Tag - Restaurant Reviews

The Top 10 Mediterranean Restaurants in St. Louis

The Top 10 Mediterranean Restaurants in St. Louis

The Best Hummus, Shawarma, Paella, and Mediterranean Fare in Town – Top 10 Mediterranean Restaurants in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, MO/October 7, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) — Mediterranean cuisine includes the traditional dishes and foods native to all of the lands that border the Mediterranean Sea.  Most westerners are familiar with foods associated with Spain, France, Italy, and Greece.  But Mediterranean fare also includes the flavors and aromas of a dozen other lands like Turkey, Syria, Israel, Libya, and Morocco.  Still there are certain elements that tie all these cuisines together.  The warm climates and close proximity to the sea means Mediterranean food is generally rich in lean proteins, like chicken, fish and legumes, loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, seeds, nuts, and healthy fats like olive oil.  There’s also a noticeably limited use of dairy and red meats, at least by American standards.  We’ve all heard about the studies that show this style of eating is very healthy, but fans of Mediterranean food will also tell you it’s fabulously delicious.

Being a great food city, St. Louis has no shortage of restaurants specializing in Mediterranean fare.  Here you’ll find everything from simple gyro and shawarma vendors to fine dining establishments offering elegant dolmas and delectable paellas.  In order to find the best Mediterranean restaurants in town, we checked the customer reviews across the metro area.  What we found were dozens of terrific restaurants offering some amazing food and ethnic culture for us to gobble up.  The top ten are a unique list of welcoming establishments that offer authentic Mediterranean fare.

Taking the number one slot is Medina Mediterranean Grill, a Palestinian fast-casual fusion restaurant along Washington Avenue’s downtown entertainment district.  Ibrahim Ead opened the casual eatery in 2015, offering sandwiches, salads, fresh hummus and rice bowls that blend the classic flavors of Palestinian fare with new world ingredients (like pesto or chipotle).  Ead’s dishes are approachable and comforting, with a delicious nod to the exotic.  You can get a classic falafel on pita, or a sandwich that blends cultures like the “Summer in Dubai” sandwich.  It’s authentic chicken shawarma on French bread with tomato, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle sauce.  Craving salad?  How about a Caesar salad topped with chicken shawarma?  Medina’s menu is brief and the space is small, but the mix is memorable, and you can finish your meal with a lovely piece of baklava.

St. Louis’ favorite Mediterranean restaurants are bursting with flavor and authentic culinary culture.  These are the top 10 Mediterranean restaurants in St. Louis, according to customer reviews:

1. Medina Mediterranean Grill (4.71 stars/177 reviews) Downtown, 1327 Washington Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 241-1356.
2. Cafe Nova (4.53 stars/136 reviews) Princeton Heights, 5611 South Kingshighway Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 351-7443.
3. The Gyro Company (4.45 stars/229 reviews) Two locations: Oakville, 5496 Baumgartner Road, Saint Louis, MO 63129, (314) 499-4939; and Princeton Heights, 7240 Gravois Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 832-2563.
4. Troy Mediterranean Cuisine (4.42 stars/98 reviews) Valley Park, 19 Stonegate Center, Valley Park, MO 63088, (636) 517-1141.
5. Remy’s Kitchen & Wine Bar (4.42 stars/346 reviews) Clayton, 222 South Bemiston Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63105, (314) 726-5757.
6. Anthonino’s Taverna (4.38 stars/1022 reviews) The Hill, 2225 Macklind Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 773-4455.
7. Al-Tarboush Deli (4.36 stars/124 reviews) The Loop, 602 Westgate Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63130, (314) 725-1944.
8. Kaslik Mediterranean Cuisine (4.34 stars/77 reviews) Hazelwood, 7847 North Lindbergh Blvd, Hazelwood, MO 63042, (314) 972-8282.
9. Tazé Mediterranean Street Food (4.32 stars/209 reviews) Downtown, 626 Washington Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 254-7953.
10. Aya Sofia (4.27 stars/301 reviews) Lindenwood Park, 6671 Chippewa Street, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 645-9919.

