Tag - fine dining

Chef Ashley Shelton Named to Zaget’s 30 under 30

Chef Ashley Shelton Named to Zaget’s 30 under 30

Pasteria, Sardella Exec. Chef Ashley Shelton Wins National Honors

St. Louis, MO/September 19, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – One of the best young, innovative chefs in America is St. Louis’ Ashley Shelton. That’s according to New York-based restaurant review site Zagat.com.  The Zagat editors have been doling out restaurant evaluations since they began publishing a restaurant guide in 1979.  For the last six years, Zagat’s 30 Under 30 has honored hundreds of exceptional, young hospitality professionals in major markets all over the country.  St. Louis is not one of the cities featured in their regularly published 30 Under 30 lists.  According to Zagat’s editors, this first-time national list represents “some of the best, brightest, and most badass hospitality players from coast to coast.”  It also gives the publication the opportunity to shine the spotlight on some of the nation’s better young chefs who are working outside of the 15 culinary cities generally featured by Zagat.

At just 28, Shelton is Executive Chef of Gerard Craft’s two adjacent restaurants, Sardella and Pastaria (both at 7734 Forsyth in Clayton).  In fact, Shelton met Craft in Florence, Italy while working on her masters in Italian cuisine.  At that time, she interviewed for a position at his upcoming Pasteria, and won the post.  Since working her way up to Executive Chef at Pasteria, Shelton has earned other national accolades, including being named a James Beard Foundation semifinalist earlier this year for “Rising Star Chef of the Year.”  In 2016, she was one of 19 chefs named to Eater’s “Young Guns” list, which spotlights young professionals who are considered “extraordinarily talented restaurant industry trailblazers.”  Since then, Shelton has also been named Executive Chef of Craft’s Sardella, which he opened last year in the footprint of his flagship restaurant Niche.

Shelton was the only chef, and one of only two hospitality nominees from Missouri to make Zagat’s semi-final list of 60. (The other was Andrew Olsen, the 29-year old bar manager from Bluestem in Kansas City.)  Both Shelton and Olsen were among the 45 finalists in June, but only Shelton went on to make the 30 Under 30 list.  Of the honorees, Zagat editors write, “These gastronomic game changers are redefining the way we eat, drink and interact with food and beverages across the U.S.”

One of the most striking things about Shelton is her infectious enthusiasm for preparing amazing food.  In her profile by Zagat, Shelton says cooking was a way to stay close to her mother, whom she lost at age 14.  The philosophy she’s developed since beginning her culinary career (at Annie Gunn’s) at the age of 17, that an upbeat attitude and a happy culinary team make better food, has served her and St. Louis area diners well.  This latest feather in Shelton’s cap will no doubt be one in a continuing series of honors for this happy chef.


By Susan Harmon-Smith – published on STLRestaurant.News by St. Louis Media, LLC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Information:

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

Yaya’s Euro Bistro

Yaya’s Euro Bistro

Sophisticated Dining Adventure – Yaya’s Euro Bistro

CHESTERFIELD, MO/May 28, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) From the minute you enter YaYa’s the whimsical tone is set by the charming staff, the beautiful limestone walls, mosaic tile floor, cathedral ceilings, hand carved sconces with soft lighting, spacious seating for parties of all sizes and exceptionally comfy high back private booths with acoustics that compliment important conversations are perfect for a romantic date or a business lunch.

An eclectic menu inspired by a fusion of Mediterranean, French, Italian, Greek and American cuisines await your pallet at Yaya’s Euro Bistro.  Their starting line up features intriguing culinary textures such as their famous Hummus & Pita (with chili oil, kalamata olive, feta cheese and grilled pita strips); Crab Cake (with quinoa, bell pepper, soffritto, apple salad, béarnaise aioli); Gnocchi (herb potato gnocchi, roasted chicken, gorgonzola cream, spinach, spiced walnuts); Shrimp A La Plancha (skillet seared shrimp, dry sherry, red chili butter); Calamari “Fritto” (fried calamari, gazpacho aioli, agrodolce sauce); and many more.

