St. Louis’ Vicia, Nixta Among Bon Appétit Best New Restaurant Finalists

St. Louis’ Vicia, Nixta Among Bon Appétit Best New Restaurant Finalists

Bon Appétit Best New Restaurant Finalists Includes Vicia and Nixta

St. Louis, MO/August 7, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – St. Louis diners already know how delicious two of our favorite local restaurants are, and now the rest of the country is getting a hint.  Long time food publication Bon Appétit has named both Nixta and Vicia as finalists for its annual “Best New Restaurants in America” list.  Both are listed among the 50 best new restaurants in America, according to the magazine.  The list will be whittled down to 10 winners.  Both St. Louis contenders offer chef-driven cuisine that pairs locally sourced ingredients with on-trend cooking techniques.

Nixta is part of chef-restaurateur Ben Poremba portfolio which includes Elaia, Olio, and Parigi.  The kitchen is led by executive chef Tello Carreon, who combines a Guanajuato, Mexico upbringing and culinary skills with fresh ingredients to create upscale, contemporary Mexican dishes.  The Bon Appétit editors call Carreon genius for his “ambitious cooking that combines bold flavors from various regions of Mexico with stellar ingredients.”  The dishes they recommended include the cheesy, deep-fried flautas; the ceviche with its “plump, pristine shrimp”; the pulpo which they call “the crispiest pulpo (octopus) known to humankind”; and the chicken mole with its “deeply complex mole negro de Abuelita Concepcion” which is based on Chef Carreon’s grandmother’s recipe.  They also extol Nixta’s intimate space as both lively and modern, but they also warn (as St. Louis diners already know) you’d be wise to make reservations, because the small restaurant fills up fast.  They also advise diners to stick around past 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, when Nixta becomes Bar Limón: “Think live salsa, merengue, and cumbia, plus plenty of mezcal and tequila.”

Vicia may have an edge over much of the competition, since Bon Appétit editors are already well familiar with Chef Michael Gallina’s work at the internationally renowned Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Tarrytown, NY).  They come right out and say, “go here for a taste of the finest vegetables, grains, and meats known to Missouri.”  Gallina is praised for giving “the utmost attention to oft-overlooked vegetables” and for “turning out thoughtful, precise shared plates.”  The editors laud praise on the wood-fired, vegetable-forward cuisine with its “impressive char and deep flavor.”  They especially recommend trying the Goose Egg, which they call “gorgeously soft-scrambled eggs presented in what looks like a bird’s nest”; the “very clever” rutabaga carbonara; and the beef fat–basted carrots which the editors called “incomparable” and “a main course unto themselves.”  The Central West End eatery was just named to Eater’s 12 Best New Restaurants in America.

Only one other restaurant in Missouri, the Antler Room in Kansas City made the final 50 cut.  No St. Louis restaurant has made the Hot 10 Best New Restaurants in America list since Bon Appétit restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton introduced this list in 2009.  Nixta creator chef Poremba’s Elaia and Olio were named as finalists in 2013, as was James Beard winning chef Gerard Craft’s Niche.  The ten winners for 2017 will be announced on August 15th.

Kemoll’s is One of OpenTable’s 100 Most Scenic Restaurants

Kemoll’s is One of OpenTable’s 100 Most Scenic Restaurants

Views of the Arch, Downtown Put Kemoll’s on OpenTable’s Scenic Restaurant List

St. Louis, MO/August 5, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – There’s no doubt St. Louis is a beautiful city, with towering skyscrapers, acres of majestic parkland, breathtaking river vistas, and of course, the magnificent Gateway Arch.  There is a lot to do and see here.  There are also some terrific places to eat, and few combine sightseeing with dining.  In March, we shared a customer review-based Top 10 list of St. Louis restaurants with a view.  Now, one of those restaurants, Kemoll’s Italian Restaurant, has been named to OpenTable’s 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America for 2017.  According to Opentable, the list is based on an analysis of more than 10-million reviews submitted by verified diners of more than 25,000 restaurants from coast to coast.

According to OpenTable, the restaurants making their top 100 list all offer awe-inspiring views of nature, cityscapes, and travel-worthy landmarks.  Kemoll’s position at the top of One Metropolitan Square, 211 North Broadway, in the heart of downtown St. Louis means it offers all three.  From the windows on the 40th floor, diners can take in stunning views of the downtown skyline, watch the mighty Mississippi River churn by, and the Arch is so close, it feels like you could reach out and touch it.  In the daytime, you can watch the riverboats and barges lugging their loads up and down the river, and gaze off into the Illinois countryside.  To the west, you’ll find spectacular sunset views and watch as the city lights begin to sparkle at twilight. Kemoll’s offers 360-degrees of breathtaking views.