St. Louis’ appetite for Mediterranean food continues to grow and new restaurants continue to open to satisfy it.  Some notable establishments are getting high praise from their customers, but haven’t yet garnered enough reviews (minimum 50) to make it onto our top 10 list.  So, to these outstanding restaurants, we offer Honorable Mentions:

Albadia (4.65 stars/37 reviews) St. Peters, 3957 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, Saint Peters, MO 63376, (636) 317-1777.  This gem opened in March 2017, bringing authentic Mediterranean cuisine (Middle Eastern) to the St. Peters and Cottleville area.  Customers especially like their baba ganoush, kibbeh, stuffed grape leaves, and the garlic.

The Palm Trees Restaurant (4.59 stars/34 reviews) Benton Park West, 2837 Cherokee Street, St. Louis, MO 63118, (314) 226-9243.  This place opened late last year offering Saudi Arabian fare, including rich lamb dishes and biryani.  Another unique aspect at The Palm Trees is the choice of dining space.  Downstairs from the American-style dining room, is a traditional Saudi dining space, where customers sit on cushions and eat family-style from plates placed on the floor.

Phoenicia Mediterranean Deli (4.40 stars/48 reviews) Ballwin, 15344 Manchester Road, Ballwin, MO 63011, (314) 764-9222.  This place specializes in Lebanese-inspired cuisine and fresh baked goods.   The menu is loaded with vegetable-forward, healthy dishes.  Diners especially praise the chicken shawarma, spinach and cheese pie, and the fattouch.


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

Katie’s Pizza and Pasta Osteria to Host September Giveback Tuesday Event Benefiting Project, Inc.

Katie's Pizza and Pasta Osteria to Host September Giveback Tuesday Event Benefiting Project, Inc.

ROCK HILL, MO, September 10, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Katie’s Pizza and Pasta Osteria in Rock Hill is proud to announce their upcoming Giveback Tuesday event, which will benefit Project, Inc.  The event is slated for Tues., September 26.

Every month, Katie’s Pizza and Pasta Osteria features a local nonprofit charity and donates 100 percent of the earned proceeds from the entire day to the charity.  Lunch, dinner, drinks, and carryout are all included.  So far, Katie’s Pizza and Pasta Osteria has donated more than $120,000 to local nonprofit organizations.

Funds raised from this Giveback Tuesday event will go toward supporting the charity’s general operating expenses that are incurred as they fulfill their mission of providing dignified long-term employment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Project, Inc. is the oldest of the 89 sheltered workshops in the region and has been serving St. Louis since 1958.  Located near The Hill, Project, Inc.’s entire workforce of 92 adults is comprised of disabled individuals.  These individuals are given meaningful, long-term jobs through custom packaging, assembly work, and quality inspection for local businesses in a positive, fostering, social environment.  Project, Inc. even offers a choir for those who like to sing, and the workers who enjoy drawing have created drawings to use in adult coloring books, along with stationery, gift tags, and holiday cards.

Katie’s Pizza and Pasta Osteria is open every day at 11 a.m. an features Happy Hour specials from 3 to 5 p.m. and 9 to 10 p.m.  Carry-outs are also available.

For more information or to make reservations, please call (314) 942-6555 or visit http://www.katiespizzaandpasta.com.

For more information about Project, Inc., please visit http://www.projectinc.org.


SOURCE – news provided by Katie’s Pizza – distributed by 24-7 Press Release – published on STLRestaurant.News by St. Louis Media, LLC

Popular Belleville Seafood Restaurant Heading West to St. Louis

Popular Belleville Seafood Restaurant Heading West to St. Louis

Seafood by Crushed Velvet Moving from Belleville to Washington Avenue

St. Louis, MO/September 8, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – When Chef Jasmine Brooks opened a seafood restaurant in the heart of Belleville, local seafood lovers rejoiced!  So naturally, many metro-east diners were saddened to learn that Brooks is moving her restaurant, Seafood by Crushed Velvet, to the St. Louis side of the Mississippi.  The restaurant has already closed in preparation of the move. Belleville’s loss is St. Louis’ gain.