Yaya’s extravagant salads are quite the foodie experience with unexpected pairings that work together beautifully.  Try the Kale salad (with curried cashews, fennel, red onion, asiago and an apricot vinaigrette); or the Roasted Beet salad (with arugula, oranges, goat cheese, roasted almonds and a citrus vinaigrette); or the Salmon salad (with crispy potato, walnuts, gorgonzola, local bacon, and a cranberry vinaigrette); and other familiar classic salads.

The upscale eatery is noted for their sustainable and locally farmed dishes such as Salmon (hickory grilled with faro, sautéed spinach, garlic and Moroccan gastrique); Seared Sea Scallops (with saffron orzo, vegetables, crab, beurre blanc, and orange gastrique); Bouillabaisse (shellfish, scallop, fresh fish, jumbo shrimp, saffron, fennel, Pernod, and orange); Collins Spring Trout (with tomato, artichoke, red onion, yukon potato, feta, oregano, and lemon); Roasted Free-Range Chicken (with crispy potatoes, roasted garlic, chilies, and caper berries).

Enjoy fresh pasta where the ingredients literally come together upon your order.  How about enjoying Eliche (kale, cherry tomato, braised carrots, winter squash purée); or Fruits De Mer (lobster, shrimp, peas, local bacon, pepperdew peppers, and lobster brandy cream; or other traditional favorites such as Smoked Chicken Penne, Baked Lasagna and Angel Hair Pomodoro.
Yaya’s Oak-Fired Pizzas feature global inspirations such as the Chicken Piadini (crispy thin crust, chicken, peppers, feta, hummus, and chili oil); The Pancetta (onion jam, roasted tomatoes, arugula, pepperoncini, and grilled onion); the La Quercia Prosciutto (asparagus, caramelized onions truffle oil, blended cheese); and fan favorites the Margherita, and the Pepperoni. Gluten free pastas and pizzas are also available.

The lunch menu offers creative “between slices” in YaYa’s land such as Beef Tenderloin, Porchetta (Italian slow roasted heritage pork, pepper cheese, giardinera, and black pepper mayo), Lobster Roll (Lobster and langoustine, lemon and tarragon mayo, arugula and pickled onion), Roasted Turkey, YaYa’s Chickpea Burger (eggplant, chickpeas, arugula, and cured tomato vegan-aise), Gorgonzola Burger and Grilled Free Range Chicken.

Sunday Brunch rolls out the variety of plenty for the entire family such as: peel & eat shrimp, Prince Edward Island Mussels, farm fresh Eggs Benedict, made-to-order omelets, hand carved grass fed beef, pancakes & French Toast, Chef Alex’s Biscuits and Gravy, farm fresh fruit, Yaya’s Famous Hummus & Pita Chips, assorted pasta and potato salads, local organic vegetables, award winning cheese, sustainable seafood, Mr. Benne’s Roasted Chicken, seasonal sautéed vegetables, artisan pizzas, delicious house made desserts, and Yaya’s signature Bloody Mary’s.

Whether it’s lunch, dinner, happy hour or Sunday brunch, thanks to innovative Executive Chef, Alexander Hayworth, there’s plenty of culinary exploring at Yaya’s Euro Bistro!

Yaya’s Euro Bistro
Phone: (636) 537-9991 (Reservations)
15601 Olive Blvd.
Chesterfield, MO 63017

A few Mothers Day specials in the St Louis area

A few Mothers Day specials in the St Louis area

Mothers Day Specials for 2017 in the St. Louis area

ST. LOUIS, MO/May 6, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Mothers Day is rapidly approaching.  It is a big day for restaurants as kids and families gather to treat mom rather than mom treating the family.  There are many options to choose from in the St. Louis area for Mothers Day. We have listed a few that we know of, but there are many more.

Restaurants in the St. Louis area that have announced specials are as follows:

Aya Sofia – 6671 Chippewa Street, St. Louis, MO (314) 645-9919 Featuring Mother’s Day Brunch or Dinner. Call for details or reservations.