Kemoll’s is open for lunch Monday – Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Diners can enjoy a nice selection of soups (including Italian wedding soup), salads, and sandwiches like a tenderloin burger (mixed with caramelized onions and peppers); Italian roast beef on cheese bread (named for the late Cardinal’s minor league manager George Silvey); and hot paninis.  There are also kebabs, pastas, and entrees like Chicken Marsala, Grilled Salmon, and Toasted Ravioli. Kemoll’s is open for dinner Monday – Saturday starting at 5:00 p.m.  The early evening prix fixe dinner menu (5–6:00 p.m.) includes salad, cheese bread, and chef’s choice dessert with several entree choices including Beef Tenderloin au Poivre, Chicken Parmesan, and Cannelloni or Manicotti alla Toscana.  After 6:00 p.m, dinner at Kemolls is a multi-course affair that is meant to be savored.  Start with antipasti like fried artichoke hearts or broiled oysters a la Gaetana.  Then enjoy a fresh, crispy insalata.  Entree offerings include fish, chicken, beef, and veal.  There’s also a tempting selection of pastas and risottos, like the Beef Tenderloin Risotto (pan-seared tenderloin tips and asparagus spears sautéed in Merlot demi-glace and served over wild mushroom risotto with pancetta).  Finish your meal with an espresso and dolci, all the while taking in the incredible views of St. Louis.  One look out the window, and it’s not hard to see how Kemoll’s made the list.  No matter when you plan to visit, you will need a reservation.

Two other Missouri restaurants also made OpenTable’s 100 Most Scenic Restaurants list.  Both are in St. Louis’ weekend playground, Lake Ozark, Missouri.  JB Hooks (2260 Bagnell Dam Blvd) is right on the water.  This upscale eatery is known for great steak and seafood alongside creative cocktails, and those spectacular views of the lake.  Nearby is Baxter’s Lakeside Grille (2124 Bagnell Dam Blvd), where you find more great lake views from the panoramic windows and waterside dining on the wraparound deck.  Baxters offers classic American fare and a great bar in an upscale, but relaxed atmosphere.  Great destination restaurants when you’re planning a trip to the lake.

We already knew St. Louis diners had lots of great options for terrific food, beautiful surroundings, and top-notch service.  Kemoll’s has always been on the short list (especially if you’re dining to impress), and now they’re on OpenTable’s list of the 100 most scenic restaurants in America for 2017.  It’s an honor that’s well deserved.

Daytime only restaurant, First Watch, opens at Streets of St. Charles

Daytime only restaurant, First Watch, opens at Streets of St. Charles

First Watch at Streets of St. Charles

ST. CHARLES, MO/August 5, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) On August 7th First Watch opens a new restaurant at Streets of St. Charles, strategically located off the first exit just west of the Missouri River off 1-70.  “Our development team is always looking for vibrant, growing communities to build First Watch, and the Streets of St. Charles is already a vibrant part of town that’s really ideal for a breakfast, brunch and lunch spot like First Watch,” comments Eleni Kouvatsos, Public Relations and Communications Manager of the successful daytime restaurant chain.

With numerous awards including the 2016 top Family Dining restaurant by Consumer Reports, a 2015 Top Consumer Pick by Nation’s Restaurant News and over 200 “Best Breakfast” and “Best Brunch” accolades, these will not come as a surprise once you’ve sampled their innovative menu.  Classic favorites include The Traditional Breakfast and the Tri-Fecta.  Specialty items feature “Egg-Sclusives” (made with cage-free eggs) featuring Eggs Benedict, Farm Stand Breakfast Tacos, Chickinchanga, Biscuits & Turkey Sausage Gravy, and Skillet Hash creations.  If it’s an Omelet or Frittata you’re craving, there are plenty of choices such as the Bacado, Ham and Gruyere, Chile Chorizo, Morning Market Veg, Inspired Italian, Frittata Rustica and the Smoked Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Frittata all of which are paired with house made side(s) and/or whole grain artisan toast.

The First Watch Griddle can satisfy any foodie’s sweet tooth with their multigrain pancakes (humongous Plain, Banana Granola Crunch, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Chip or Blueberry); Lemon Ricotta Pancakes; French Toast (Traditional or the Flordian); and Belgian Waffle.

For the Power Breakfast or Brunch, the Healthier Side of the Menu boasts: Avocado Toast, Sunrise Granola Bowl, Steel-Cut Oatmeal, Egg White Omelets (Turkey or the Tri-Athlete), the Power Wrap, the A.M. Superfoods Bowl, and protein packed Power Bowls (Breakfast Quinoa Bowl or The Pesto Chicken Quinoa Bowl).

Lunch features a variety of Salads (Superfood Kale, Chicken Avocado Chop, Cobb, and Sweet Honey Pecan).  Sandwiches (served with mixed greens or a bowl of hot soup) include: Monterey Club, Blite, Baja Turkey Burger, Market Veggie, Roast Beef & Havarti, Ham & Gruyere Melt, Veggie Burger and Chicken Salad Melt.

If you’re not that hungry or want an additional side, First Watch Sides & Small Plates include: Bob’s Red Mill Grits, Fresh Seasonal Fruit, Fresh, Seasoned Potatoes, Fresh Baked Muffin, Hardwood Smoked Bacon, organic greens, Soup, and Whole Grain Artisan Toast or English muffin with All-Natural House Preserves.

If your body is craving Vitamin C, First Watch is known for their freshly squeezed orange juice and their Fresh Juice Bar (Juiced daily using fresh, all-natural ingredients) featuring their signature liquid delights: The Morning Meditation and the Kale Tonic.