Seafood by Crushed Velvet opened at 121 East Main Street in Belleville in mid-May 2016, following a very successful stint as a vendor at Belleville’s Art on the Square.  Brooks had actually rented the storefront on East Main just for the weekend of the fair, but was so well received she kept coming back weekend-after-weekend.  The restaurant quickly gained a following for its fresh steamed crab, shrimp, and lobster tail, served in half and whole platters with corn on the cob, a boiled potato, sausage and a hard-boiled egg—all drizzled with a decadent garlic butter sauce.  Another popular version of her platters adds a spicy kick with a generous sprinkling of Old Vienna Red Hot Riplets Seasoning.  Brooks describes her food as a cross between Florida seafood and New Orleans style.

Over the past year or so, Brooks has been creating sumptuous seafood platters in the tiny kitchen of her restaurant.  Every day, she made fresh crab cakes, gumbo and her signature garlic butter sauce from scratch in a prep area the size of a small home kitchen.  The restaurant struggled with building maintenance issues since opening in the space.  Some of the issues even forced Brooks to close her doors for a few days at a time, or offer only takeout orders.  She cited those facility issues as one of the primary reasons she’s moving to a new location along Washington Avenue.

Brooks made the announcement on Facebook August 31st.  She addressed her message to the customers and neighbors who’ve supported her Belleville endeavor:

“I’d like to take the time to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support in making Crushed Velvet a success over the past year and a half.  I’m sad to announce that our Belleville location will be closing due to the building not being very accommodating for our setup.”

Brooks hasn’t given a specific address on Washington Avenue for the location of the new Seafood by Crushed Velvet, but she has indicated the new restaurant will have a larger kitchen, allowing her to expand the menu, and it will also feature a full bar.  The Belleville location didn’t have a liquor license. Brooks said she anticipates opening the new restaurant in October.  In the meantime, she plans to continue catering and will also do some pop up dinners on both sides of the river.

Brooks isn’t leaving Belleville entirely. She co-owns Scoops Ice Cream at 8205 West Main Street in Belleville (with business partner, Rayneshia Garrett) which opened earlier this summer offering a unique take on ice cream sundaes and milkshakes with mix ins and toppings from the cereal aisle.

In announcing Crushed Velvet’s move, Brooks also took the opportunity to thank those who supported her restaurant and to hint that she may be back.  “I’d like to say a special thanks you (sic) to the city of Belleville and it’s residents for being so welcoming to us.,” she wrote.  “We look forward to returning home to Belleville in the near future.”  For now, metro east seafood lovers will have to watch the Seafood by Crushed Velvet Facebook page for pop up dinner announcements, and plan to drive into St. Louis for that signature Crushed Velvet seafood platter come October.


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

St. Louis Area Restaurants Among 40 Joe’s Crab Shack Closings

St. Louis Area Restaurants Among 40 Joe’s Crab Shack Closings

Shuttered Restaurants Tied to Joe’s Crab Shack’s Likely Return to Original Parent Company

St. Louis, MO/August 19, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) — If you had plans to have lunch or dinner with friends or family at Joe’s Crab Shack in Fairview Heights or St. Peters, you’ll need to make other plans.  If you’ve been saving that Joe’s Crab Shack gift card you found in your stocking last Christmas for a special occasion, then you’ve probably waited too long.  The family seafood favorite at 51 Ludwig Drive in Fairview Heights, Illinois abruptly closed over the weekend.  The Joe’s Crab Shack at 5856 Suemandy Drive in St. Peters was similarly shuttered.  It’s unclear if employees were notified prior to the closing.  Illinois staff members received their final paychecks Tuesday, according to a report in the Belleville News-Democrat.

An email sent to employees Monday and obtained by the BND blamed parent company Ignite Restaurant Group’s June bankruptcy filing and impending sale for the permanent closure of the St. Louis area restaurants.  The company has closed more than 40 Joe’s Crab Shack locations across the country, including all three Illinois locations (Fairview Heights, Gurnee, and Schaumberg), and two in Missouri (St. Peters and Independence).  According to the restaurant’s website, the only remaining Joe’s Crab Shack in Missouri is the Branson location at 717 Branson Landing.  Otherwise, local Crab Shack fans will have to drive to Memphis, Nashville, or Louisville, KY for their favorite steampot.