Benedetto’s on Main – 16721 Main Street, Wildwood, MO (636) 821-3535 – Mother’s Day Brunch from 10 am to 3 pm for $26.95

Bishop’s Post – 16125 Chesterfield, Pkwy West, Chesterfield, MO 63017. Phone (636) 536-9404 – Featuring a Mother’s Day Brunch from 9 am to 2 pm and dinner from 4 pm to 8 pm.

Candicci’s Restaurant and Bar – 100 Holloway Rd, Ballwin, MO 63011 (636) 220-8989 – Featuring Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet from 10 am to 3 pm and dinner from 4 pm to close. Cost is $22.99 per person, children $8.99 and children 3 and under eat for free.

Charlie Gitto’s – St. Louis’ Favorite Italian Dining Experience – Mother’s Day Brunch from 10 am to 3 pm with three locations to choose from – Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill (314) 772-8898 – Charlie Gitto’s From The Hill (636) 536-2199 and Charlie Gitto’s at Hollywood Casino (636) 770-7663.

Cork & Barrel – 7337 Mexico Rd, St. Peters, MO 63376 (636) 387-7030 – Featuring Mother’s Day Brunch from 10 am to 3 pm and dinner buffet from 3:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

LaChance Vineyards – 12237 Peter Moore Lance, Desoto, MO 63020 (636) 586-2777 – Featuring Mother’s Day Brunch from 11 am to 2 pm.

Lucas Park Grille – 1234 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, MO (314) 241-7770 – Featuring Mother’s Day Brunch from 10 am to 3 pm. Cost is $35 per adult, $15 for children 5-12 and younger than 5 eat from free. Call for reservations.

Spiro’s – 1054 North Woods Mill, Chesterfield, MO (314) 878-4449 – Featuring Mother’s Day specials. Call for details!

Table Three – 16765 Main Street, Wildwood, MO (636) 458-4333 – Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet – Reservations Required – Adults $35 – Children 6 thru 12 cost $14 and Children 5 and younger eat for free. Seating times are 9, 9:30, 10:30, 11:00, 12:00, 12:30, 1:30 & 2:00 – Brunch Ends at 3:30

Talayna’s Italian Restaurant – 68 Four Seaons Shopping Center, Chesterfield, MO 63014 (314) 469-6650 – Mother’s Day Brunch till 3 pm with regular menu served all day & evening. Call for more details.

Trattoria Giuseppe – 5442 Old Hwy 21, Imperial, MO (636) 942-2405 – Call for details and reservations.

Tucker’s Place West – 14282 Manchester Road, Manchester, MO (636) 227-8062 (one block east of 141) Featuring Maine Lobster Dinner and Steaks for Mother’s Day – Opens at 2 pm on Mother’s Day

If you are a St. Louis restaurant you are welcome to email us or call (314) 808-1870 and give us your details about your Mother’s Day specials and we will add it to our list.

Laylas and The Grove

Laylas and The Grove

ST. LOUIS, MO/April 26, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) St. Louis is an ever developing and expanding city. Often this entails re-branding an historic district, The Grove is a perfect example of the city’s growth.  The Grove used to be known as Adam’s Grove and, in the 1950s, it was a busy commercial district for the city.  For years after, Adam’s Grove fell into decline as businesses moved into the downtown area and upkeep on the area was poorly maintained.  The Grove area received its’ first wave to revitalizing investments in the 1980s, starting first with Attitudes Night Club.  In 2009, a group of property owners founded The Grove Community Improvement District (CID).  CID’s main goal is to strengthen the area’s businesses, residential community, and entertainment.  On December 4th, 2015 approval was granted from the Missouri Housing Development Commission to begin development creating affordable housing.  The development incorporated contemporary design and green building into the building of 50 garden apartments and town-homes.  After decades of growth and development, The Grove has become an eccentric area full of diverse cultures and exciting events.

