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Self-Serve Beer & Wine Bar Coming to Maplewood

Self-Serve Beer & Wine Bar

New Maplewood Bar Will Let Customers Work the Taps – Self-Serve Beer & Wine Bar

Maplewood, MO/ (STLRestaurant.News) – Maplewood has been an incubator for new food and dining concepts in the St. Louis area.  So it’s really not surprising that Ryan and Lindsay Reel chose the inner ring suburb to debut their new beer and wine bar Tapped.  They’re nearly done with renovations to the property at 7278 Manchester (formerly A Pizza Story). Tapped is slated to open in April.

What makes this new Maplewood bar unique is that customers will get their own drinks.  Tapped will use the iPourIt tap control system.  It’s a novel, new tap system that will allow customers to pour their own beer and wine.  According to the manufacturer, iPourIt works with RFID wristbands that each customer receives.  The thirsty customers wave the wristband to activate the tap they choose.  They decide how much they want to pour, and pay only for the beer or wine they take.

This will let customers sample from any of the 40 local craft beers and ciders Tapped will offer.  Each tap will have an interactive tablet, allowing customers to learn more about that particular libation before deciding what to pour.  The Reels say they do not plan to offer any major brewer’s products. (So don’t look for Bud Light here.)  Instead, they’ll have brews from St. Louis favorites Schlafly, Urban Chestnut, 4 Hands, and other.  There will also be eight wine taps, and coffee too.

Diners who miss the old pizza place will be glad to learn that the Reels have still have the wood-burning pizza oven from A Pizza Story, and plan to offer the same Neapolitan pizzas that were once served in the building.  They’ll also do small plates and appetizers that pair well with beer.  Look for fresh, gourmet sandwiches, dips, and mussels.

The exact opening date hasn’t been set, but mid-April is the target date.  According to their Facebook page, the Reels are in the process of hiring staff for Tapped.  They’re looking for “beer, wine, and food enthusiasts” to fill all positions, including prep cooks, cooks, hosts, and managers.

Contact Information:

Tapped
Owners: Ryan and Lindsay Reel
7278 Manchester Road
Maplewood, MO 63143
314-899-0011

Saint Louis’ 10 Best Restaurants with a View

Best Restaurants with a View

Top 10 Scenic Restaurant Views in Saint Louis

St. Louis, MO/March 15, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – St. Louis is a beautiful city, with a history that dates back to the late 1700s and a topography that includes rivers, valleys, bluffs, and cityscape.  With all of the visual diversity of the region, it’s not surprising to find a long list of great restaurants that offer scenic views of the city and the surrounding countryside.  Diners can enjoy a meal while enjoying the downtown skyline, overlooking beautiful parklands, or enjoying one of our many riverfronts.  The best restaurant views depend, to some extent, on what you want to see—city lights, nature’s glory, quaint and historic architecture, etc.

In order to find the best options for a meal with a view, we turned to customer reviews.  We wanted to know which restaurants offered the best combination of delicious food, good service, pleasant ambiance, and a one-of-a-kind view.  And while many of the restaurants on our list have terrific patios and decks, we also required that the view had to be available all year long—whether from terrific picture windows (like Panorama) or a heated patio (like Vin de Set).  That excluded a whole list of terrific restaurants with scenic patios, but no way to enjoy the view during colder weather. (Don’t worry, as it warms up, we’ll write more about those great al fresco views too.)

What we found was that St. Louis diners like a view with their meal.  Even when the weather is less than inviting for outdoor dining, there are still some amazing views to be enjoyed while dining on a great meal.  It’s not surprising that Three Sixty at the Ballpark Hilton topped our list.  This swanky indoor and outdoor rooftop restaurant and bar offers 360-degree views of downtown St. Louis, including a nice view into Busch Stadium.  The spectacular views, extensive wine, beer, and cocktail selection, as well as a delicious assortment of snacks, salads, and small plates combine to make this a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Chef Rex Hale’s approach to bar food elevates his small plate offerings to new heights.  His menu offers inventive takes on sliders, fish tacos, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and more.  The views are breathtaking, even during winter, making this downtown favorite a rooftop dining destination.

