Tag - St. Louis Restaurant Reviews

Metro-East Will Get 1 of 3 New Sugarfire Smoke House Restaurants

Metro-East Will Get 1 of 3 New Sugarfire Smoke House Restaurants

Sugarfire Smoke House Restaurants Coming to O’Fallon, Farmington & Indianapolis

ST. LOUIS, MO/July 9, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Sugarfire Smoke House Restaurants – One of St. Louis’ favorite barbecue joints is branching out again, and metro-east residents will among the lucky diners who will benefit.  Sugarfire Smoke House is getting set to open three new locations, one in Farmington, Missouri, one in Indianapolis, and a third in O’Fallon, Illinois.  This will be the first Sugarfire Smoke House in Illinois.  On Monday, July 3rd, the O’Fallon City Council gave initial approval for the 3,800-square foot restaurant to be built at 1405 Green Mount Road.  Final approval is expected to come at the council’s July 17th meeting.  There’s no word on when the restaurant will open, but Green Olive Media, which handles publicity for the Sugarfire Smoke House family of restaurants, has confirmed founder, chef Mike Johnson and his partner chef Christina Fitzgerald are among the O’Fallon ownership team.

Barbecue fans in Indiana got their first taste of Sugarfire’s famous brisket, ribs, and pulled pork in May of this year, when it became the official barbecue of the Indianapolis 500.  The new Indianapolis barbecue restaurant will open this fall at 24 West Washington Street in the Mile Square section downtown.  The Indianapolis restaurant, like other Sugarfire locations, will feature a local dish.  In Indianapolis, it will be a fried pork sandwich (fried pork loin, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion and mayo). When it opens this fall, the 50-seat eatery will be the first Sugarfire Smoke House location outside of Missouri.  There are already six in the greater St. Louis area, including downtown St. Louis, Olivette, St. Charles, O’Fallon, Valley Park, and Washington, Missouri.

In announcing the new Indianapolis restaurant, Johnson and Fitzgerald also confirmed a rumored Sugarfire Smoke House planned for Farmington, Missouri.  The Farmington restaurant will be franchised by chef Mike Johnson’s uncle and aunt, Bill and Leanna Johnson.  His cousins, Charlie and Patrick, who’ve been working at the Olivette restaurant for the past several months will run the new establishment.

The Farmington restaurant will occupy a vacant storefront at 670 Walton Drive near the Walmart Supercenter.  The building had most recently housed a cosmetology school.  No opening date has been given for the new restaurant, but Sugarfire Smoke House Co-owner and Chef Christina Fitzgerald told the Daily Journal, a St. Francois County newspaper, that she expects the Farmington location to open in the next three to four months.  There’s no word yet what dish will be the local feature in Farmington, but the new place will feature Sugarfire’s classic slow-smoked beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs, burgers, creative sandwiches, and scratch-made sides that made the restaurant chain famous.

O’Fallon TV visited the Sugarfire Smoke House at 9955 Winghaven Blvd. in 2014, a few months after they opened.

The St. Louis-based barbecue restaurants began as a collaboration between fine dining chef Mike Johnson and pastry chef Carolyn Downs (Cyrano’s, Sugarfire Pie).  The original location in Olivette opened in 2012 and quickly won local and national acclaim.  The current Sugarfire Smoke House locations in Missouri include:

9200 Olive Blvd, Olivette, (314) 997-2301
3150 Elm Point Industrial Drive, St. Charles, (636) 724-7601
932 Meramec Station Road, Valley Park, (636) 825-1400
9955 Winghaven Blvd, O’Fallon, (636) 265-1234
512 West Front Street, Washington, (636) 432-5550
605 Washington Ave, St. Louis, (314) 394-1720

The new Sugarfire Smoke House locations are expected to have the same operating hours as the current locations which are open daily at 11:00 a.m. and close when they sell out (generally before 9:00 p.m.).

The Best Tapas & Small Plates in St. Louis

The Best Tapas & Small Plates in St. Louis

St. Louis’ Top 10 Tapas & Small Plate Restaurants

St. Louis, MO/July 2, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Tapas began as appetizers or snacks served in select bars in Spain. Simple offerings of spiced olives, or a few sautéed shrimp were served both hot and cold. But tapas have evolved into an entire, sophisticated cuisine. Today’s small plates offer more than the traditional Spanish flavors, spanning the globe.  In the hands of American chefs, these simple nibbles have grown into elaborate and eclectic sharable dishes.  Today’s small plates present an opportunity to sample several of the most flavorful dishes on the menu and to build a meal that satisfies your individual tastes.