First Watch supports local farmers/growers with locally grown seasonal produce whenever possible and everything is made from scratch and made to order.  First Watch is the largest and fastest-growing daytime-only restaurant concept in the U.S. with more than 295 restaurants in 26 states, including more than 195 First Watch, several of which are enjoying tremendous success in the local area:

First Watch, the Daytime Only Restaurant
Open 7:00 AM – 2:30 PM

Nine locations in the St. Louis Area!

First Watch – Chesterfield
120 Hilltown Village Center, Chesterfield, MO 63017
Phone: (636) 530-1401

First Watch – Clayton
8001 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, MO 63105
Phone: (314) 863-7330

First Watch – Creve Coeur
742 N. New Ballas Road, Creve Coeur, MO 63141
Phone: (314) 994-7171

First Watch – Des Peres
13323 Manchester Road, Des Peres, MO 63131
Phone: (314) 966-3913

First Watch – Kirkwood
491 South Kirkwood Rd, Kirkwood, MO 63122
Phone: (314) 909-7271

First Watch – Oakville
5646 Telegraph Road, Oakville, MO 63129
Phone: (314) 293-1024

First Watch – St. Peter’s
312 Mid Rivers Center, St. Peter’s, MO 63376
Phone: (636) 970-0050

First Watch – Streets of St Charles (Opens 8/7/17)
1405 Beale St, Ste 102, St. Charles, MO 63303
Phone: (636) 238-8970

First Watch – Town & Country
1130 Town & Country Crossing Drive
Town & Country, MO 63017
Phone: (636) 238-3949

Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in St. Louis

Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in St. Louis - STLRestaurant.News

St. Louis’ Top 10 Pizza Restaurants for August 2017

St. Louis, MO/August 5, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Pizza may have been brought to the U.S. by Italian immigrants, but it’s become one of the quintessential American foods.  We each eat about 46 slices a year—or about 6,000 slices over a lifetime, according to a poll by the CiCi’s Pizza restaurant chain and reported in the New York Daily News.  And a perennial question seems to be where to go to get the ultimate slice?

That question is an especially tricky one in St. Louis, with its diverse population, culturally rich neighborhoods, and wide variety of pizza offerings.  Just the question of crust alone can get St. Louis pizza lovers into a heated debate.  Are we talking about a New York style hand tossed, a Chicago Style deep dish, a bubbly Neapolitan; a soft Sicilian square; or a thin and crispy St. Louis style?  Then comes the topic of cheese and the debate starts anew.

It’s been about a year since we addressed the issue of the best pizza places in St. Louis, so we thought it was time to take a fresh look.  We checked the customer reviews and gathered the data to find out who St. Louis diners like best.  Restaurants had to have at least 50 reviews to make the top 10.  We also limited the list to independent pizzerias (those with no franchises and fewer than three stores).  One look at the 2017 Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in St. Louis and it’s obvious a lot has changed in the last year!

It turns out St. Louis’ favorite pizza maker is also St. Louis favorite sandwich maker—sort of.  Melo’s Pizzeria in Benton Park is the little pizzeria that Blues City Deli owner Vince Valenza and his son Joey Valenza built into the garage behind the sandwich shop (2438 McNair Ave).  They refurbished the space and brought in a beautiful wood-fired oven from Naples and started selling pizza in December 2015.  After just a few months, Melo’s was already becoming popular, as we talked about in an October 2016 profile.  Melo’s menu is almost as small as it’s building, but offers several enticing takes on classic Neapolitan style pizza.  We had pondered last October whether Melo’s Neapolitan pizza was on its way to becoming St. Louis’ new favorite, and it turns out that it was!

Another look at the list reveals that there’s a pizza for lovers of every style pie on this updated list.  Here are the top 10 10 pizza restaurants in St. Louis.

1. Melo’s Pizzeria (4.84 stars/61 reviews) Benton Park, 2438 McNair Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 833-4489.
2. Corner Bistro (4.72 stars/220 reviews) Princeton Heights, 4993 Loughborough Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 353-1811.
3. Sauce On The Side (4.57 stars/254 reviews) Downtown, 411 North 8th Street, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 241-5667.
4. Pizzeoli – Wood Fired Pizza Napoletana (4.56 stars/174 reviews) Soulard, 1928 South 12th Street, Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 449-1111.
5. Molldeli’s Delicatessen (4.52 stars/118 reviews) Concord, 11836 Tesson Ferry Road, Saint Louis, MO 63128, (314) 729-1800.
6. Roma’s Pizza (4.50 stars/113 reviews) Riverbend, 121 East Bethalto Drive, Bethalto, IL 62010, (618) 377-5800.
7. Flamentco’s the Place (4.48 stars/65 reviews) O’Fallon, 711 West US Hwy 50, O’Fallon, IL 62269, (618) 726-2275.
8. Boardwalk Pizza (4.45 stars/80 reviews) Ellisville, 15638 Manchester Road, Ellisville, MO 63011, (636) 238-3520.
9. Pizza-A-Go-Go (4.38 stars/111 reviews) Lindenwood Park, 6703 Scanlan Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63139, (314) 781-1234.
10. Peel Wood Fired Pizza (4.38 stars/580 reviews) Edwardsville, 921 South Arbor Vitae, Edwardsville, IL 62025, (618) 659-8561.