There are a lot of great views among the top ten—from the Arch to Forest Park, and beyond. Don’t take our word for it. Here’s a look at the full list of St. Louis diners’ favorite restaurants offering scenic views:

1. Three Sixty at the Ballpark Hilton (4.12 stars/782 reviews) Downtown, 1 South Broadway, Saint Louis, Missouri, (314) 241-8439.
2. Grafton Oyster Bar (4.10 stars/70 reviews) Great River Road, 215 West Water Street, Grafton, IL 62037, (618) 786-3000.
3. Cielo Restaurant at the Four Seasons St. Louis (4.01 stars/458 reviews) Downtown, 999 North 2nd Street, Saint Louis, Missouri 63102, (314) 881-5759.
4. Panorama at the Saint Louis Art Museum (4.00 stars/124 reviews) Forest Park, 1 Fine Arts Drive, Saint Louis, Missouri 63110, (314) 655-5490.
5. India Palace (3.99 stars/261 reviews) Bridgeton, 4534 North Lindbergh Blvd, 11th Floor, Saint Louis, Missouri 63044, (314) 731-3333.
6. Vin de Set (3.98/527 reviews) Lafayette Square, 2017 Chouteau Ave, Saint Louis, Missouri 63103, (314) 241-8989.
7. Kemoll’s Italian Restaurant (3.90 stars/358 reviews) Downtown, 211 North Broadway, Saint Louis, Missouri, (314) 421-0555.
8. The Loading Dock (3.93 stars/245 reviews) Great River Road, 401 East Front Street, Grafton, IL 62037, (618) 786-3494.
9. Bixby’s (3.93 stars/183 reviews) MO History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd, Saint Louis, Missouri 63112, (314) 361-7313.
10. Eclipse STL (3.86 stars/251 reviews) The Loop, 6177 Delmar, University City, Saint Louis, Missouri 63112, (314) 726-2222.

As generally happens when we assemble a top 10 list, there isn’t enough room to share all of the noteworthy restaurants we found to be customer favorites.  So we give them Honorable Mentions.  These two restaurants offer views that are as spectacular as they are unique.  Both are open year round with great views from inside, but they also have outdoor seating that makes them super popular during warmer weather.

Cardinals Nation (3.81 stars/272 reviews) Ballpark Village, 601 Clark Street, Ste. 102, Saint Louis, Missouri 63102, (314) 345-9880.
Boathouse at Forest Park (3.41 stars/566 reviews) Forest Park, 6101 Government Drive, Saint Louis, Missouri 63110, (314) 367-2224.

Tower Grove South’s Tasty Shack Is Now Open

Tasty Shack, St. Louis, MO

Tasty Shack Brings New Life to Old Fast Food Site

St. Louis, MO/March 13, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – The corner of Gravois and Gustine Aves. in South St. Louis has been a destination for quick, tasty food since a Jack in the Box restaurant opened there in the 1970s.  The site later housed a Papa Murphy’s Take N’ Bake Pizza restaurant.  Now a new kind of “fast food” restaurant has taken up residence at 3909 Gravois.  Tasty Shack, a lunch and dinner take out, opened there March 6th, serving fried fish and chicken, steak, burgers, sandwiches, and salads.

This is a new venture from co-owners Sam Lateef and Jose Suarez.  The first time restaurateurs already own several gas stations and phone stores. They tapped Moath Migdady (St. Louis Fish and Chicken) to help develop a menu that includes flour battered chicken and fish, along with other Southern-influenced dishes.  They offer mild and spicy fried chicken, Chicago-style wings, drumsticks, thighs, chicken tenders and nuggets, and even fried gizzards.  They also offer fried shrimp, tilapia, jack salmon, and catfish.  Family meals and chicken-fish combos are also available.

Tasty Shack also offers charcoal grilled steak—ribeyes and T-bones, cooked to order.  There are also burgers and sandwiches, including a Philly Cheesesteaks and gyros.  There are entree salads too, including Greek, gyro, grilled chicken topped salad and crispy chicken too.  Besides French fries, side choices include hushpuppies, fried okra, jalapeno poppers and others.  Another nod to the Southern influence is seen on the dessert menu which includes banana pudding, cake, bean pies, and sweet potato pie.