The closures follow a June 6th announcement that a tentative deal was in place for the sale of Joe’s Crab Shack and a sister brand, Brick House Tavern + Tap, to the San Diego-based private equity firm Kelly Companies.  The announcement also stated that “Pursuant to Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code” Ignite would also file a motion to allow other companies to submit bids for its holdings through a Court-supervised process to purchase the assets being sold.  The original parent company of Joe’s Crab Shack, Landry’s Inc. (Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Morton’s The Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s, etc.) won the bankruptcy auction last week to acquire Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap for $57 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.  A final hearing on the sale is scheduled for this week, but it is expected to be approved.

The restaurant shutdowns are counter to statements made by Ignite Restaurant Group in announcing its bankruptcy sale.  That announcement had indicated there would be no closings as a result of the company’s Chapter 11 filings and impending sale.  It read in part, “Both Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap restaurants will remain open and operating as usual and Ignite customers can expect to continue to enjoy the same great food and service that they have come to expect from our brands.”  Clearly the plans have changed since Landry’s won their bid.

In an interview after last week’s bidding win, Landry’s founder Tilman Fertitta told National Restaurant News that Landry’s plans call for shrinking the Joe’s Crab Shack concept “considerably” and to sell off the Brick House casual-dining brand.  Fertitta had originally bought Joe’s Crab Shack in 1994, when it had one restaurant, and sold the brand to private-equity firm J.H Whitney & Co. in 2006, which went public in 2009, changing its name to Ignite Restaurant Group.

According to the website Consumerist.com, the company began closing restaurants without warning on August 7th, with some employees reporting that they showed up for work and were turned away.  In April 2017, the Joe’s Crab Shack website had listed 112 locations nationwide.  As of this writing, there are just 72—reflecting these recent closures.  It is unclear what will become of the shuttered St. Louis area locations.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Offers North Carolinians a Delicious and Convenient Barbecue Option

Dickey's Barbecue Pit Offers North Carolinians a Delicious and Convenient Barbecue Option

Dickey’s will begin serving the residents of Cary, NC in Fall 2017

CARY, NC/August 17, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Dickey’s Barbecue Pit plans to open their newest North Carolina location this Fall in Cary, NC behind the lead of new Owner/Operator, William DeArmey. A long-time North Carolina resident and former Dickey’s Barbecue Pit employee, DeArmey and his family are looking forward to bringing a delicious barbecue option to their community.

“At Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, we pride ourselves on serving authentic, Texas-style barbecue to our community with a side of southern hospitality,” says Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. “We love that in an area that has many amazing barbecue options, Dickey’s is still a fan favorite and is being provided to the community by first-class Owner/Operators like William DeArmey.”

After working at a local Dickey’s Barbecue Pit location for a short six months, DeArmey decided it was time to open a location of his own. “North Carolina has delicious barbecue options everywhere, but Dickey’s has the best barbecue sandwich, hands down,” says DeArmey. “When it came down to if I should open my own Dickey’s location it was easy; I love the food and I love the brand.”

To find the location nearest you, click here. Find Dickey’s on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc.

Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., the nation’s largest barbecue chain was founded in 1941 by Travis Dickey. Today, all meats are still slow smoked on-site in each restaurant. The Dallas-based family-run barbecue franchise offers several slow-smoked meats and home style sides with ‘No B.S. (Bad Stuff)’ included. The fast-casual concept has expanded to nearly 600 locations in 44 states. In 2016, Dickey’s won first place on Fast Casual’s “Top 100 Movers and Shakers” list and in 2017 again won a top 10 on the list. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has also been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine, Franchise Times, and Nation’s Restaurant News. For more information, visit www.dickeys.com.


Source: news provided by Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants – distributed by PR Newswire – published on STLRestaurant.News by St. Louis Media, LLC


STLRestaurant.News notes: There are four Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants located across Missouri, but only one in the St. Louis area located at 1912 S. Brentwood Blvd., Brentwood, MO 63144.

The Writing is on the Wall: The Shack Breakfast & Lunch is a hit!

The Writing is on the Wall: The Shack Breakfast & Lunch is a hit!

