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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.

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:

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

Vicia to Introduce Chef’s Choice Tasting Menu

Vicia to Introduce Chef’s Choice Tasting Menu

Optional Chef’s Choice Dinner Menu Coming to Vicia

St. Louis, MO/July 13, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – One of the hottest, new restaurant projects in St. Louis is offering something special for customers.  Vicia, the hit restaurant in the Central West End’s Cortex Innovation Community (4260 Forest Park Ave.), is now offering a special chef’s choice tasting menu as an optional experience on their dinner menu.  Co-owned by Blue Hill at Stone Barns alums Michael and Tara Gallina, Vicia opened to great fanfare back in March after much anticipation and business has been booming ever since.

With vegetable-focused cuisine that does not exclude meat, but rather uses it as a complementary flavor for the veggie-based dishes on the menu, Vicia has already brought a unique experience to the St. Louis dining scene.  But the restaurant’s new tasting menu will add a new variety of innovative, fun, and fresh flavors to the mix.  In a similar fashion to the restaurant’s a la carte menu, the chef’s choice tasting menu will not be a set menu.  The options will vary as available ingredients in the kitchen change.  That dynamic and seasonal approach will ensure diners will experience the best meal the chef can create at any given moment.  In some instances, patrons who choose to partake in the tasting menu will get a special sneak peek of new ingredients and menu items, as some dishes might eventually appear on the restaurant’s a la carte menu.

Chef Michael says he’s excited about the creative nature of the new concept.  “I liken the tasting menu to people just letting us cook for them,” said Michael.  “It really is ‘chef’s choice’ and each meal will be 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.”

The tasting menu will consist of six to seven courses and costs $85 per person.  Diners can choose between two wine pairing experiences as a part of the meal.  At $45, diners can enjoy wines made with less familiar varietals.  At $65, their dinners will be paired with organic and sustainable wines made with familiar grape varieties.  According to Vicia, guest food allergies and dietary needs will be taken into account when chef’s choice tasting menu meals are being prepared.  In order to provide a unique experience for each table, the tasting menu will be available for the entire party only.  Guests are encouraged to indicate they wish to enjoy the chef’s choice tasting menu when making their reservations.

Vicia is probably not the restaurant you frequent on a weekly basis—because they are a bit pricy in this writer’s humble opinion—but this new chef’s choice tasting menu excites me nonetheless.  And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll keep Vicia’s Chef’s Choice Tasting Menu in mind when the next special occasion comes around.  It’s a chance to experience a completely fresh culinary opportunity.

Contact Information:

Vicia Restaurant
Owners: Tara and Michael Gallina
Cortex – Central West End
4260 Forest Park Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63108
Phone: (314) 533-9239

Vicia’s Much Anticipated Opening Is This Week

Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis, MO

New Veggie-Forward Restaurant by Tara and Michael Gallina

St. Louis, MO/March 20, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – It may be the most anticipated restaurant opening of the year.  Vicia will begin feeding Central West End diners this week. Michael and Tara Gallina began creating their signature culinary magic for St. Louis diners about a year ago with a series of pop-up dinners playfully named Rooster and the Hen (gallina is Spanish for hen).  Now, they’re ready for the next step.  Their new brick-and-mortar restaurant Vicia is set to open this week in the Cortex Innovation Community (4260 Forest Park Ave.).

Like the Gallina’s pop up dinners, Vicia will be seasonally driven and feature vegetable-forward cuisine.  But the menu won’t vegetarian.  It will focus on spotlighting produce and using proteins (meat, fish, chicken) as an accompaniment to the vegetables.  The restaurant will also specialize in wood fired cooking and offer an ever-changing menu.  The brand new space will seat about 50 inside the modern, glass, wood, and stone dining room and another 30+ in the outdoor dining space when weather permits.