Tasty Shack is open Monday – Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.  The kitchen takes up most of the 1,200 square foot building. Customers place their takeout orders at a large walk-up counter, then sit in a row a chairs along the windows to wait (generally less than 10 minutes) for their food to be ready.  It takes a few minutes more than traditional fast food, but then Tasty Shack is cooking up fresh food, and that’s usually worth an extra few minutes.
Contact Information:

Tasty Shack
Co-owners: Sam Lateef and Jose Suarez
3903 Gravois Ave.
Tower Grove South
St. Louis, MO 63116
Phone: (314) 240-5051

Five #1s from St. Louis’ Restaurant Top 10s

Five #1s from St. Louis’ Restaurant Top 10s

Spotlighting the Best of St. Louis’ Restaurant Top 10s

St. Louis, MO/March 11, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – A look at the top of the restaurant top ten lists reveals a glimpse of the vast variety of restaurant styles, cuisines, and atmospheres offered across the St. Louis area.  It reveals a little of the fickle nature of St. Louis diners, and the ever-changing landscape of the restaurant industry itself.

This week, we’re highlighting five restaurants that sit atop their respective top ten list.  Sometimes restaurants featured here are so well-loved, they occupy the number one spot in multiple top 10 lists.  That is certainly the case with the first category this week.  Broadway Oyster Bar, our #1 Happy Hour destination is also St. Louis’ favorite seafood restaurant, and they’re tops for Cajun/Creole cuisine too.  But they’re not the only terrific restaurant we’re highlighting this week.  All five on this week’s best of the top 10s list are worth your attention.

HAPPY HOUR

Broadway Oyster Bar (4.51 stars/1926 reviews) Downtown, 736 South Broadway, Saint Louis, MO 63102, (314) 621-8811.  This downtown favorite specializes in award winning seafood and cajun/creole cuisine, along with live music every night.  The rustic charm of the 170 year old building, combined with amazing food, a patio made for partying, and killer cocktails.  If the original Hurricane, the Creole Mary, or the Sazarac don’t lure you in from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, the beer, wine and app specials (think oysters 10+ ways) surely will.

CHINESE

Lona’s Lil Eats (4.64 stars/370 reviews) Fox Park, 2199 California Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 899-5582.  This is the home of the “giant rice paper wrap.”  This quaint south city eatery specializes in fresh Asian cuisine with a soul-food flare.  St. Louis diners may tag them as the best Chinese Restaurant in the city, but they’re also highly rated as a fusion food and vegetarian destination.  This is small town Chinese cuisine with a focus on fresh food.  Think spicy cucumber salad, kebobs, Thai spring rolls, and those amazing giant rice paper wraps.

SPORTS BAR

Amsterdam Tavern (4.45 stars/80 reviews) Tower Grove South, 3175 Morganford Road, Saint Louis, MO 63116, (314) 772-8224.  Everyone has their favorite sports bar, just as everyone has their favorite team.  And St. Louis is such a great sports city, so it’s not surprising that we have a lot of great sports bars.  According to customer reviews, Amsterdam Tavern is a as good as it gets.  If you needed any proof that St. Louis love soccer, this bar’s #1 status is it.  AT is a European-style soccer fans’ sports bar, offering craft beer, artisan cocktails, and a beer garden.  The focus here is on soccer and suds, so you’ll have to get your food next door at the Dam.
RESTAURANT WITH A VIEW

Three Sixty at the Ballpark Hilton (4.12 stars/782 reviews) Downtown, 1 South Broadway, Saint Louis, Missouri 63102, (314) 241-8439.  If you want to show off the St. Louis skyline, short of the top of the Arch, it just doesn’t get any better than Three Sixty.  As the name suggests, this restaurant atop the Ballpark Hilton offers 360-degree views of downtown from both the indoor dining area, and the outdoor rooftop bar.  You can even get a good look into Busch Stadium.  The view may draw you to this lofty eatery, but the terrific small plate menu and extensive wine, beer and cocktail selection will keep you there.