Layla is a restaurant located in the heart of The Grove.  It embodies the cities vision for this area, by offering entertainment, delicious food, and local art.  Layla offers its patrons entertainment most nights of the week.  They are often the host of fundraising events, live bands, and the last Wednesday of each month is designated Simpsons Trivia Night, where you can show off your Simpson’s knowledge and win big!  Layla’s has so much more than entertainment, they are St. Louis’s only restaurant to offer Shawarma and gourmet burgers.  Layla’s menu is filled with options like falafel fries and three types of homemade hummus to choose from.  They have eleven mouthwatering hand dipped milkshakes ranging from Strawberry or Mango to Gooey Butter Baklava or Feel Like Bacon Love!

Layla’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday 11 am to 11 pm, Saturday 10 am-11 pm, and Sunday 10 am-10 pm.  The restaurant holds happy hours from 4 pm-7 pm, Monday through Friday.  For more information on upcoming events visit Layla’s Facebook page or follow them on instagram at @laylastl.  For discounted lunch look for Layla on Groupon, currently offering $20 for $12 or $40 for $24.


4317 Manchester Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63110

Phone: (314) 553-9252

Email: infor@laylastl.com


Monday thru Friday: 11 am-11 pm
Saturday: 10 am-ll pm
Sunday: 10 am-10 pm


Author: Caley Johnson


Works Cited:

“About.” About – The Grove STL. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017. <http://thegrovestl.com/about/>.
Layla. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017. <http://laylastl.com/>.
Perlmutter, Larry. “Adams Grove on the Rise.” Rise. Larry Perlmutter http://www.risestl.org/media/2016/01/rise-web-logo-no-slogan-2.png, 30 Dec. 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2017

Scarecrow Restaurant May Be Chesterfield’s Best Kept Secret

Scarecrow Restaurant May Be Chesterfield’s Best Kept Secret

Robust Whiskey & Wine Programs at Scarecrow in Chesterfield

Chesterfield, MO/April 19, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Change is inevitable in the ebb and flow of St. Louis’ restaurant industry.  Sometimes change comes quickly, with restaurants closing suddenly and others popping up overnight to take their places.  Sometimes, the changes are more subtle, transforming a neighborhood place into something new over the course of months, even years.  The launch of Chesterfield’s Scarecrow Restaurant at 1095 Chesterfield Pkwy East was more like the latter.

Chris Mertz and Shawn Mulholland opened Scarecrow in January 2013 in footprint of the former Press Box Bar & Grill, but they didn’t change everything all at once.  They tapped Chef Michelle Parker to take what was essentially a bar and grill menu and elevate it to a menu of “creative American cuisine” with a much greater focus on creating fresh, scratch-made dishes.  Consequently, the Scarecrow menu has evolved over the last four years.  Diners will still find a nice selection of “starters,” including bar and grill staples like calamari, potato skins and wings.  But they’ll also fine thoughtful creations like the cheese and sausage board, baked brie, and Buffalo cauliflower.  They’ve also added fresh-built salads that go beyond the typical Caesar or chopped iceberg side salad, and vegetarian options like seasonal vegetable risotto and pizza Margherita.  They kept the best of the burger menu, but expanded the entree selection to include new favorites like blackened salmon, pan-seared walleye, and beef tenderloin in a brandy peppercorn sauce.  These can be paired with baked potato, mac-n-cheese, or thoughtful sides like Brussels sprouts and Parmesan flash-fried spinach.  Lunch customers will find apps, soups, salads, burgers, pizza, and specialty sandwiches like Caprese grilled cheese, melty pressed Cubans, and hot pastrami.

Mertz and Mulholland have also developed a fairly robust wine program in a relatively short amount of time.  They began with about 45 labels, with ten available by the glass—five whites and five reds.  They’ve expanded the wine program to include more than 80 bottles from some of the best winemaking regions of the world.  Their wine room includes selections from Italy, France, Germany, Australia, Argentina, as well as domestics from California, Washington, Oregon, and Missouri.  Prices range from $27/bottle (Missouri’s Noboleis 2010 Chambourcin and 2011 Baril de Blanc), to $120/bottle (Italy’s 2009 Antinori ‘Tignanello’ Super Tuscan), with a large selection in the $30-50/bottle range. Wine by the glass includes a rotating selection of red and whites for $7-10/glass.