Honorable Mentions are given to deserving restaurants and food crafters who didn’t make their respective top 10 lists for some reason.  Sometimes they had great ratings, but not enough reviews.  Other times they are staff favorites that we love so much we want to share them with you.  This list is a little of both. Honorable Mentions to:

The U.R.B. – Urban Research Brewery (4.71 stars/21 reviews) Forest Park Southeast, 4501 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110, (314) 222-0143.  Pizza-by-the-slice at a research brewerie; what’s not to love?

Faraci Pizza (4.34 stars/35 reviews) Ferguson, 520 South Florissant Road, Ferguson, MO 63135, (314) 524-2675.  Old school St. Louis style pizza baked in a brick-bottom oven from recipes that date back to the early 1900’s.

Anthonino’s Taverna (4.37 stars/993 reviews) The Hill, 2225 Macklind Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 773-4455.  Last year’s #1 pizza place is still worth your attention.  Thick, slightly sweet, chewy crust blanketed with melty mozzarella and perfectly portioned toppings.

Bonus: In St. Louis we are fortunate to have scores of independent pizzerias, and dozens of pizza chains as well.  Some of those chains offer surprisingly good pizza—so good that we feel obliged to give a nod to the chain restaurants that do justice to this special combination of crust, sauce, and cheese.  So here are the highest rated chain pizzerias—that is, pizza restaurants with at least three locations.  The high customer review ratings indicate that there is really good pizza to be found in these mostly suburban pizza chains.

1. Papa Vito’s (4.51 stars/176 reviews) Belleville, 318 East Washington, Belleville, IL 62220, (618) 277-6200.
2. Dewey’s Pizza (4.45 stars/218 reviews) Edwardsville, 112 East Vandalia Street, Edwardsville, IL 62025, (618) 656-2200.
3. Dewey’s Pizza (4.45 stars/204 reviews) St. Charles, 1520 South 5th Street, Saint Charles, MO 63303, (636) 724-1111.
4. Dewey’s Pizza (4.45 stars/110 reviews) Webster Groves, 122 East Lockwood Ave, Webster Groves, MO 63119, (314) 961-1000.
5. Dewey’s Pizza (4.40 stars/408 reviews) Kirkwood, 124 North Kirkwood Road, Saint Louis, MO 63122, (314) 821-7474.
6. Dewey’s Pizza (4.40 stars/402 reviews) University City, 559 North and South Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63130, (314) 726-3434.
7. JJ Twig’s Pizza & Pub (4.37 stars/92 reviews) Princeton Heights, 5600 Hampton Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 833-6700.
8. Dewey’s Pizza (4.36 stars/152 reviews) Ellisville, 1312 Clarkson Clayton Center, Ellisville, MO 63011, (636) 227-3400.
9. Pi Pizzeria (4.20 stars/771 reviews) Downtown, 610 Washington Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 588-7600.
10. Pi Pizzeria (4.19 stars/946 reviews) The Loop, 6144 Delmar Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63112, (314) 727-6633.

SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Pomerantz Law Firm Reminds Shareholders with Losses on their Investment in Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. of Class Action Lawsuit and Upcoming Deadline – CMG

SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Pomerantz Law Firm Reminds Shareholders with Losses on their Investment in Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. of Class Action Lawsuit and Upcoming Deadline - CMG

NEW YORK/ July 30, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Pomerantz LLP announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (“Chipotle” or the “Company”) (NYSE: CMG) and certain of its officers. The class action, filed in United States District Court, District of Colorado, and docketed under 17-cv-01760, is on behalf of a class consisting of investors who purchased or otherwise acquired Chipotle securities, seeking to recover compensable damages caused by defendants’ violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

If you are a shareholder who purchased Chipotle securities between February 5, 2016, and July 19, 2017, both dates inclusive, you have until September 18, 2017, to ask the Court to appoint you as Lead Plaintiff for the class. A copy of the Complaint can be obtained at To discuss this action, contact Robert S. Willoughby at [email protected] or 888.476.6529 (or 888.4-POMLAW), toll-free, ext. 9980. Those who inquire by e-mail are encouraged to include their mailing address, telephone number, and the number of shares purchased.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. owns and operates quick-serve Mexican restaurants. The Company operates restaurants throughout the United States.

In 2015, numerous customers fell ill after eating at Chipotle restaurants, exposing the fact that Chipotle’s quality controls were not in compliance with applicable consumer and workplace safety regulations and were inadequate to safeguard consumer and employee health.

Facing a sharp drop-off in sales, Chipotle responded with widely publicized measures that the Company touted as improvements to its food safety protocols. On February 8, 2016, the Company closed all of its restaurants for several hours for an all-staff meeting regarding food safety. In addition, Chipotle hired a new head of food safety who implemented a number of changes to policies at the Company’s restaurants—for example, requiring all employees to wash their hands every half hour, mandating that two employees verified that certain ingredients had been immersed in hot water for at least five seconds to kill germs, and using Pascalization to pre-treat food ingredients. By touting these measures, along with free food promotions and increased advertising, Chipotle aimed to restore customer confidence in the safety of its food.

The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operational and compliance policies. Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) Chipotle’s purported improvements in its restaurants’ food safety policies were inadequate; (ii) accordingly, Chipotle’s quality controls were still not in compliance with applicable consumer and workplace safety regulations; (iii) in turn, Chipotle’s quality controls remained inadequate to safeguard consumer and employee health; and (iv) as a result of the foregoing, Chipotle’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.