LADIES’ LUNCH VENUE

Zodiac at Neiman Marcus (4.5 stars/31 reviews) 100 Plaza Frontenac, Saint Louis, MO 63131, (314) 994-5050.  With all of the tea rooms, boutique restaurants, and tasting specialty shops in St. Louis, one thing is very clear: good ladies’ lunch venues must offer more than just a nice meal.  Most of them include shopping in some form or other.  That’s certainly true at the highest rated ladies’ lunch venue.  Zodiac is on the upper level of Neiman Marcus at the posh Plaza Frontenac.  This Neiman Marcus branded restaurant offers upscale light dining in a tony, elegant dining room, or lovely umbrella-shaded outdoor patio.  Customers rave over the polished service and exceptional food choices like their famous Mandarin Orange Soufflé.

Monty’s Sandwich Co. closing downtown sandwich shop

Monty’s Sandwich Co., St. Louis, MO

Lease Issues Behind Monty’s Sandwich Co. Closure

St. Louis, MO/February 25, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Downtown St. Louis is losing a lunchtime favorite.  Monty’s Sandwich Company at 200 N. Broadway is closing.  Owners Steve May and Joel Williams made the announcement this week on the restaurant’s Facebook page.  In the post, they said they were “unable to reach an agreement with the building regarding our lease and it is with great sadness that we will be closing the doors next Friday, the 3rd of March.”  The building their shop is in was sold last year for $12.7 million.  The current owner is Mariner Real Estate Management of Kansas City.

We had recently featured the great grilled cheese sandwiches at Monty’s Sandwich Co. in an article called Celebrating National Cheese Lover’s Day.  May and Williams opened Monty’s in November 2011.  It was their goal to elevate the humble sandwich to a meal worth seeking out.  They even named their sandwich shop Monty’s in honor of John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who’s credited with inventing the sandwich so that he could eat dinner while he gambled.  May and Williams have said their goal was to bring St. Louis diners a better, fresher sandwich.  So Monty’s hand-crafted all their meals using meats roasted in house, locally baked artisan breads, and hand-picked produce.  And hungry diners in downtown St. Louis noticed the quality, giving Monty’s high ratings (4 stars/134 reviews on Yelp, 4.5 stars/81 reviews Tripadvisor).  Some days they were so busy, people were lining up outside!

The post on Monty’s Facebook page went on to thank their loyal customers for the success they had, “I am very proud of what we have accomplished over the years and the quality of food we have served.  We have made a lot of friends downtown and throughout the Saint Louis area that we will miss greatly.  It has been a pleasure serving you over the years and we appreciate your loyalty and patronage.”  It is unclear if May and Williams will reopen Monty’s somewhere else, or even remain in the restaurant business together.  But for one more week, they’ll be making some of the best sandwiches in town (and breakfast too), from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every day but Sunday through March 3rd.

Contact Information

Monty’s Sandwich Company
Owner: Steve May and Joel Williams
200 N. Broadway, Ste. 110
Downtown
St. Louis, MO
Phone: (314) 241-7900
http://stlmontys.com/
[email protected]

Lucas Park Grille Launching Pad for Mardi Gras Pub Crawl

Lucas Park Grille, St. Louis, MO

One Option for St. Louis Mardi Gras 2017 – Lucas Park Grille

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 5, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Lucas Park Grille – Mardi Gras is a grand time in the city of St. Louis.  We throw one of the biggest Mardi Gras parties in the country.  City officials say it’s the biggest outside of New Orleans, and that might be the case.  In recent years, it’s outgrown the Soulard neighborhood where it began and spilled into downtown and even Laclede’s Landing, creating more opportunities to let the good times roll across town!

One of the most fun was to enjoy a party like Mardi Gras is with a pub crawl.  You get transportation, drink specials, and no cover charges.  My Drink On has teamed up with Lucas Park Grille to create a Mardi Gras pub crawl across downtown St. Louis on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017.  The $20 ticket gets you two $5.00 gift cards (food or drink), $3-5.00 drink specials featuring Cruzan Rum and EFFEN Vodka.  All cover charges are waived (but you may still have to stand in line), and a limited number of masks and beads will be provided.  Plus, a portion of the proceeds will go to local charity.  Tickets can be purchased online through My Drink On.