The Shack in Frontenac, MO – Breakfast & Lunch

FRONTENAC, MO/August 19, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) The Shack in Frontenac dazzles the pallet with intriguing dishes spiced with humor.  Plan on arriving a little early and before the stomach growling so you can enjoy scanning the menu where you’ll find amusing names such as the Witness Protection™omelet (avocado, mozzarella & tomato); the Gringo Killer™ Skillet (chorizo, onion, bell peppers, green chili salsa & Shack cheese); or the If Tim & Biebs Went to Prison Skillet (fried chicken breast on a biscuit smothered in gravy, sharp cheddar cheese & green onions) and Plates such as Ma…The Meatloaf (bacon-wrapped meatloaf stuffed with onions & peppers served over crispy hash browns & topped with homemade gravy and two sunny side eggs), or the Love Me Now Hate Me Later™ (breakfast burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs, tater tots, crushed Fritos & cheddar cheese nestled on a bed of chili smothered with Shack cheese and topped with green onion); or the Why The French Hate Us™ (Toasted Croissant stuffed with two sausage links, scrambled eggs, covered in Shack gravy and cheddar cheese); or the Do It Yourself Meg Ryan; or the Up The River Without a Paddle (Smoked salmon, thick cut bacon, lettuce, tomato & peppercorn aioli on a brioche bun); or the Cease & Desist (1/4 seared double stack burger, shredded lettuce, peppercorn aioli, bacon jam, white cheddar, tomato and red onion); or the Ta-Ta Tacos* (beer-battered panko-breaded tilapia, cabbage, salsa fresca, queso blanco, and avocado spread; and many more. * – Note: For each taco order sold, one dollar is donated to the TaTa Sisterhood organization, which provides financial and motivational support for women battling triple negative breast cancer.

There’s plenty of sweet love at the Shack Griddle with a variety of Belgian Waffles, Pancakes such as The King Lives (chocolate chips, bacon, banana & peanut butter drizzle); and French Toast Brioche such as the Merica (strawberries, blueberries, marscapoe honey glaze topped with whipped cream and powered sugar).

If you like your sandwiches hard pressed, you might enjoy a Panini, which they have several such as the Rubin, or Turkey Foccaia, and the Wicked Good Turkey to name a few.  Sides include Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Pot Tots, Fries, Homemade Chips, and more.

The Shack salads are huge and big enough for sharing.  Among their savory dressings, their white balsamic vinaigrette stands out and is absolutely fabulous.  For those sustaining healthier habits there are options such as egg white omelets, skillets, Avocado Focaccia, Granola & Fruit Parfaits, Fresh Fruit and more.

The Shack also specializes in Gluten Free cuisine with dedicated skillets and fryers when preparing all gluten free meals. The GF Menu includes omelets, skillets, pancakes (YES pancakes), chicken Strips & Buffalo chicken (breaded in-house with wheat free flour); a variety of Sammies served on gluten-free buns such as the S.O.B (chicken, bacon, tomato, jalapenos, avocado spread and pepper jack cheese), a Philly, and the Caprese to name a few. And don’t forget the yummy smoothies (which are non-fat and gluten free) such as “UR My Boy Blue (blueberry), Billy Bob’s Straw (strawberry) and Gone ‘Biebs” (banana).

As you’ll note during your visit, The Shack’s witty theme is tied into every aspect of the dining experience. The hipster barn vibe with re-purposed wood throughout, most of which are sharpie decorated with colorful autographs by happy patrons enhances the fun mood for enjoying breakfast or lunch with family, friends, colleagues, a date or perhaps a morning cocktail with a quick bite at the bar. Will that be a mimosa with your breakfast? Or how about one of these clever concoctions: Good Mooning (Blue moon, Amsterdam Peach, St. Germain, cranberry & orange juice) or a Meaty Mary (Zing Zang Tomato juice, Cucumber Vodka, Shack-seasoned rim bacon, cheese, that comes with a Beef Jerky Straw), or perhaps one of the Shack’s Cereal Killer Boozie Shakes such as: I Do What I Want (Coco puffs, Yogurt, Bailey’s & Frangelico), or Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That (Yogurt, Loopy Vodka, Froot Loops, strawberries & blueberries), and others to kick up the party.

The Shack is managed by the OG Hospitality Group (which also manages The Corner Pub and Grill, and the award wining 2011 Restaurant of the year, The Tavern Kitchen and Bar)

The Shack additional locations are in Valley Park and Chesterfield.