We wanted to know where St. Louis diners go for their favorite small plate meals.  So, we checked the customer reviews, crunched the numbers, and found the top 10 tapas bars and small plate restaurants in the metro area.  Not surprisingly, many of them are also known as terrific wine bars or craft cocktail bars—meaning tapas in St. Louis is still tied to its beginnings as simple, delicious eats designed to accompany a well-made alcoholic beverage.

Topping the list is the appropriately named, Taste.  This Central West End hangout offers New American tapas and highly acclaimed signature cocktails.  It opened in the summer of 2009 on Sidney Street as Taste by Niche, and was quickly popular for its hand crafted cocktails, intimate setting, and thoughtful nibbles.  After outgrowing its first home, the cozy cocktail lounge moved to the Central West End, offering three times the space, a menu of “sharable” fare, and a new name, now simply Taste.

Today, Taste offers a seasonal menu of New American tapas, as well as a concise list of entrees.  Snacks like their bacon fat fried cornbread, deviled eggs, cheese and charcuterie boards are the perfect accompaniments to the acclaimed cocktails created at the Taste bar.  The small plates at Taste are full flavored bites that blend local produce with global flavors.  The menu includes delectable selections like the Union Loafer’s bruschetta—currently available with arugula/almond pesto, local tomatoes, and sherry gastrique; mussels with white wine, curry, fennel, ginger, lime, and cilantro; a flavorful take on gnudi, the pillowy gnocchi-like dumplings are prepared with corn, cotija cheese, chorizo butter, pineapple, fried onions, and cilantro.  Everything on the menu is thoughtfully prepared and served with care, making Taste St. Louis’ favorite place for small plates.

The rest of the top 10 tapas/small plate restaurants offer a variety of settings and cuisines, ranging from classic tapas bars and market cafes to wine bars and craft cocktail lounges.  Here is the full top 10 list:

1. Taste Bar (4.76 stars/469 reviews) Central West End, 4584 Laclede Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 361-1200.
2. Edibles & Essentials (4.71 stars/101 Reviews) St. Louis Hills, 5815 Hampton Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 328-2300.
3. Bella Vino Wine Bar & Tapas (4.49 stars/287 reviews) St Charles, 325 South Main Street, Saint Charles, MO 63301, (636) 724-3434.
4. Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar (4.31 stars/754 Reviews) Downtown, 1004 Locust Street, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 241-8141.
5. Nixta (4.29 stars/62 Reviews) Botanical Heights, 1621 Tower Grove, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 932-1088.
6. Mango Peruvian Cuisine (4.28 stars/1215 Reviews) Downtown, 1001 Washington Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 621-9993.
7. Remy’s Kitchen & Wine Bar (4.26 stars/337 Reviews) Clayton, 222 South Bemiston Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63105, (314) 726-5757.
8. Farmhaus (4.26 stars/392 Reviews) Lindenwood Park, 3257 Ivanhoe Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63139, (314) 647-3800.
9. Robust at The MX (4.16 stars/260 reviews) Downtown, 635 Washington Ave., Saint Louis, MO, 63101, (314) 287-6300.
10. Público (4.15 stars/177 reviews) University City Loop, 6679 Delmar Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63130, (314) 833-5780.

As often happens when we publish a top 10 list, we found several places that offer great tapas or small plates, but didn’t quite fit into the top 10.  Either they had really high marks, but not enough customer reviews (minimum 50), or they’re already well loved, and better known for something else.  These notable establishments earn Honorable Mentions:

Cellar House (4.58 stars/26 reviews) Oakville, 6039 Telegraph Road, St Louis, MO 63129, (314) 846-5100.  This cozy wine bar and scratch restaurant offers a nice selection of small plates that pair well with wine.  Everything is fresh, and made with locally sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible.  Plus they offer 20 wines by the glass, more than 200 wines by the bottle, a nice selection of craft beers, and craft cocktails.