On the day of the event registration is 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Lucas Park Grille, 1234 Washington Ave., St. Louis.  Get your ticket scanned (from either your phone or a printed ticket) and then the crawl begins!  The other venues signed up so far include: Flannery’s Pub (1324 Washington Ave), Roaring Twenties Complex (807 N 2nd Street), Big Daddy’s Laclede’s Landing (118 Morgan Street), and Morgan Street Brewery (721 N 2nd Street).

To avoid parking headaches and possible fees (not to mention driving home afterward), participants are encouraged to hire a ride from Lyft or Uber!  First time Lyft!  Users can get a $50 voucher by using code: MDO50.  First time Uber users can get a big discount with code: 39r5v.

Contact Information:

Lucas Park Grille & Market
1234 Washington Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63103
Phone: (314) 241-7770

Email inquiries about the event: [email protected]

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Picture courtesy of Lawrence Group | Plan Design Create

Cubano-Creole-Caribe Fusion at Boogaloo

Maplewood Mainstay Is Still One-of-a-Kind Fun – Boogaloo

Maplewood, MO/December 30, 2016 (STLRestaurant.News) – Some restaurants are special.  They have a style, a feel, and a flavor all their own. Boogaloo at 73344 Manchester Road in Maplewood is one of those special places.  It’s a little bit Caribbean, a little bit Cuban, a little bit Creole, and a whole lot of fun!  But then, that’s the nature of a fusion restaurant isn’t it?  Boogaloo’s special blend of cuisines and cultures has been recognized as exceptional from the start.  The restaurant and bar has a fun, eclectic decor replete with bold colors, murals, and alligator skin wallpaper!

Boogaloo, Maplewood, MO

Boogaloo, Maplewood, MO

Boogaloo owner and chef, Dan Powers has been there since the place opened in 2005.  As the son of one of the original investors, he helped Chef Mike Johnson get the restaurant off the ground.  Johnson moved on about four years ago, and now Power’s is the force behind Boogaloo’s one-of-a-kind dining experience.

The menu is as unique as the venue.  It features traditionally inspired Cuban, Caribbean and Creole cuisine, served as tapas and as entrees.  Whether you’re craving crawfish, conch fritters, jerk chicken tacos, or fried plantains with red pepper romesco,  Boogaloo’s got you covered.  One of the stars of their appetizer menu is the Mussels Steamed in White Sangria (with coconut milk, lime and cilantro).  Customers just rave about them and the empanadas.  They do two kinds daily: Spinach and Artichoke with caramelized onion-yogurt sauce and Crab Empanadas with black bean puree and volcano sauce.

Boogaloo also offers some unique fusions creations that are as delicious as they are adventurous.  How about Cuban Paella?  Theirs is made with shrimp, mussels, clams, market fish, Andouille, Valencia rice with saffron and coconut milk.  Or how about a Picadillo?  The Cuban “sloppy joes” are a fragrant stew of ground beef and tomatoes, with raisins and olives adding a sweet-salty kick.  Or try their Caesar Cuban salad.  It’s made with hearts of romaine, like a regular Caesar salad, but they use manchego and anchovy instead of parmesan, and they add chipotle to the dressing!

With food like that, it’s no wonder they found their way into our customer review-based Top 10 Fusion Restaurants in St. Louis (#8) and our Top 10 Cajun & Creole Restaurants in St. Louis (#5).  The fusion doesn’t stop on the restaurant side.

Boogaloo also has an award winning cocktail bar that specializes in mixing up signature drinks.  They offer a great selection of wine and bottled beer, as well as a dozen drafts.  And if their fabulous Mojitos, Caipirinhas, and Sangria aren’t enough to bring you to the bar, their swings certainly are!  Boogaloo is the only establishment in the St. Louis area where every seat at the bar is a swing.  Really.  They’re hanging from the ceiling all in a row.  Just like the playground when you were a kid, you can’t reserve them.  The swings are first-come, first-served. If you’re lucky enough to snag one, it’s a fun way to spend an evening!

Boogaloo offers Happy Hour specials from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, and late night Happy Hour from 10:00 p.m. to close Monday – Thursday!  The bar is open from 11:00 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday – Friday, and noon to 1:00 a.m. Saturdays.

Boogaloo is situated perfectly on Maplewood’s main street, making them a convenient stop for lunch or dinner, and a great destination for a night out with friends.  Did we mention they have swings at the bar?