The Shack – Frontenac:
731 S. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63131
Phone: (314) 736-5900

Breakfast: (7 days) 6:30am – 2pm
Lunch: (Mon-Sat) 11am – 2pm

The Shack – Valley Park:
13645 Big Bend Rd. Ste.105
St. Louis, MO 63122
(636) 529-1600

Breakfast: (7 days) 7am – 2pm
Lunch: (Mon-Fri) 11am – 2pm

The Shack – Chesterfield:
14810 Clayton Rd.
Chesterfield, MO 63017
(636) 220-9367

Breakfast: (7 days) 6:30am – 2pm
Lunch: (Mon-Sat) 11am – 2pm


The Top 10 Iced Coffee Spots in St. Louis

The Top 10 Iced Coffee Spots in St. Louis

Where to Beat St. Louis Heat with Chilled Java – Top 10 Iced Coffee Spots in St. Louis

St. Louis, MO/August 12, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – When I first tried iced coffee, I’ll admit that I was skeptical.  The dark, rich mug of black coffee I had been drinking since high school was perfect just they way it was.  It was reliably delicious and invigorating, fortifying me for the day ahead and the perfect afternoon pick-me-up—except when it’s really hot out, like July or August in St. Louis.  How would I get an afternoon caffeine hit that’s cold and effective?  Enter iced coffee.  Whether cold brewed with a splash of milk, double-strong hot brewed over ice, or a creamy, espresso-based frappe, a chilled cuppa joe is the perfect warm weather refresher.

This summer has been a warm one in St. Louis and many of us have reached for an iced coffee for relief.  This cold elixir has become so popular in recent years, it’s available in every coffee shop, many restaurants—including fast food joints, and even bottled on grocery store shelves.  So who makes the best iced coffee in St. Louis?  We turned to customer reviews to find out where to go for the best iced coffee in town.  Topping the list is Coma Coffee Roasters in Richmond Heights.  The cafe inside the University Club Tower opened just about a year ago (August 2016). In a relatively short time, this office-building coffee shop has drawn in caffeine-craving customers who rave about all of the coffee and espresso drinks, but most especially, their cold brews.  Coma Coffee is serious about cold brew and they’re out to prove it’s top tier.  They took second place in this year’s Cold Brew Competition at Coffee Fest Chicago.  This is seriously good iced coffee.

Everyplace on our Top 10 Iced Coffee list offers a selection tasty, frosty, delicious iced coffee drinks in a unique environment.  No wonder customers love them! Just in time to help you breeze through the dog days of summer, here are St. Louis’ Top 10 Iced Coffee Makers:

1. Coma Coffee Roasters (4.70 stars/56 reviews) Richmond Heights, 1034 South Brentwood Blvd, Richmond Heights, MO 63117, (314) 250-1042.
2. Comet Coffee & Microbakery (4.65 stars/259 reviews) Cheltenham, 5708 Oakland Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 932-7770.
3. Kitchen House Coffee (4.63 stars/60 reviews) Compton Heights, 3149 Shenandoah Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 732-0009.
4. Gelato Di Riso (4.60 stars/153 reviews) The Hill, 5204 Wilson Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 664-8488.
5. Washington Avenue Post (4.55 stars/65 reviews) Downtown, 1312 Washington Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 588-0545.
6. Union Loafers Cafe and Bread Bakery (4.55 stars/174 reviews) McRee Town, 1629 Tower Grove Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 833-6111.
7. Park Avenue Coffee – The Hill (4.52 stars/130 reviews) Southwest Garden, 5105 Columbia Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63139, (314) 717-1900.
8. Pint Size Bakery & Coffee (4.52 stars/176 reviews) Lindenwood Park, 3133 Watson Road, Saint Louis, MO 63139, (314) 645-7142.
9. 2Schae Cafe (4.41 stars/193 reviews) DeBaliviere Place, 275 Union Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 361-5333.
10. RISE Coffee House (4.41 stars/149 reviews) Forest Park Southeast, 4180 Manchester Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 405-8171.