Polite Society (4.53 stars/47 reviews) Lafayette Square, 1923 Park Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 325-2553.  This contemporary, sophisticated bar and restaurant opened in 2016.  They feature a menu of seasonal small plates that change throughout the year.  From apps like shrimp and grits, to creamy cheese spatzle, and a nice selection of salumi and farmhouse cheese, there are plenty of small plates to keep your interest.  There’s also a great wine-by-the-glass selection, plus several signature cocktails.

Small Batch (4.21 stars/241 reviews) Midtown, 3001 Locust Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 380-2040.  Although not strictly a tapas restaurant, Small Batch offers a very nice selection of small plates to accompany their excellent small batch whiskey offerings.  Customers rave about dishes like cauliflower with bourbon buffalo sauce and bleu cheese, vegetarian rangoon with pineapple cream cheese; and perfectly crispy poutine with chihuahua cheese and peppered white gravy.

Frank Romano Joins BaiKu Sushi Lounge, Triumph Grill Restaurant as General Manager

Frank Romano Joins BaiKu Sushi Lounge, Triumph Grill Restaurant as General Manager

Romano brings with him a vast knowledge of food and wine and an inherent sense of creating a vibrant atmosphere – BaiKu Sushi Lounge & Triumph Grill Restaurant

ST. LOUIS, MO/June 24, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – BaiKu Sushi Lounge and Triumph Grill, two esteemed restaurants located in Midtown, are proud to announce the addition of Frank Romano as their new general manager.

Romano brings with him a vast knowledge of food and wine and an inherent sense of creating a vibrant atmosphere.  His background as the general manager for Robust Wine Bar is an asset for BaiKu Sushi Lounge while his experience in food and beverage combinations will make him instrumental in Triumph Grill’s evolution.  “He’s a seasoned veteran in the business who has a strong wine and beverage background, as well as a management style that works well with the Triumph Grill and BaiKu Sushi Lounge culture,” said Brad Beracha, President of REV Hospitality Group, which owns Triumph Grill and BaiKu Sushi Lounge.  “We work great together on menu engineering, and we plan on rolling out a new menu in August.”

The addition of Romano will enhance the restaurants’ atmospheres, create a new set of service standards, and help the businesses grow in new directions.

Romano is looking forward to working at both restaurants.

“It will be a pleasure working once more with Chef Eliott Harris,” said Romano, who worked with both Harris and Beracha while serving as general manager of Miso on Meramec.  “BaiKu itself is unlike any other sushi restaurant in town.  It’s a truly unique experience for our guests, and the sushi is delicious.  As for Triumph Grill, it has so much to offer from breakfast and lunch to dinner, and it features a private party space.  The design and vibe are unique – I don’t know of anyone who gets to work every day in a place that has a motorcycle museum and dealership attached to their restaurant!”

BaiKu Sushi Lounge is a high-end sushi lounge in St. Louis, located in the boutique Hotel Ignacio on Olive Street.  BaiKu Sushi Lounge serves authentic sushi and sashimi, using the freshest fish.  The restaurant features a lunch and dinner menu, as well as a happy hour from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  For more information about BaiKu Sushi Lounge, visit http://www.baikustl.com or call (314) 896-2500.

Triumph Grill is the sister restaurant of BaiKu Sushi Lounge and is known for its delicious American cuisine and unique atmosphere. Located in Grand Center next to the Moto Museum and Moto Europa, Triumph Grill offers multiple private dining areas that can accommodate up to 35 people for sit-down meals and up to 50 people for standing cocktail parties.  For information about Triumph Grill, visit http://www.triumphgrill.com or call (314) 446-1801.


Source: 24-7 Press Release

Published on STLRestaurant.News by M.S.

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.

Saint Louis’ 10 Best Steakhouses


The Top 10 Steakhouses in St. Louis

St. Louis, MO/ (STLRestaurant.News) – With thousands of restaurants in the St. Louis area to choose from, there really is something for everyone.  Whether you want sushi, pasta, or seafood, you’ll find some excellent choices in St. Louis.  But for some diners nothing beats a great steakhouse.  Prime cuts, scratch-made sides, locally sourced ingredients, top shelf service: there’s just nothing quite like a great steakhouse.  The best offer amazing steaks on a diverse menu of dishes made with the highest quality ingredients.  You should find multiple choices of sumptuous beef, including the best prime cuts, because a fundamental quality of a really good steakhouse is a superior steak.  But they should cater to a wide range of tastes, and often offer really great seafood too.