Right now, they’re offering a New Year’s Eve Dinner special that includes a four-course dinner and champagne toast at midnight ($40).  Reservations can be made online or by phone.  But tables (and swings) are filling up fast!  If you miss them New Year’s Eve, then make plans to join them for Mardi Gras in February!

Contact Information:

Boogaloo
Owner/Chef: Dan Powers
7344 Manchester Road
Maplewood, MO 63143
Phone: (314) 645-4803

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Picture courtesy of Boogaloo

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THE SHAVED DUCK

The Shaved Duck

A St. Louis Culinary Claim to Fame – The Shaved Duck

ST. LOUIS, MO: (STLRestaurant.News) – The Shaved Duck – In a city that’s developed a national reputation for barbecue, it’s not surprising to find quirky little restaurants offering smoked dishes uniquely their own.  One such local favorite is the Shaved Duck, 2900 Virginia Avenue in South St. Louis.  This little storefront barbecue joint in the Tower Grove East neighborhood is one of the distinctive establishments that has helped to put and keep St. Louis on the national culinary map.

The restaurant has garnered national acclaim for its mastery of barbecue classics.  Last year it was named in food critic Johnny Fuggit’s book, 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America (Renew Press, 2015).  Fuggit placed the Shaved Duck at #19 overall, and #1 when it came to burnt ends.  If you’ve never had them, burnt ends are a delicacy from the Kansas City school of barbecue.  They’re cut from the point half of a brisket and slow smoked for hours.  The Shaved Duck’s burnt ends are tossed in their Black Isle BBQ sauce.  They take all day to make, and as such they’re only available after 5 p.m.

Another after 5 p.m. only specialty is the Duck’s Walnut and Brown Sugar Bacon.  This appetizer is made with bacon cured in house, and served with pears & bleu cheese.  It is expertly conceived and prepared, and just fabulous in its simplicity.  But the app that perhaps gets the biggest raves from customers is the smothered fries.  These are a large plate of crispy, hand cut fries topped with creamy cheese sauce, pulled rib and pork meat, and freshly grated sharp cheddar.  They are generously portioned, so terrific to share among your party.

The Duck, like other classic St. Louis restaurants, has also been featured on Food Network. In 2012, Guy Fieri included it in a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episode called “Food Done Right.”  And that’s an apt title for the menu at the Shaved Duck.  The dishes featured on the show are classic Shaved Duck originals: those amazing smothered fries and their signature slow-smoked duck with cherry juniper jam.

Another local favorite is the meatloaf.  Theirs is smoked and served with a root beer glaze.  It’s another clue to the real secret behind everything they make at the Shaved Duck: they aren’t married to just one barbecue technique.  They run the gamut from marinated and dry rubbed to sweet and sticky glazed, and sugar cured-everything is done with care, by hand, and then slow smoked in hickory pits built in Sainte Genevieve over a fire of locally sourced wild cherry and hickory logs.  The result is American rustic barbecue that customers crave.

Some restaurants have one or two dishes that keep customers coming back for more.  But you know a place is special when the customers rave about every part of the menu, appetizers, entrees and even the side dishes.  The folks at the Shaved Duck offer a short list of sides that go especially well with barbecue.  Their Mac n’ cheese and sautéed Brussels sprouts are well loved by customers.  So whether you get those, the baked beans, the slaw, or the caramelized onion mashed potatoes, your side will compliment the deliciously smoked, tender meat on your plate.

They start the fire in the pits at the crack of dawn, so they can be ready for hungry diners by lunchtime.  The Shaved Duck is open Mondays 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.  They’re closed Sunday.  They offer take out too, but not on Friday and Saturday nights, which are their busiest hours.

At the Shaved Duck, they’re advocates of America’s thriving artisan beer scene.  Their enthusiasm means you can wash that dinner down with a craft beer or hard cider from local artisan brewers and others across the nation.  It’s fitting that a distinctive little barbecue joint that helped put this city on the national culinary map is also serving the hometown brews that are turning St. Louis into a prominent beer destination.  It’s just one more pin in the map for the Shaved Duck.