On July 18, 2017, media outlets reported that Chipotle had closed a restaurant in Sterling, Virginia due to a suspected norovirus outbreak. According to Business Insider, citing information from, a website on which consumers document suspected incidents of foodborne illness, at least 13 customers fell ill after eating at the Chipotle restaurant in question between July 14 and July 15. The Business Insider article further stated that customers who fell sick after eating at the restaurant reported “vomiting violently,” fevers, “violent stomach cramps,” and dizziness for several days.

On this news, Chipotle’s share price fell $17.02, or 4.34%, to close at $374.98 on July 18, 2017.

On July 20, 2017, The Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “Over 100 Report Being Sickened at Virginia Chipotle,” disclosing that the number of reports of illness associated with the restaurant-chain continues to rise.

On that same day, Reuters published an article entitled “Chipotle Virginia customer tested positive for norovirus – official,” reporting that a county health department official has confirmed norovirus in a customer who ate at the Virginia Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. restaurant.

Later in the day, CNBC published an article entitled “Rodents reportedly fall from ceiling of Dallas Chipotle,” reporting that rodents were spotted at a Dallas-area Chipotle on July 19, 2017. According to the article, diners captured the incident inside the restaurant on video, which shows “rodents crawling around the floor and one climbing up the wall,” and with customers claiming the rodents were falling from the ceiling.

On these disclosures, Chipotle’s share price fell $16.78, or 4.5%, to close at $356.05 on July 20, 2017.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Florida, and Los Angeles, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See


Robert S. Willoughby
Pomerantz LLP
[email protected]

SOURCE: Pomerantz LLP – distributed by PR Newswire – published on STLRestaurant.News by St. Louis Media, LLC

St. Louis’ Vicia Named One of the Best New Restaurants in America

St. Louis’ Vicia Named One of the Best New Restaurants in America

One of St. Louis’ Newest Restaurants – Vicia Garners National Acclaim

St. Louis, MO/July 30, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – It was one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the year, and so far, Vicia in the Cortex Innovation Community (4260 Forest Park Ave.) has not disappointed.  Vicia’s seasonally driven, vegetable forward menu has been well received here.  And now, Vicia is drawing national attention, being named one of the 12 best new restaurants in America by the national food and restaurant publication Eater.  The St. Louis restaurant was included in a “best of” list that hopscotched coast to coast and included some of the best food cities in the United States—New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, and New Orleans among them.

It’s not surprising that a restaurant in St. Louis made the cut, since there are some world-class eateries here.  Vicia is one of those.  Owners Michael and Tara Gallina are both alums of the Dan Barber’s famous Blue Hill at Stone Barns outside New York City.  The farm-to-table establishment is considered by some to be one of the best restaurants in the world.  Tara Gallina was service captain at the famed establishment.  Her husband Michael Gallina was chef de cuisine there for four years, before the couple returning to his native St. Louis to share their culinary brilliance.

Vicia is an elegant, modern restaurant that wasn’t an instant creation by the Gallinas.  They spent about a year creating their signature culinary magic for St. Louis diners with a series of pop-up dinners playfully named Rooster and the Hen (gallina is Spanish for hen). Like those pop-up dinners, Vicia’s menu spotlights seasonal produce, using meat, poultry, and fish as an accompaniment to the vegetables.  Lunchtime brings reasonably priced soup, sandwiches, quiche and a counter service dining model.  Middays (think tea time), diners will find charcuterie, pastries, and various other nibbles.  Dinner features a frequently changing a la carte menu of shareable starters, snacks, and innovative entrees—all created with the same vegetable-forward approach.  Or diners can choose the $85-per-person, six to seven-course tasting menu the Gallinas introduced just this month.  Michael Gallina says it’s akin to just letting the chef cook for you.  He says each meal is special and different, “depending what we have available at the very moment, what guests are excited to experience, and of course, what we, in the kitchen, think would make for an amazing feast.”

An amazing feast is a terrific description of the dining experience at this sleek and elegant Central West End restaurant.  In his accolades about Vicia, Eater food critic Bill Addison praised Michael Gallina’s skill and the “Midwestern witticisms” he weaves into his cooking.  Those witticisms—the Gallinas’ whimsical approach to food are what set Vicia apart.

Contact Information:

Owners: Michael and Tara Gallina
4260 Forest Park Ave.
Cortex – Central West End
St. Louis, MO 63108
Phone: (314) 553-9239

The Top 10 Cheesecake Makers in St. Louis

The Top 10 Cheesecake Makers in St. Louis - STLRestauant.News

St. Louis’ Favorites for National Cheesecake Day

St. Louis, MO/July 30, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – National Cheesecake Day is a real day.  Yay!  It’s today, July 30th, so it’s the perfect time to have a slice of your favorite kind.  Of course, we’re all familiar with the dense, creaminess that is New York style cheesecake.  And many St. Louis diners have enjoyed an Italian style ricotta cheesecake.  Many southsider are familiar with the creamy, cakey German-style cheesecake (Käsekuchen), but there are literally dozens of ways to make cheesecake, and all of them delicious.  Now that’s a food worth celebrating, in all its glorious forms.

