has signed a lease for a space at 571 Mehlville Ave. in the U. City Loop, the former home of Gyros In The Loop. While some truck operations are speeding up, others are pulling over and parking. Pi Pizzeria has announced it will no longer be operating its food trucks in St. Louis and Washington, D.C. The mobile eateries still will be making limited appearances at events and still will be part of Pi’s catering operations. According to a statement, the restaurant wants to focus on its brick-and-mortar operations.
Tavolo V is the latest addition to Michael Del Pietro’s stable of eateries, which includes Sugo’s Spaghetteria and Via Vino, among others. The restaurant’s name is Italian for ‘table of five,’ a reference to Del Pietro, his wife and their three children. We’d heard Tavolo, located in U. City, was serving up fresh Italian cuisine in a fun and unique space, so we popped in recently to see— and taste—for ourselves.
Billed as the ‘little brother’ to Franco in Soulard, Nico recently opened up in the U. City Loop in the space that most recently housed Brandt’s. We stopped by to see if the new kid lives up to his esteemed family tradition.