That’s certainly true for the top ten steakhouses in the St. Louis area.  Each offers a terrific menu of steak, seafood, pasta, salads, and sides.  Topping the list is a St. Louis classic, Annie Gunn’s Restaurant in Chesterfield.  The restaurant inside the unpretentious looking Smokehouse Market has been a long-time local favorite.  Annie Gunn’s Executive Chef Lou Rook, III relies on a network of local family farmers for the freshest ingredients around.  He uses seasonal produce, handcrafted artisanal and farmstead cheese, olive oils, and other products to create irresistible, sophisticated cuisine.  The menu includes the great steaks, of course, like the Angus reserve aged filet mignon; USDA Prime aged New York strips and ribeyes; and a 34-ounce American Style Kobe Tomahawk Chop with a marble grade of 9—yum!

Annie Gunn’s is also known for their award-winning wine list.  There are more than 700 labels to choose from.  Annie Gunn’s is a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner—one of just five Missouri restaurants to receive such recognition.  Their wine cellar includes selections from all of the major wine-producing regions, including the most important producers of France, Italy and America.  Their well trained staff can help diners select an excellent wine to accompany their meal.

Annie Gunn’s offers a great steakhouse experience in a laid back, pub-like dining room.  It’s a family friendly environment too, even offering a nice kids’ menu.  This place has the elements that make for a classic steakhouse experience: terrific service, comfortable atmosphere, outstanding service, and of course, amazing food.  St. Louis diners give Annie Gunn’s the #1 spot on our Steakhouse Top 10.

Here is the complete list of St. Louis Top 10 Steakhouses, according to customer reviews:

1. Annie Gunn’s Restaurant (4.49 stars/667 reviews) Chesterfield Valley, 16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield, MO 63005, (636) 532-7684
2. J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks & Seafood (4.43 stars/261 reviews) West County Mall, 17A W County Center, Ste A102 Des Peres, MO 63131, (314) 965-4600.
3. Citizen Kane’s Steak House (4.41 stars/329 reviews) Kirkwood, 133 W Clinton Place, Saint Louis, MO 63122, (314) 965-9005.
4. The Tenderloin Room at the Chase Park Plaza (4.41 stars/192 reviews) Central West End, 232 N Kingshighway Blvd., Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 361-0900.
5. Twisted Tree Steakhouse (4.39 stars/116 reviews) Sunset Hills, 10701 Watson Road, Saint Louis, MO 63127, (314) 394-3366
6. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (4.35 stars/262 reviews) Frontenac, 1855 S Lindbergh Blvd., Saint Louis, MO 63131, (314) 567-7610.
7. Kreis Steakhouse & Bar (4.34 stars/331 reviews) Frontenac, 535 S Lindbergh Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63131, (314) 993-0735
8. Andria’s Countryside Restaurant (4.32 stars/106 reviews) Edwardsville, 7415 State Rte 143, Edwardsville, IL 62025, (618) 656-0281.
9. 1818 Chophouse (4.26 stars/210 reviews) Edwardsville, 210 S Buchanan Street, Edwardsville, IL 62025, (618) 307-9300.
10. Carmine’s Steakhouse (4.23 stars/435 reviews) Downtown, 20 S 4th Street, Saint Louis, MO 63102, (314) 241-1631

As generally happens when we try to narrow down a very popular type of cuisine or restaurant to just the ten best, a few notable establishments don’t quite make the cut.  And so we include them as honorable mentions.  Sometimes they don’t have enough reviews.  Sometimes they’re in the outer reaches of the region we call St. Louis.  That’s the case with the first of our honorable mentions:

Popeye’s Chop House (4.57 stars/152 reviews) Clinton County, IL, 17910 Saint Rose Road, St. Rose, IL 62230, (618) 526-7369. This terrific steakhouse is about 50 miles east of downtown St. Louis in Clinton County.  They’re known for their prime steak cuts, including their 16 ounce New York strips and ribeyes, as well as a healthy 10 ounce filet.  They have a sophisticated seafood selection that varies according to the market.  It often includes choices like fresh salmon, large sea scallops, Chilean sea bass, plus fried choices like Icelandic cod, catfish fillets, shrimp, and crab cakes.  Another really popular item you’ll find at Popeye’s that you won’t find at most Steakhouses in St. Louis: jumbo frog legs, fried up golden, crispy, and delicious.  Popeye’s is a little on the casual side, with it’s rustic, hunting lodge decor, complete with large stone fireplace and a black bear just inside the door. Seriously.  It’s sitting in the first booth, and it’s a popular photo op.