We wanted to know where St. Louis diners go when they get a hankering for this sweet, creamy delicacy.  You will find it on the dessert menus of hundreds of restaurants all over the metro area.  And most bakeries have their versions too.  So we checked the customer reviews to find the local favorites, and what we found was a nice mix of bakeries, cafes, fine dining establishments—even a vegan restaurant—that all offer cheesecake St. Louis diners consider to be a cut above the rest.

Topping our list is Kruta Bakery in Collinsville.  This fourth-generation family-owned bakery has been making delicious baked goods for metro east residents since 1919.  This is a full-service traditional bakery, offering everything from bread and rolls to custom cakes, pastries, seasonal treats, and cheesecake.  The neighborhood vibe goes well with the friendly, efficient service.  During peak times, expect to take a number and stand in line, but you can use the few minutes to decide what else you’re getting beside the old-fashioned cheesecake, perhaps a French cheese horn, some cheese Danishes, maybe a cheese stolen—and while you’re there, pick up a couple dozen Jimmies (donut holes filled with raspberry).

There are cheesecake options for everyone on our Top 10 list, so without further ado, here are St. Louis’ favorite places to go to satisfy that cheesecake craving on National Cheesecake Day and beyond:

1. Kruta Bakery (4.75 stars/169 reviews) Collinsville, 300 Saint Louis Road, Collinsville, IL 62234, (618) 344-1115.
2. Missouri Baking Company (4.75 stars/596 reviews) The Hill, 2027 Edwards Street, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 773-6566.
3. Sucrose (4.70 stars/50 reviews) St. Charles, 700 South Fifth Street, Saint Charles, MO 63301, (314) 288-9176.
4. Sugaree Baking Co. (4.55 stars/56 reviews) Dogtown, 1242 Tamm Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63139, (314) 645-5496.
5. Helfer’s Pastries & Deli Cafe (4.54 stars/59 reviews) Florissant, 380 Saint Ferdinand Street, Florissant, MO 63031, (314) 837-6050.
6. Seedz Cafe (4.54 stars/138 reviews) Clayton, 6344 South Rosebury, Saint Louis, MO 63105, (314) 725-7333.
7. Piccione Pastry (4.54 stars/297 reviews) The Loop, 6197 Delmar Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63112, (314) 932-1355.
8. Russell’s Cafe and Bakery (4.48 stars/199 reviews) Fenton, 952 Brookwood Center, Fenton, MO 63026, (636) 343-8900.
9. Russell’s on Macklind (4.43 stars/350 reviews) Southampton, 5400 Murdoch Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 553-9994.
10. Kreis Restaurant (4.31 stars/357 reviews) Frontenac, 535 South Lindbergh Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63131, (314) 993-0735.

With thousands of restaurants, bakeries, and cafes offering cheesecake to hungry diners, there were a few places to not that didn’t quite make the top 10 list, but are still worth your attention.  So, to these fine cheesecake makers we offer Honorable Mentions:

Hank’s Cheesecakes (4.46 stars/47 reviews) Richmond Heights, 1063 South Big Bend Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63117, (314) 781-0300. They’ve been making homemade cheesecake at Hank’s for 30 years, and they make it in more than 35 flavors, including sugar free and gluten free varieties. They also make amazing brownies, lemon bars, and some melt-in-your-mouth delicious chocolate cakes.

A Little Taste of Heaven Bakery (4.61 stars/38 reviews) Edwardsville, 219 Hillsboro Avenue, Edwardsville, IL 62025, (618) 659-8569.  This neighborhood bakery in Edwardsville is known for their cheesecakes—they offer a wide variety of flavors each day.  Their original is an extra creamy, all-natural cheesecake (cherry topping available), but they also do turtle, death by chocolate, white chocolate raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, Oreo, key lime, and seasonal varieties like pumpkin and peppermint bark.

Federhofer’s Bakery (4.32 stars/53 reviews) Affton, 9005 Gravois Road, Affton, MO 63123, (314) 832-5116.  This mom and pop bakeshop has been making a range of breads, pastries, cakes, pies, and other treats—including cheesecake—for hungry south-siders for more than 50 years.  They are one of the few places in town that makes the classic St. Louis style chiffon cheesecake (which is light, and sweet and simply delectable), but you may need to order it ahead.

Noboleis Winery to Host Total Eclipse in the Vineyard

Noboleis Winery to Host Total Eclipse in the Vineyard

Day-Long Totality Event at Noboleis Vineyard and Winery

Augusta, MO/July 30, 207 (STLRestaurant.News) – It’s been 575 years since the St. Louis area was graced with a total eclipse of the sun.  It will happen again on Monday, August 21, 2017.  That’s when the moon will move between the earth and sun, creating the illusion of night in the middle of the day.  Not everyone will experience the total eclipse, but those in a 70-mile band running from northwestern Missouri to southern Illinois will.  That includes a portion of the St. Louis area, and some great locations just outside the city.  Where will you be at the moment of totality?  One of Missouri’s favorite wineries, Noboleis Vineyard and Winery is inviting you to watch the spectacle at their 74-acre vineyard in Augusta, Missouri.