Contact Information:

The Shaved Duck
Owner: Ally Nisbet
2900 Virginia Avenue
Tower Grove East
St. Louis, MO 63118
[email protected]

FIRST WATCH TO OPEN IN TOWN & COUNTRY, MO

St. Louis metro get their 9th First Watch in Town & Country

TOWN & COUNTRY, MO: (STLRestaurant.News)  First Watch (FW), a daytime cafe, is scheduled to open their 9th St. Louis based location in the St. Louis metro community of Town & Country, MO.  It is located to the west side of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant.

It is scheduled to open Monday, October 3rd, 2016 at 7 a.m.  It will be located at 1130 Town & Country Crossing Drive occupying approximately 3300 square feet  and will employ approximately 25 people.  FW is open 7-day a week and closes each day at 2:30 pm.

Apparently, the St. Louis metro area has been good to this upscale cafe that offers an elevated approach and inventive offerings made to order using fresh ingredients.  Additionally, they offer complimentary newspapers and free Wi-Fi Internet access.

The Town & Country community is one of the most prestigious upscale communities in the St. Louis metro area.  Some of the better restaurants and retail establishments are located in this quaint community.  FW should have no trouble fitting into this small business district.

The new establishment will open using its latest “Urban Farm” interior design creating the perfect atmosphere for this unique and demanding area.

Contact information:

First Watch

Phone: (941) 907-9800

Email: [email protected]

Email: [email protected]

Email: [email protected]

Source: RestaurantNews.com

Video courtesy of First Watch/YouTube

MAKING HIS OWN WAY – ANTHONY GITTO

Anthony Gitto

Charlie Gitto’s Rising Star – Anthony Gitto

ST LOUIS, MO: (STLRestaurant.News) Charlie Gitto’s Rising Star – Anthony Gitto: Lights, Camera, Action!  At 25 years old you could say that, Anthony Gitto is already sitting “on top of The Hill.” The son of Charlie Gitto, Jr., recently made his film career debut starring in Parade Magazine’s new television show, “What America Eats.”  When Parade Magazine came calling on the Gitto’s, Anthony had no idea he’d be telling the world all about the best toasted ravioli.  His dad said it was time he got a little face time, and Anthony was more than up to the challenge.  Turns out, in front of the camera, he’s quite a natural.

And it was easy to talk about toasted ravioli, the extremely popular signature St. Louis dish.  It was created in 1947, in the kitchen of Charlie Gitto’s On the Hill, called Angelo’s at the time, when a chef accidentally dropped ravioli in hot oil instead of water.  At the time, Anthony’s grandfather, Charlie Gitto, Sr. served as maitre d’.  The scrumptious, homemade, breaded, deep-fried appetizer has been taking the country by storm ever since.

During the first day of the two day shoot, Anthony talked all about the origin of toasted ravioli and the basics of what goes in it.  Of course, he was a bit vague, as not to give away too many secrets of the Gitto’s sacred recipe.  On day two, he actually got down to business showing the crew exactly how they’re made.  And for those who don’t realize it, Charlie Gitto’s Toasted Ravioli’s are made with lots of love.

Forget the press, they hand roll the dough, hand cut each one with a pastry cutter, stuff them, and then dip them in their signature homemade breading.  He and the girls in the back make a great team, and they’d better, since they sell more than 10,000 a week.  They recently got a large request from the The Bud Light Convention at The Pageant for 5,500: 2000 cheese and the rest, their classic meat.

Anthony says, “It’s a never ending learning process, you’re always learning something,” but then, he learned from the best.  He has an incredible teacher in his father Charlie Gitto, Jr., who himself worked at Angelo’s as a young boy.  His dad was brought up with the belief that if you want something, you have to work for it.  He’d always wanted to buy the building and make it his own.  So when it went up for sale, without hesitation, he did just that.  The restaurant opened as Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill at 5226 Shaw Avenue in 1981.