An Honorable Mention also goes to:

The Brass Rail Steakhouse (4.23 stars/283 reviews) Weldon Spring, 4601 Highway K, O’Fallon, MO 63368, (636) 329-1349.  This St. Charles County favorite missed the Top 10 by just a few reviews.  This is another rustic venue, but with a pub feel, rather than lodge.  BRS is known for its hand crafted food including dry aged, hand-cut USDA Prime sirloin, and USDA Certified Hereford Beef ribeyes, filets, and New York strips.  And as if great food, great services, and live entertainment weren’t enough, the Brass Rail also opens up TBR Prime Steak Market on weekends from March to October—meaning you can buy their hand cut steaks to cook at home.

The Dark Room Wine Bar & Photo Gallery’s New Location

The Dark Room @ The Grandel, St. Louis, MO

New Light for The Dark Room @ The Grandel

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 4, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) There’s some very exciting news for art lovers in St. Louis!  The Dark Room Wine Bar & Photo Gallery, the venue that was created in 2014 has a new home.  Now under the umbrella of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, it has moved from its original location at 615 N. Grand Blvd. to the close by revamped Grandel Theatre.

The Dark Room @ The Grandel, St. Louis, MO

The Dark Room @ The Grandel, St. Louis, MO

The Dark Room was created to “help bring life” to the Grand Center and north of Washington Avenue during slow seasons and has been successful at that.  It has brought excitement and traffic to the popular arts district.  The new space for the combination art gallery and wine bar offers 30 percent more seating than The Dark Room’s former location.

In the early days, the focus was mainly on art and wine.  The food that was served was more in the line of snacks meant to satisfy patrons before they continued on with their evening.  But in 2015, Executive Chef, Samantha Pretto, came on board and the menu has consistently evolved into full meals.  The new location also now has extended hours and the addition of brunch and lunch.

Pretto continues to elaborate on the previously time-honored Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.  Some of the new additions are vegan and vegetarian selections.  The wine bar consists of an advanced wine program including 100 different wines and the beer program and craft beer selections have also grown to include international offerings.  And, if you love those fancier drinks, they also offer specialty cocktails on the beverage menu.

In its new home, The Dark Room Wine Bar & Photo Gallery will continue to serve as a place for local live jazz in St. Louis, for interesting photography exhibitions by the International Photography Hall of Fame, and as a destination designed to provoke interesting conversations and produce inspiring ideas.  A grand opening event will take place on March 18.

Contact information:

The Dark Room @ The Grandel

3610 Grandel Square

St. Louis, MO 63103

Phone: (314) 531-3416


Wednesday thru Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Frida’s Makes Healthy Eating an Easy Choice

Frida’s – St. Louis, MO

No Sugar, No Butter, No Bull, Tastes Great – Frida’s!

University City, MO/December 29, 2019 (STLRestaurant.News) – Every New Year it seems most of us resolve to lose weight, eat better, get more exercise and just take better care of ourselves.  For most of us that lasts about five minutes—until we get hungry.  How about a burger and beer?  Don’t despair!  You can eat out, have a great meal, and keep moving forward with those self-improvement plans.  Keeping your resolution is easier if you choose the right restaurant.  That’s where Frida’s at 622 North and South Road in University City comes in.  Natasha Kwan opened the vegetarian restaurant in 2012, naming it after her cat Frida.  Even after partnering with Rick Roloff, if you check their Facebook Page, Frida (the cat) is still listed as the General Manager.

Frida's, Unversity City, MO

Frida’s, University City, MO

Inside the stylish, white dining room, you’ll see elements of Frida’s influence in the décor.  Colorful cats peek out at you from various nooks and crannies.  It’s apropos of the playfulness of restaurant’s menu too. This is a fun place to eat.

Frida’s bills itself as a “full-service healthy lifestyle restaurant.”  That’s a good description since they make the kind of food you’ll want to eat every day, even if you don’t usually like “healthy” food.  They specialize in working around whatever your dietary restrictions might be, whether it’s gluten, dairy, soy, oil, or calories you need to avoid.