The unofficial grand opening March 21st will be Tuesday night’s $200 per plate James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour dinner.  It will feature culinary creations by the host, Chef Michael Gallina, as well as celebrity chefs from Nashville, Chicago, and St. Louis—including 2017 JBF Best Chef finalist Kevin Nashan (Sidney Street Café & Peacemaker).

Daily service at the Central West End eatery will begin with lunch Wednesday, March 22.  It will feature a small rotating menu of quick, delicious, seasonally driven items like tartines, grain bowls, soups, salads and sandwiches every Monday – Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Dinner service will be Tuesday – Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday – Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. beginning March 28, 2017.

Dinner will feature a frequently changing a la carte menu of shareable starters, snacks, and innovative entrees—all created with the same vegetable-forward approach.  Vicia will be destination dining that’s both casual (no tie needed), and elegant, with an emphasis on creating a whole meal experience.  Along with an elevated dinner menu, the bar program will feature cocktails made with seasonal ingredients and a carefully curated wine list reflective of small, organic, and sustainable producers from across the globe.  In another nod to freshness, the Gallinas have purchased a stone mill that will allow Pastry Chef Summer Wright to grind flour in house daily.  It will be used to create fresh pastries (both sweet and savory), as well as whole grain cookies which will be available all day at the pastry counter.

Michael and Tara Gallina met while working as chef de cuisine and service captain, respectively, at Dan Barber’s internationally renowned Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, New York.  They married in 2015.  Rooster and the Hen was their first endeavor together, and Vicia is their first restaurant.  The couple chose Michael’s home town of St. Louis for their business because they wanted to bring forward-thinking, inventive, delicious dining home.

Contact Information:

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

POP IN FOR FINAL POP-UP DINNERS – VICIA

Vicia – Photograph by St. Louis Photographer Jonathan Gayman.

Vicia Comes to Life for Limited Engagements

ST. LOUIS, MO: (STLRestaurant.News) St. Louis’ Cortex Innovation Community is by far one of the most diverse and energetic community with numerous great thinkers and risk takers working together in an effort to change the world.  This pulsating 200-acre innovation hub and technology district sits in the midst of St. Louis’ historic Central West End and Forest Park Southeast residential neighborhoods.  The focus on innovation and total creativity is what attracted Restaurateurs, Michael and Tara Gallina.

The couple best known for their Pop UP eatery Rooster and the Hen are set to open their newest venture, Vicia, in 2017.  Much like their future location, they view food and dining, as both art and truly inspirational.  Vicia , pronounced vis-see-ya, is named after a plant species common to a cover crop in Missouri, and that’s appropo since their main concept centers on vegetable-forward, farmer driven cuisine, fueled by wood-fire.  The Gallinas will offer a cuisine focused on what’s fresh and available at the time.

Vicia will be open for lunch and dinner and will emphasize a-la-carte ordering. The menu will change daily as different ingredients become available.  Pricing and exact menu details have not been disclosed yet, but a set menu will change weekly featuring new dishes and concepts.

The fare will be a celebration of seasonal ingredients at their freshest, protein and vegetable driven dishes with wood-fired cooking.  They will also serve delicious sweets.  And, if you or someone in your party is plagued with food allergies or dietary restrictions, all you have to do is notify them 24-hours in advance and they will do their best to accommodate your needs.

The first of the five dates will be held at The Block CWE, located at 33 N Sarah St., and the other four dates will take place at Cafe Osage, located at 4605 Olive St. Reservations are available for parties up to 4 guests.  For groups of 5-6, please contact Tara Gallina at info@viciarestaurant.com.