Scarecrow also offers 14 beers on tap, including mass market labels (Bud Light, Bud Select, Stella Artois), craft beers from Civil Life, Boulevard, Goose Island, Kirkwood Station, and Schlafly), and Irish imports (Guinness and Smithwick’s).  They also offer domestic bottles (the A-B line), imported bottles from Mexico, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, and Italy, as well as American and Irish hard ciders.

Scarecrow’s whiskey selection may be among the best in the region.  They offer more than 200 whiskeys from the very best whiskey distilleries worldwide.  There are American whiskeys of every kind—Tennessee, Wheat, Corn, White, etc.—including blends and single malts.  There’s a nice selection of American ryes and a huge selection of American bourbon whiskey.  Scarecrow also offers a variety of Canadian whiskeys, Irish whiskey, blended Scotch whiskey, and a well-curated selection of single malt scotches, plus brandy & Cognac, port wine, and spirited liqueurs.

Scarecrow is open Monday – Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to midnight and Friday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Happy Hour is Monday – Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  And they’re now available for private parties.  When Mertz and Mulholland first opened Scarecrow, they said their intent was to create for the Chesterfield area the kind of place they would want to visit.  Customers rave about the warm pretzels, bacon-wrapped pickles, the wine program, and the incredible whiskey selection.  There’s also a very nice patio to enjoy apps and drinks al fresco, or a meal with friends and family.

Contact Information:

Scarecrow Restaurant
Owners: Chris Mertz and Shawn Mulholland
General Manager: Michael Butler
1095 Chesterfield Pkwy East
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Phone: (636) 536-9440

The Top 10 Outdoor Dining Restaurants in St. Louis

The Top 10 Outdoor Dining Restaurants in St. Louis

STL Restaurants with the Best Patios, Decks & Sidewalk Cafes

St. Louis, MO/April 4, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Ah Spring!  The daffodils are blooming along the interstate.  The trees are leafing out.  The fountains around town are returning to life.  And St. Louis diners are looking for a great meal they can enjoy in the great outdoors.  Dining al fresco is a warm weather tradition in the Gateway City.  We’re fortunate to have a lot of great restaurant gardens, patios, and sidewalk cafes to choose from all over the metro area.  So we wanted to know which are St. Louis’ favorites.  Where are the sure bets for a great meal in a pleasant outdoor dining space?

We checked the customer reviews and found some of the highest rated restaurants in St. Louis also offer great outdoor dining too.  While compiling the data for the list, one thing stood out: when St. Louis eats outdoors, we tend to prefer casual dining venues.  We also tend to prefer restaurants that offer adult refreshments to accompany that meal.  All of the restaurants in the top ten offer great food, a terrific outdoor dining space, and some combination of craft beer, artisan cocktails, and/or an ample wine selection.

Topping the list is St. Louis’ favorite pizza place.  Melo’s Pizzeria is one of the latest culinary destinations to emerge in Benton Park.  It sits just behind another St. Louis favorite, Blues City Deli. (The sandwich shop is a two-time Yelp “Top 100 Places to Eat,” making the list in 2016 and 2017.)  Melo’s came about when Blues City owner Vince Valenza converted the garage behind the deli into a pizzeria.  Melo’s authentic wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza made with simple, high quality ingredients has become St. Louis’ favorite.  And the lovely patio next to the shop is a favorite dining destination any time the weather is warm enough to eat outdoors.  Good thing, since there’s no room inside the pizza garage for tables!  Be sure to check their Facebook page before heading over, since their hours change daily.

The following list of St. Louis’ top 10 outdoor dining destinations is based on customer reviews.  In order to make the list, restaurants had to have at least 50 reviews and a dedicated outdoor dining space.