Noboleis is in the perfect position for spectacular viewing.  The Great American Eclipse will pass through Augusta around 1:15 p.m., bringing totality for about 2 minutes 19 seconds.  When that happens, day will seem like night.  The sky will grow dark, the stars will become visible, and temperatures could fall 10-15 degrees.  It’s sure to be breathtaking.  You can be in the center of it all at Noboleis Winery’s Eclipse Day at the Vineyard.  They’re building a whole day of fun around this once in a lifetime event starting at 9:00 a.m. and running until 5:00 p.m.

Eclipse Day at the Vineyard will feature live music, food specials courtesy of Geisert Farms, and of course, the award winning Noboleis wines.  Eclipse viewing glasses will also be available for purchase.  With a momentous cosmic event upon us, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to make their way to Missouri to bear witness.  Hotels and inns in the totality band are booking up fast.  So, for St. Louis area residents, Noboleis Vineyards and Winery is the perfect place to kick back, relax and take in the spectacle.  It’s well inside to totality band, but right on St. Louis’ doorstep!  There’s plenty of room for spectators, but limited parking available, so reservations are required for Noboleis’ Eclipse Day at the Vineyard.  Prepaid parking is $10 per car and includes four pairs of eclipse viewing glasses.  Buses and large passenger vans must call ahead to reserve a spot.

Noboleis Vineyard and Winery is a beautiful place to spend the day any time of year.  The winery offers breathtaking views of their 74-acres of rolling hills and vineyards.  This award-winning winery is open Sunday – Friday from 11:00 a.m.-to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 11:00 a.m.-to 4:30 p.m.

Robert and Lou Ann Nolan purchased the land in 2005 and began the work of turning the abandoned, yet fertile farmland into a beautiful vineyard.  By 2010, the winery was up and running.  The very first vintage of wine grown, produced, and bottled at Noboleis Winery won awards at the Missouri Governor’s Cup.  By 2012, Noboleis had become a destination winery on the Augusta Wine Trail, with live music and lunch available on weekends May – October, and a year-round tasting room.  They do weddings and other special events too!  This family owned, family grown wine continues to win awards across Missouri.  The vineyard and winery are a lovely place to spend the day, and Eclipse Day at the Vineyard promises a spectacular view for this once in a lifetime event.

Contact Information:

Noboleis Vineyards
Owners: The Nolan Family
100 Hemsath Road
Augusta, MO 63332
Phone: (636) 482-4500

Phatso’s Takes Over Super Smokers BBQ

Phatso’s Takes Over Super Smokers BBQ - STLRestaurant.News

Super Smokers’ Founder Says World BBQ Champ in Good Hands

Eureka, MO/July 26, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – St. Louis is known as a barbecue town—nowadays that is.  It wasn’t always so.  The city has a long and storied culinary history, but our rise to barbecue fame is relatively new.  One of the first great barbecue joints in St. Louis, Super Smokers BBQ (601 Stockell Drive, Eureka), helped pave the way for all the others.  It’s founder, pitmaster Terry Black is known as “the Godfather” of St. Louis barbecue, and for good reason.  In 2000, Super Smokers became the very first restaurant team from St. Louis to win the International World BBQ Championship in Memphis—taking 1st Place in the challenging “Whole Hog” category.  Some of today’s best pitmasters trace their histories back to Terry Black: Mike Emerson of Pappy’s Smokehouse is a former Super Smokers employee, and Bogart’s Skip Steele is a former partner.  Terry Black has decided it’s time for him to step away from the the pit, so another of his disciples, Jeff Fitter of Phatso’s BBQ Catering is taking over Super Smokers, with plans to keep the award-winning BBQ tradition going.

Fitter has spent more than a decade cooking alongside the Super Smokers team.  He and Black met in early 2001, at a BBQ class at the Kitchen Conservatory (8021 Clayton Road, Clayton).  The two struck up a friendship, with Fitter even helping out at the 2001 Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Competition.  Fitter says he was just there to watch and learn mostly, when he had a Cinderella moment.  Super Smokers, the reigning “Whole Hog” champion, was defending that title when their overnight pit guy had to cancel at the last minute.  Barbecuing a whole hog is a 24-hour undertaking and the pit temperature has to be maintained during the entire process.  Fitter stepped in to mind the smoker all night.  He didn’t know at the time that he was volunteering to keep the temperature on target during a night of severe thunderstorms.  Still, Fitter manned his post, and the team finished seventh, maintaining their top 10 status for another year.

Fitter says Black took him under his wing and mentored him as he developed his own barbecue techniques.  In 2002, Fitter and a couple of his barbecue-loving neighbors formed their own competitive team, Big Subpoenas BBQ.  The competition team eventually grew into Phatso’s BBQ, catering Memphis style, slow-smoked barbecue.  Fitter and his friends joke that they started Phatso’s to support their “smoking habit.”  Over the years, Fitter and Black remained friends and continued to cook together, even opening a Super Smokers in St. Peters in 2009.  They operated the restaurant for about 10 months before selling it.

Advancing to his own full-time, brick-and-mortar restaurant was the natural next step for Fitter.  So when Terry Black decided it was time to take a step back after more than 20 years making and selling world class barbecue, it was another Cinderella moment for Fitter.  Jeff Fitter was ready for his own place, and Black says he has absolute confidence in his protoge.  “I couldn’t be more excited to have someone who has been an important part of our team, who gets excited about BBQ, and who is committed to excellence carrying on the Super Smokers tradition of making World Championship BBQ,” Black said. Fitter officially took the reigns on June 30, 2017.