Some of St. Louis’ newer establishments are quickly becoming favorites.  These spots each offer a unique environment in which to sip really excellent iced coffee.  Their high marks translate into enthusiastic recommendations from customers, but they don’t yet have enough reviews (minimum 50) to make the top 10 list.  So, to these iced coffee purveyors, we offer Honorable mentions:

La Cosecha Coffee Roasters (4.57 stars/28 reviews) Maplewood, 7360 Manchester Road, Maplewood, MO 63143, (314) 440-0337. One of Maplewood’s many synergistic businesses, La Cosecha shares space with Great Harvest Bread Co.  They offer their own roasted Fair Trade beans, and beverages made with them.  Their Flash Brewed iced coffee is rich, yet well balanced, making it the perfect summertime pick-me-up.
Cursed Bikes & Coffee (4.65 stars/17 reviews) University City, 7401 Pershing Ave, University City, MO 63130, (314) 601-3136.  This full-service bike and coffee shop opened in May.  The little coffee bar offers big flavor using locally roasted Dubuque Coffee beans.  Bike over for a caramel frappe or one of their exquisite cold brews.
Comet Croissanterie and Creamery (4.55 stars/22 reviews) Kirkwood, 640 West Woodbine Ave, Kirkwood, MO 63122, (314) 394-1033.  This is Comet Coffee’s morning-operated bakery, specializing in croissants and espresso-based drinks—all of which can be made iced.  A fresh croissant and iced cappuccino with a shot of their homemade Tahitian vanilla syrup is a great way to start a summer day.

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.

Frankly Sausages Going Brick-and-Mortar

Frankly Sausages Going Brick-and-Mortar

Cherokee Street Restaurant in the Works for Frankly Sausages

St. Louis, MO/July 23, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – There are some really great food trucks dishing out amazing food around town. One of the best is the chef-driven Frankly (Artisan) Sausages.  Chef Bill Cawthon and wife Jamie Cawthon have been feeding us from their commissary truck for nearly two years.  Now, they’re ready for the next step—the Cawthon’s are opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Cherokee Street.  On the Frankly Sausages Facebook page they wrote:

“Cat is officially out of the bag…

It has been an incredible year and a half introducing Bill’s food to the community through our food truck.  We have spent a lot of time considering where the best, permanent home for Frankly Sausages would be.  We are thrilled to be joining a thriving community of business owners and neighbors on Cherokee St. and look forward to bringing something unique to the table.
We have much more to share in the coming weeks but first wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who has enjoyed our food.  You are the fuel to the fire to keep us growing, expanding and bringing you more.  Thank you for your support, thank you for your critiques, thank you for keeping us so busy that we outgrew our commissary.  Looking forward to serving you on Cherokee Street soon.”

They haven’t given an exact address, but have said they hope to open this fall. St. Louis’ Local Development Co. approved a loan for the project last week.  The Cawthons have begun teasing the new restaurant site on Facebook, even posting picture of the inside with the comment, “The new Frankly Sausages restaurant is looking #whitebox #longwaytogo #comingsoon.”

Frankly Sausages serves made-from-scratch sausages and what may be the best food truck fries anywhere.  These are chef-created, hand-made, artisan sausages.  All of the meats are antibiotic free, hormone free and humanely raised, featuring local products whenever the best is available.  All their pork is sourced locally.  They source produce from area farmers and even grow a lot of their own produce.  But then Chef Bill has a background in fine dining, having served as chef de cuisine at Gerard Craft’s Pastaria, and at Cardwell’s.  High quality ingredients are key to his approach to sausage making.  And it shows.  If you’ve never had fresh, premium sausages, you are missing out.  Seriously.  Each style of sausage is made up of unique ingredients.  There are familiar offerings like beer brats and all-beef hot dogs, along with a rotating menu of specials varieties using ingredients like lamb, alligator, wild boar, and local rabbit or duck.  Unlike a lot of other sandwich purveyors, the fries at Frankly Sausage are not an afterthought.  These are hand cut, brined overnight, fried at a low temperature for creaminess, then fried again on the truck, making them perfectly crispy.

The new Frankly Sausages restaurant on Cherokee Street will expand on the simple, straightforward food truck menu.  We anticipate more special menu items and sides that go beyond the truck’s legendary fries.  We don’t yet know where along Cherokee Street the new place will be, how far Chef Bill’s new menu will push the culinary sausage envelope, or when exactly it will open this fall, but we, and other Frankly Sausages fans are excited, nonetheless.  In the meantime, you can find out where the Frankly Sausages food truck will be by checking the schedule on their website: http://franklysausages.com/.

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