1. Melo’s Pizzeria (4.87stars/52 reviews) Benton Park, 2438 McNair Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 833-4489.
2. Edibles & Essentials (4.72 stars/89 reviews) Saint Louis Hills, 5815 Hampton Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 328-2300.
3. Hendel’s Restaurant (4.63 stars/386 reviews) Florissant Old Town, 599 Saint Denis Street, Florissant, MO 63031, (314) 837-2304.
4. Lulu’s Local Eatery (4.60 stars/248 reviews) Tower Grove South, 3201 South Grand, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 300-8215.
5. Sauce on the Side (4.54 stars/205 reviews) Downtown, 411 North 8th Street, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 241-5667.
6. Bella Vino Wine Bar & Tapas (4.53 stars/270 reviews) St. Charles, 325 South Main Street, St. Charles, MO 63301, (636) 724-3434.
7. Cleveland-Heath (4.51 stars/626 reviews) Downtown Edwardsville, 106 North Main Street, Edwardsville, IL 62025, (618) 307-4830.
8. Broadway Oyster Bar (4.51 stars/1960 reviews) Downtown, 736 South Broadway, Saint Louis, MO 63102, (314) 621-8811.
9. Russell’s on Macklind (4.48 stars/426 reviews) Southampton, 5400 Murdoch Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 553-9994.
10. Sugarfire Smoke House (4.46 stars/641 reviews) St. Charles, 3150 Elm Point Industrial Drive, Saint Charles, MO 63301, (636) 724-7601.

Honorable Mentions:

Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill (4.40 stars/914 reviews) The Hill, 5226 Shaw Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 772-8898.  Fine dining al fresco.  There is no other fine dining destination that offers this level of culinary excellence and impeccable service, along with a beautiful outdoor dining experience.  Customer reviews give their patio the highest ratings among St. Louis’ fine dining establishments.  When you want the very best Italian cuisine, steak, and seafood, and you want to enjoy St. Louis’ lovely spring weather, this is your dining destination.

Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (4.29 stars/325 reviews) Covenant Blu/Grand Center, 3229 Washington Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 222-0143.  This local brewpub offers light fare, including traditional pretzels, meats and cheeses that pair exceptionally well with its craft beer—and you get it all in a traditional German-style beer garden setting.  One step inside and you can almost hear the oom-pah-pah band!

John D. McGurk’s Irish Pub (4.25 stars/564 reviews) Soulard, 1200 Russell Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 776-8309.  This is one of St. Louis’ most authentic Irish Pubs.  Inside, it’s the dark wood and brick pub one would expect.  Outside there’s a beautifully landscaped garden with a lovely central fountain.  Add authentic Irish food, drink, and live music, and McGurk’s feels worlds away from St. Louis.

Lenten Dining is Fine Dining at Charlie Gitto’s

Lenten Dining is Fine Dining at Charlie Gitto’s

Charlie Gitto’s Offers Lent-Friendly Upscale Pasta & Seafood

St. Louis, MO/March 11, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Everyone loves a great fish fry during Lent, but some Friday nights, you want a more upscale dining experience.  That’s where great Italian fare can really fill the bill.  Well prepared pasta and seafood can make for an unforgettable evening.  If you’re going for a nice dinner out, why settle for plastic forks and paper plates, when St. Louis’ favorite Italian restaurant, Charlie Gitto’s offers so many Lent-friendly pasta and seafood dishes?

Gitto’s has been serving fine Italian food on the Hill for more than 35 years. St. Louis diners love it so much, they’ve named it the best Italian restaurant, best fine dining establishment, and best date night restaurant in multiple publications.  They’re an OpenTable Diner’s Choice winner (2015), and are currently the #1 Italian restaurant in St. Louis based on customer reviews.

The food at Charlie Gitto’s is top tier, but the real secret to Gitto’s success is the attention to detail that’s become the hallmark of all three of his St. Louis restaurants.  Everything they do at Gitto’s is aimed at creating an incredible dining experience.  From the casually elegant decor, to the warm, attentive, personalized service—Gitto’s makes every meal a special event.  The menu is a scrumptious selection of fresh, handmade, delectable options to suit many tastes.