Since that time, he’s added two more locations, Charlie Gitto’s from the Hill in Chesterfield, and Charlie Gitto’s at Hollywood Casino.  Don’t confuse them with Charlie Gitto’s Downtown, his father, Charlie, Sr.’s restaurant, which is a totally separate entity with an entirely different menu.  To this day, Charlie, Jr., remains very hands on.  Anthony believes his father’s success is due to the passion he has for his business, along with his loyalty to his staff, and his desire to keep them happy.  A few have been with him for close to 30 years, and have watched Anthony grow up from wearing diapers into the man he is today.  Anthony, “recalls being a 5 year old”, sitting at one particular table trying to master the art of thinly slicing bread and saying, “Hey Dad!  Look at this.”  And his dad would say, “That’s really cool.”

Anthony is the youngest of four.  He has a brother and sister that live in Chicago, and a sister, Suzanne Gitto, that like him, has grown up in the business.  She manages the Chesterfield location, and has one of the best-selling pasta dishes, the Pasta Suzanne, named after her.  Their mother, who Anthony calls the “unsung hero,” is also involved in the business, helping with decorating and making sure things are running smoothly at all three locations.

Suzanne Gitto

Suzanne Gitto

Most of Anthony’s own learning has been done on the hill, although he has worked at the other two locations.  And yes, he says, he did start out washing dishes, learning the old-Italian way, from the bottom up.  Even though his dad rules with tough love, he believes it’s really helped both he and Suzanne learn a lot.  He didn’t have to attend culinary school because the hands-on experience served him better.  He’s also well aware that you need to be able to wear different hats, and from the look of things, Anthony is managing that just fine.

His latest venture is managing the CG Pasta Products, which began in 2014, while he was at Mizzou, earning a degree in hospitality, food and beverage.  He finished his last classes online, so he could come back early and work at the restaurant…overseeing the line of CG Products they sell to all three Gitto’s locations within the company.  They make their own bread every day, pasta’s and ravioli’s for all the restaurants every other day, and lots of desserts, like their decadent tiramisu, and their delicious chocolate, red velvet, and Italian cream cakes.

It can be a huge task because they’re making so much for all the other locations, and Anthony says that in a moment’s notice, they have to be ready with inventory.  He says, “When you’re baking 500 loaves of bread, and numerous cakes, you’re on a real time schedule with not much room for error.”  But once again, he’s up for the challenge.  He’d already had experience on the line cooking at all the different stations.

Each location makes their Gelato.  On the Hill those flavors are pistachio, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and cherry.  In Chesterfield, there are even more extravagant flavors.

The new 8 to 5 pm hours work well for Anthony, putting him on the same schedule as Kate, his girlfriend of more than two and a half years.  She’s a civil engineer, who also works for her father.

Ever since he can remember, he’s been trying to make his dad proud of him, and he speaks for his sister, as well.  It didn’t really strike him until high school when he realized that one day, this would be all be his and his sister’s.  He says, “They are not only in this for themselves and to protect their father’s hard work, but more importantly, they’re doing it to make him happy and make him proud.”  And he says he feels like they’re definitely doing something right.

The ultimate goal one day is for him and sister to be able to take over for his dad–whenever that time comes.  Suzanne handles front of the house matters, while he takes care of things in the back, and if either has questions, they go to each other.  Being from such a close-knit family has served this brother/sister duo well.  But for now, this young rising star, plans to work hard, learn as much as he can, and follow his dad’s one golden rule.  Anthony says, “My dad always says, read, read, read, you’ve always got to read about what’s happening.”  And with that learning tool, Anthony plans to reach for the moon.

  • Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill, 5226 Shaw Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110.  Phone (314) 772-8898 – Hours: Sun 4 pm-9 pm, Mon-Thu 5 pm-10 pm & Fri-Sat 5 pm-11 pm
  • Charlie Gitto’s from The Hill, 15525 Olive, Chesterfield, MO.  Phone (636) 536-2199 – Hours: Sun 4 pm to 11 pm, Mon – Thur 11 am to 10 pm & Sat 4 pm to 11 pm
  • Charlie Gitto’s At Hollywood Casino, 777 Casino Center Drive at Hollywood Casino, Maryland Heights, MO 63043.  Phone (314) 770-7663 – Sun 4:30 to 9 pm, Mon – Thur 4:30 pm to 10 pm, Fri – Sat 4:30 to 11 pm
  • CG Pasta Products – Phone (314) 772-8898
  • Website: https://www.charliegittos.com