Their vegetarian menu goes way beyond the brown rice and steamed broccoli that many carnivores envision.  Sure, you’ll find vegan classics like hummus and edamame, but you’ll also find simple, familiar combinations like the tasty Buffalo Chicken Bruschetta.  It’s a spicy vegetarian chicken, charred tomato, and bleu cheese cabbage slaw piled on toasty crostini.  They also make tacos!  Theirs are gluten and soy free, made with Sunflower taco meat and a brown rice tortilla but they’re topped with everything you’d expect: cheddar jack, red onion, scallions, avocado, tomato, romaine lettuce, pico de gallo, and sour cream.  They even add crimini mushrooms for good measure. You really won’t miss the meat.

They do some terrific combinations like Buffalo Cauliflower, Beet-Feta (with caramelized onions and Granny Smith apple), classic Margherita, and a Loaded Taco Pizza.  But you can also choose your own toppings from a list of classic ingredients like mushroom, onion, peppers and fresh mozzarella.  Or get creative with choices like jalapeno, sauerkraut, bleu cheese, and IL pasture eggs!

But you wanted a burger and beer without wrecking your diet, right?  Then this is definitely your place.  Start with their Signature Frida Burger.  This award winner is a quarter-pound vegetarian burger topped with tahini-chipotle slaw and tomato on a fresh, locally made bun. (All of their breads come from Companion, Black Bear and Sweet Picks bakeries.)  If you want something more traditional, then opt for the American Freedom Burger with cheddar, tomato, pickles, onion, their sugarless house-made ketchup, mustard, and that killer tahini-chipotle slaw.  Or go earthier with a California Mushroom-Swiss Burger or the Bleed Blue Burger made with real bleu cheese and sweet balsamic onions!

Wash that juicy burger down with a cold brew.  You’ll find some familiar favorites from the likes of Blue Moon, Fat Tire, Urban Chestnut, Citradelic, and Kona.  Hey, beer’s vegan.  The Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen Omission Pale Ale and the IL Apple Knocker Hard Cider are even gluten free!

Frida’s also has a small, but nice selection of wines from California, Oregon, France and Italy.  They also make their own Sangrias in inventive varieties like Pineapple-Jalapeño, Vanilla-Apricot, Raspberry-Honey Lime, and a Skinny Red Sangria.  Hey wine and fruit juice are also vegan!

Frida’s is closed on Sundays.  They’re open Mondays from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday – Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.  They’re closing at 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.  Reservations are recommended for parties of five or more.

Frida’s really is the kind of place where you can indulge your appetite, and still feel good about your choices.  So maybe this year that resolution to take better care of yourself will stick.

Contact Information:

Owners: Natasha Kwan and Rick Roloff
622 North and South Road
University City, MO 63130
Phone: (314) 727-6500


Picture courtesy of Frida’s website – picture in body of article courtesy of Missouri Business Alert


Copyright 2016 St. Louis Media, LLC d.b.a. STLRestaurant.News.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Olive+Oak in the Heart of Old Webster

Olive+Oak, Webster Groves, MO

Olive+Oak – Possibly St. Louis’ Best New Restaurant of 2016

Webster Groves, MO/December 27, 2016 (STLRestaurant.News) (Olive+Oak) – New restaurants come and go.  The good ones catch on and quickly become local favorites.  The great ones feed generations and become legends.  As it approaches its one-year anniversary, Olive+Oak’s star is still rising.  But then the whole approach to this new restaurant in old Webster has been thoughtful, reflective, and inventive.  When Mark Hinkle and Greg Ortyl opened their place last January, the goal was to create a restaurant that’s fun, friendly and delicious.  Starting with a great location, simply elegant interior design, and ingredient-driven food was the way to do it.  Olive+Oak’s popularity is the result of a series of solid decisions well implemented.  The passion the owners and staff have for nourishing their customers is obvious, and those customers are eating it up.  O+O is full of heart.  And that’s by design.