This may be the birthplace of toasted ravioli, but the appetizer menu at Charlie Gitto’s has some great Lent-friendly choices too.  Start with something savory, like Arancini: risotto balls, filled with fresh mozzarella cheese, served with their famous pomodoro and walnut pesto cream sauces.  Or opt for eggplant.  They do it two ways: Parmesano (baked with their famous pomodoro sauce and cheeses); or Napoleon (with layers of breaded eggplant fried, filled with layers of CG’s cheeses, roasted sweet peppers, pesto, pomodoro and Asiago cream).  Or start with a bowl of their velvety lobster bisque.

The seafood, pasta, and pizza options seem endless.  Choose from pastas like Penne Primavera, homemade manicotti, linguini with fresh clams, lobster ravioli, or one their signature dishes like Seafood Pasta Suzanne (fresh homemade tagliatelle noodles with shrimp, scallops, clams, langostino and mussels in a spicy three-pepper cream sauce), or Pappardelle with Fresh Tomatoes (homemade ribbon noodles in a San Marzano tomato sauce).  They have a nice variety of seafood options too, including salmon, tilapia, shrimp scampi, and seafood risotto—all expertly prepared.  Prefer pizza?  They do a terrific brick oven Margherita, a classic CG cheese pizza, and delicious roasted mushroom pizza with fresh spinach, CG’s cheeses and pesto.

Of course Gitto’s professionally-trained sommelier is always available to help diners select wine to perfectly complement their meal.  A wine list with hundreds of selections means there’s something everyone will love.

As the weather warms, enjoy dining al fresco on the gorgeous patio at Charlie Gitto’s original location on the Hill.  Have drinks at the Hollywood Casino patio before your meal, or drop into the Chesterfield location for a quality lunch or dinner.  Whichever location you choose, you don’t have to give up real table linens, china and crystal, or amazing food and service just because it’s Lent.  Indoors or out, on the Hill, at the casino, or in Chesterfield, Charlie Gitto’s offers diners a beautiful meal with family and friends (or that special someone), during Lent and all year long.

Charlie Gitto’s contact information:

Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill
5226 Shaw Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
Phone: (314) 772-8898
Offering Dinner:
Monday through Thursday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Charlie Gitto’s from The Hill
15525 Olive Blvd.
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Phone: (636) 536-2199
Offering Lunch (weekdays) and Dinner:
Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Charlie Gitto’s at Hollywood Casino
777 Casino Center
Maryland Heights, MO 63043
Phone: (314) 770-7663
Offering Dinner:
Monday through Thursday: 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday: 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

After 10 Years, Acero Remains Special Kind of Authentic

Acero, Maplewood, MO

Local Sourcing Makes Acero “Midwestern” Italian

Maplewood, MO/March 2, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – In Italian, the word “acero” means “maple.”  So it’s fitting that an inventive Italian restaurant that helped to establish Maplewood as one of St. Louis’ culinary incubators is called Acero.  This intimate Italian restaurant at 7266 Manchester Road is another success of restaurateur and Chef Jim Fiala.  He opened The Crossing Restaurant (French-Italian, fine dining) in 1998, and Acero in 2007.  While both restaurants focus on bringing locally-sourced ingredients to the table, The Crossing is French-Italian fine dining, where Acero takes an upscale approach to rustic Italian fare.  To create Acero’s unexpected menu of small plates, Fiala tapped Executive Chef Adam Karl Gnau and Chef de Cuisine Eric Gibbs.  Both joined Fiala’s team via his other endeavors: Liluma in the Central West End and The Crossing in Clayton.