Jeff Fitter’s Super Smokers BBQ is a lot like Terry Black’s. Customers will find the perfectly smoked ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken, and turkey they’ve long associated with Super Smokers.  Fitter says his cooking process is based on the Super Smokers method, but he likes to slow it down a bit for maximum flavor.  Fitter says everything, from the barbecued meats to the sides, will be cooked fresh daily.  That includes his already popular macaroni and cheese, a Phatso’s favorite that’s new to the Super Smokers menu.  But wait, there’s more!  He’s also added brisket mac and cheese—his creamy, cheesy baked mac with chunks of smoked beef brisket throughout.  Fitter says he’s freshened up and spiced up the sides a bit, and added some chicken wing specials.  He’s also hoping to eventually add some new smoked offerings, like sausages.

Super Smokers is open for lunch, dinner, and carryout Sunday – Thursday from 10:45 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. or when the barbecue is sold out, Friday – Saturday from 10:45 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. or so.  They stay open an extra hour during spring and summer, when Six Flags is open.  Fitter has folded his Phatso’s BBQ Catering into Super Smokers, so catering is still available.

Fitter says he couldn’t have taken this next step in his barbecue career without the help and full support of his wife Michelle and the rest of his family.  Fitter is justifiably proud and extremely appreciative of their support.  In fact, Fitter says their Super Smokers is a family-owned business, and everyone in the family is pitching in to make the restaurant the warm, inviting, family-friendly place he envisioned.  His daughters, 21-year-old C.J. and 22-year-old Brittni, are both working there.  Even Fitter’s father (Ben) helps out, doing whatever’s needed, including washing the dishes.

Fitter says his family also wants to focus on increasing Super Smokers involvement in the local community.  He says it’s important for his business to be committed to the community, and to participate in events like the annual Eureka Scarecrow Festival.  Super Smokers has been a fixture in the community for years, and Fitter says he wants to grow that connection.  Fitter says he and his family are honored to be entrusted to carry on the legacy that Super Smokers has built in St. Louis BBQ, and in Eureka area.

Contact Information:

Super Smokers BBQ
Owners: Jeff and Michelle Fitter
601 Stockell Drive
Eureka, MO 63025
Phone: (636) 938-9742

1st Annual Smokin’ on Main BBQ Competition in Collinsville

1st Annual Smokin’ on Main BBQ Competition in Collinsville

Collinsville’s Inaugural Smokin’ on Main BBQ Competition

Collinsville, IL/July 26, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Proud carnivores of the St. Louis area, your time has come!  The weekend of July 29 – 30, the first annual Smokin’ on Main BBQ Competition will be held in Collinsville, Illinois.  The event along Main Street in uptown Collinsville will offer a little something for everyone, summertime backyard barbeques buffs, fans of world class BBQ prepared by local grilling champions, cooking competition enthusiasts, festivals lovers in general.  Admission to the festival is free and some of St. Louis’ favorite barbecue restaurants will be offering concessions during both days of the festival.  Look for Sugarfire Smoke House, Doc’s Smokehouse & Catering, Beast Craft BBQ Co., Mr. BBQ’s Rib Shack, Fire-N-Smoke Wood Fired Kitchen, and Red Top Barbecue & Chili.  Three of the top pro competitors will also be selling their wares.

Besides great barbecue, festival goers will also enjoy live music both days of the event, or test their skills on the “Climb for PTSD” rock climbing wall.  The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdale will make an appearance Saturday from 2–4:00 p.m.  The event host, Code 3 Spices at 302 E Main Street in Collinsville, has a reputation for supporting American heroes.  Every bottle of their award-winning barbecue seasonings and Patriot Sauce raises 25-cents for organizations that support police, fire, medical, and military personnel.  So, it’s not surprising that proceeds from the Smokin’ on Main BBQ Competition and festival will benefit the U.S. Veterans Foundation and the Collinsville Food Pantry.  Code 3 Spices co-owner Mike Radosevich was a police officer for 15-years before he and Chris Bohnemeier started Code 3 Spices.  Radosevich says they decided right away to make giving back part of their business model.

Code 3 Spices co-owner Mike Radosevich talks about the inspiration behind the Smokin’ on Main BBQ Competition.

More than 50 teams are expected to show off their barbecue prowess at the Smokin’ on Main BBQ Competition.  The competition’s Pro Division is expected to draw 35 teams of professional BBQ chefs from across the St. Louis area to compete and prove themselves the best in the business, while the Backyard Division will give 20 teams of non-professional grillers the chance to show off their skills and potentially win a little cash while they’re at it.  The Pro Division will feature the classics: ribs, chicken, pork (butt and shoulder), and brisket.  The Backyard Division will feature party barbecue favorites, ribs and chicken wings.  The competition’s total prize money is a whopping $8,000.  A top prize of $6,500 will be awarded to the Pro Division winner, while $1,500 will go to the Backyard Division champion.  Additionally, awards and cash will be given to the top five competitors in each division.

The festival kicks off Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and goes until 10:00 p.m.  On Sunday, it’ll run from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  There will be live music on both days, as well as traditional festival concessions, and of course, all that luscious smoked the meat! What a great addition to summer in the Metro East.


By Katie Smith