It was the tragic losses of both men’s sons to congenital heart disease that brought Hinkle and Ortyl together.  The men and their wives have each formed organizations (the Ollie Hinkle Heart Foundation and the Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation) aimed at raising awareness of the condition and helping families affected by it.  Their restaurant is filled with subtle remembrances.  A tree of life sculpture near the entrance adds to the modern decor at Olive+Oak.  A large wooden heart adorns one wall near the front.  Another heart in neon sits on a shelf above the bar.  Then there’s the wall of pictures near the kitchen: families with children who suffer from congenital heart defects.  Mark Hinkle and his son Oliver are there.  So are Greg Ortyl and his son Oakes.  It’s for them the restaurant is named: Olive+Oak.

Before O+O, Hinkle had spent 18 years working in the restaurant industry.  Although he’s always loved working with food, his restaurant career really began after college, at Hugo’s Frog Bar and Fish House in Chicago, and eventually included a management post at Annie Gunn’s in Chesterfield.  Olive+Oak Executive Chef Jesse Mendica had been Executive Sous Chef at Annie Gunn’s before following Hinkle to his new spot in Old Webster.  In 2007 Mendica had been part of the Annie Gunn’s team invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House.  In 2012, she was the only woman to compete in the St. Louis Sous Chef Iron Chef Competition.  She’s developed a culinary style that is focused on using the best possible ingredients to create food that is approachable and delicious.

Mendia has developed a contemporary American menu that changes often, keeping up with the seasons.  It begins with classic starters like oyster—on the half shell, roasted or Rockefeller.  Or try the Blue Crab Gratin made with calabrian chile peppers and served with celery and pretzel bread.  There’s also Yellowfin Tuna Meatballs, chicken wings with a maple-red curry glaze, or gnocchi with a lamb ragu and herbed goat cheese.  And that’s just for starters.

Prime, wet-aged steaks and expertly prepared seafood make up the “meat” of the menu.  Although the ingredients are generally familiar ones, they’re put together in creative and delicious ways.  Take the Prime Strip for example.  It’s prepared with blue cheese fonduta (Italian style fondue with Fontina cheese), ale braised onions and arugula, then served with grilled potato bread.  Their entrees include some playful options too, like Biscuit + Gravy, but of course, with an interesting twist.  They cover fresh buttermilk drop biscuits with rabbit and tasso ham stew.  Their Cape Scallops are perfectly cooked and served over cheddar grits with andouille sausage, tomato, roasted peppers and collard greens.  To add to the fun, you can add grilled lobster tail to any entrée.

No matter what you order for dinner, it will be delicious and they will have the perfect libation to accompany it.  Another well thought out ingredient in Olive+Oak’s success is their bar.  It starts with an expert mix-master and carries all the way through to their expansive and well curated wine list.  But then bartender Chelsea Little is a culinary school graduate who went on to learn mixology behind the bars at The Libertine and at Brasserie by Niche.  She’s the creative flavor behind Olive+Oak’s expertly mixed cocktails along with their fine selection of draft and bottled craft beer.  The bar staff at O+O can mix pretty much anything you like, but Little’s signature cocktails (listed by number on the daily menu) are both entertaining and refreshing—sort of like the restaurant itself.

Even after eleven months in business, this is still one of the hottest dining destinations in St. Louis’ bright culinary scene.  It can literally take months to get a reserved table at O+O.  Walk-ins are allowed, but reservations are strongly recommended.  On a Friday or Saturday night, they’re a must have.  But plan ahead.  As of this writing the wait for a 7:00 p.m. table for two on a Friday night at Olive+Oak is more than two months (late March), although there are some openings in late January for dinner before 6:00 p.m. or after 9:00 p.m.  You’ll only need to plan a couple of weeks ahead for a prime-time table on a weeknight.  Reservation phone lines open at 2:00 p.m. each day, or you can make them online through O+O’s website.  Seating at the bar and spots at the rail are first-come first-serve, but you should expect to have to wait awhile.  That’s because everyone wants to try the hottest new restaurant of 2016.  And those who’ve already tried it just keep coming back for more.
Contact Information:

Owners: Mark Hinkle and Greg Ortyl
102 W Lockwood Ave
(Old Webster)
Webster Groves, MO 63119
Phone: (314) 736-1370


Header picture courtesy of Pinnacle Contracting, Inc. – picture in body of article courtesy of Olive+Oak


Copyright 2016 St. Louis Media, LLC d.b.a. STLRestaurant.News.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.