Like Fiala’s other restaurants, Acero was also founded on his famous farm-to-table philosophy, but serves it up in the classic Italian style.  That’s a little different than the salad-entree-check format of meals served in many very good St. Louis restaurants.  At Acero, the meal is a developing experience—based on the classic meal structure Italians have cultivated over centuries.  The point of the Italian meal is to savor both the food and company, as the evening unfolds.  As such, the menu at Acero is designed to be enjoyed in courses.  Like Fiala’s original restaurant, The Crossings, Acero offers a chef-selected tasting menu—the 7 course Seasonal Grand Tasting menu—for $75; or for $35 you can select your own four-course tasting menu.  Wine flights are available for each. Since formality takes a back seat to creating a unique and pleasurable meal, diners at Acero are also free to order ala carte—whatever their hearts desire.

Whether choosing a tasting menu or sampling a single item, some of the dishes not to be missed, according to customers and food critics alike, include the Salumi and Formaggi (a selection of cured meat and Italian cheeses), the Gnocco Fritto (a zeppole (beignet) topped with Prosciutto di Parma, sea salt and olive oil), the Crudo (raw seafood of the chef’s choice, prepared with shallot, pea shoots, olive oil, and sea salt), the famous Egg Raviolo (the chef’s daily flavored cheese surrounding a farm fresh egg yolk in pasta), the Tagliatelle (topped with a house made ragu), the Sea Scallops, the Grass-fed Ribeye, and the wine list.  While critics praise the nice selection of exclusively Italian wines, diners appreciated both the wine flights and the ability to order wine by the quartino—about a third of a bottle, an option that makes some very good wines more affordable.  The Acero staff is excellent at suggesting appropriate pairings for any meal.

The restaurant sits in the heart of downtown Maplewood’s dining district, so parking is at a premium.  But diners appreciate the intimate setting and incredible hospitality Acero offers.  The dining room could best be described as upscale chic meets urban rustic. It’s comfortable, inviting, and semi-casual.  The service is top tier, making dining at Acero feel indulgent, no matter what you order or where you sit.  Seating is available at the bar, at tables, and when the weather is nice, on the patio.  In the ten years since it opened, one might expect a few changes at Acero, but the exemplary service, outstanding food, excellent wine, and congenial ambiance have persisted.  Acero is open for dinner Monday – Saturday.  Reservations are accepted beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Contact Information:

Owner: Chef Jim Fiala
7266 Manchester Road
Maplewood, MO 63143
Phone: (314) 644-1790


Picture courtesy of Dress Code Finder

Bad Luck for Giovanni’s on the Hill

Giovanni’s on the Hill

St. Louis Landmark Goes Up In Flames – Giovanni’s on the Hill

ST. LOUIS, MO/January 27, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Giovanni’s on the Hill – There seems to be one piece of bad news after another for what has been a St. Louis landmark for four decades.  Officials are investigating the cause of a fire at the popular Giovanni’s restaurant in the 5200 block of Shaw Avenue on the Hill.

Giovanni’s is one of only six restaurants in the St. Louis area to have a four-diamond rating from the AAA’s national restaurant guide.  Owner, Giovanni Gabriele, has cooked for Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, both George and George W. Bush, and Vice President Al Gore.  In the 70’s his clientele included celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Oprah Winfrey and Paul McCartney.

The one-alarm blaze broke out around 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday before the restaurant had opened.  The building sustained heavy damage to the second floor and the roof.  When the flames broke out there were no customers present however, the restaurant’s owner and seven others were inside at the time.  Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Giovanni’ son, Carmelo Gabriele, told a reporter the business had been upgrading its electric system for weeks and that the fire was discovered after an electrical worker smelled smoke.  According to the St. Louis Fire Department, electricians had been working for more than a week to install new wiring.

Before the fire incident, there had already been a black cloud hovering over the high end restaurant.  Earlier this month a missing #14,000 mink coat made headlines when a Belleville couple took the coat home by mistake.  Then last month, a St. Louis grand jury indicted 75 year old Gabriele for allegedly molesting a female security system representative at the business in July.  Giovanni was charged with first-degree sodomy, second-degree sexual abuse, and third-degree assault.

Although the future seems anything but bright, Gabriele says the goal is to reopen the restaurant in a couple of months following repairs to the water damaged dining room.