Sunday, November 13th: The Block CWE, seating’s from 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 29th: Cafe Osage, seating’s from 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 30th: Cafe Osage, seating’s from 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 7th: Cafe Osage, seating’s from 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 8th: Cafe Osage, seating’s from 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com (direct links for each seating above).

photo credit Jonathan Gayman

POP IN FOR FINAL POP-UP DINNERS – VICIA

Vicia

Vicia Comes to Life for Limited Engagements

ST. LOUIS, MO: (STLRestaurant.News) Vicia – Where can you find a more diverse and energetic community of great thinkers and risk takers working together in an effort to change the world than right here in St. Louis’ Cortex Innovation Community?  The vibrant 200-acre innovation hub and technology district assimilated into St. Louis’ historic Central West End and Forest Park Southeast residential neighborhoods, is thriving.  And it’s that very dedication to innovation and creativity that caught the attention of Restaurateurs, Michael and Tara Gallina.

The couple, best known for their eatery Rooster and the Hen, are planning to open their newest venture, Vicia, in the heart of the Cortex.  Much like their future location, they view food and dining, as both state-of-the-art and inspiring.  The growth planned for the area also captured their imagination as they set out to create something truly unique.

Vicia , pronounced vis-see-ya, after a plant species common to a cover crop in Missouri, is set to open in 2017.  The main concept centers on vegetable-forward, farmer driven cuisine, fueled by wood-fire.  Thanks to developing good relationships with farmers, fisherman, and artisans in the Midwest region and beyond, the Gallinas will be able to offer a cuisine focused on what’s fresh and available at the time.

The exact menu details and pricing are still unknown, but Vicia will be open for lunch and dinner and will emphasize a-la-carte ordering.  The menu will change daily as different ingredients become available.  For now, the couple is excited to announce they’re offering a final series of pop-up dinners in anticipation of Vicia’s opening in next few months.  They are partnering with great neighbors and venues in the Central West End, in order to bring the restaurant temporarily alive and give expectant diners a glimpse of what the future holds.

A set menu will change weekly featuring new dishes and concepts.  The fare will be a celebration of seasonal ingredients at their finest, vegetable and protein driven dishes, wood-fired cooking, as well as delectable sweet treats.  If you or someone in your party has a food allergies or dietary restrictions, you can notify them 24-hours in advance and they will do their best to accommodate your needs.

One of the five dates will be held at The Block CWE, located at 33 N Sarah Street and the other four dates will take place at Cafe Osage, located at 4605 Olive St. Reservations are available for parties up to 4 guests.  For groups of 5-6, please contact Tara Gallina at info@viciarestaurant.com.

Sunday, November 13th: The Block CWE, seating’s from 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 29th: Cafe Osage, seating’s from 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 30th: Cafe Osage, seating’s from 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 7th: Cafe Osage, seating’s from 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 8th: Cafe Osage, seating’s from 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com (direct links for each seating above).

CORTEX TO GET NEW TENANT – VICIA

Vicia, St. Louis, MO

Eating Off The land – Vicia

ST. LOUIS, MO: (STLRestaurant.News) – There’s some extremely exciting news for The Cortex, the Midwest’s premiere hub of bioscience and technology research, the anchor of St. Louis’ growing startup community. Founded in 2002, it has continued to grow, and now husband-and-wife team, Michael and Tara Gallina, are joining the community. That’s where they’re planning to open their new restaurant, Vicia.

Before returning to his native St. Louis, Michael served as the chef de cuisine of the internationally acclaimed restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, NY. He and his wife and business partner, Tara, started laying down roots when they opened their first trendy restaurant, Rooster and the Hen, at the beginning of the year. Now they’re ready to branch out.

The 2,500-square-foot space will be adjacent to the new TechShop building now under construction at 4260 Forest Park Avenue. There will be seating for 50 diners inside, and room for several more on the planned 1,500-square-foot outdoor space.

The restaurant will feature vegetable-forward, wood-fired cooking with fresh ingredients. Vicia , pronounced vis-see-ya, is named for the class of plant species that includes vetch, a common cover crop in Missouri. After visiting several local farms, the couple was so inspired that they decided to create a concept that’s all about the abundance of the Midwest. Their menu will reflect the relationships they’ve developed with farmers, artists, and craftspeople across the region.

Contributing Editor: Kara Savio

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