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James Beard Nominee to Create Grab & Go Breakfast/Lunch Café

James Beard Nominee to Create Grab & Go Breakfast/Lunch Café

Rob Connoley’s Squatter’s Café Coming to Grand Center

St. Louis, MO/October 7, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – What does a James Beard Foundation nominated chef do to fill his time while working on plans for his foraged-food based dinner restaurant?  If he’s acclaimed Chef Rob Connoley, he opens a grab-and-go breakfast and lunch joint in Grand Center.  Connoley announced his plans for Squatters Café in a press release this week.  The café will be located in the footprint of the shuttered Magnolia Café inside the KDHX building (3524 Washington Ave, St. Louis).

Connoley’s new counter-service restaurant will offer “familiar breakfast and lunch items that only use exceptional ingredients.”  The chef says anything they can make themselves will be made onsite.  “We’re all geared up to mill our own grains,” Connoley said.  “Expect unforgettable yogurt bowls, seasonal meaty grits plates and amazing baked goods,” he added.  Squatters Café should open in the first week of November.

The scratch-prepped café menu shouldn’t surprise anyone, given Connoley’s background.  He could be called the American authority on foraged food.  The Bridgeton native made a name for himself in New Mexico with his restaurant the Curious Kumquat.  There he integrated unfamiliar foraged foods with quality locally-grown produce in a modern context.  Connoley says he began foraging out of necessity.  Since he was cooking in a rather remote community, he says he didn’t have access to local farmers and suppliers for seasonal ingredients.  Being in New Mexico, he didn’t follow the foraging trends of Danish superstar Chef René Redzepi, but instead looked to the native Apache culture to learn about foraging.  For his effort, Connoley received a James Beard Foundation Best Chef nomination in 2014.  His cookbook, Acorns and Cattails: A Modern Foraging Cookbook of Forest, Farm and Field, was published in 2016.

After 30-years away, the acclaimed chef says he came home last year so he can be closer to his family.  Since returning, he’s been presenting a series of pop-up dinners.  Earlier this year Connoley had announced plans to open a new restaurant in St. Louis called Bulrush.  The chef has said he envisions Bulrush as a small-venue restaurant, most likely a ticketed affair, where he can showcase his foraged cuisine, drawing on ingredients available in the St. Louis area—allowing him to flex his culinary muscle and expand his repertoire.  He says he is still formulating plans for Bulrush, and hopes to open it sometime next year.  Connoley says this new venture is in addition to those plans.

In the meantime, you can catch up with Chef Rob Connoley later this month at EarthDance’s 10th Annual Farmers Formal at Union Station October 13th.  The event brings together top local chefs and their favorite farmers to create exquisite food and features local libations, live entertainment, as well as silent and live auctions.  Ticket prices for individuals and groups of 10 range from $150 – $521 each.  All proceeds will benefit EarthDance, St. Louis’ own nationally recognized Organic Farm School.

Event Information:

Farmers Formal 2017
Friday, October 13, 2017
St. Louis Union Station
1820 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103


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

Gelato Di Riso is the Classic Italian Treat

Gelato Di Riso is the Classic Italian Treat

Italian Decadence on the Hill at Gelato Di Riso

St. Louis, MO/June 17, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Many people think of gelato as just the Italian word for ice cream, when it’s actually Italian-style ice cream.  The difference is significant.  American-style ice cream is made with heavy cream, a little whole milk, sugar, eggs, and flavorings like vanilla or strawberries.  It’s then churned during the freezing process to aerate it and prevent large ice crystals from forming.  American-style ice cream is delicious, yes, but it’s not gelato.  This Italian-style confection is made with a lot less cream, yet it’s more silky than ice cream.  That’s because it’s churned at a much slower rate, which still prevents ice crystals, but adds less air, so the gelato is denser and richer than ice cream.  It’s traditionally stored and served at a slightly warmer temperature too, meaning the flavors shine through.  Some of the very best gelato in St. Louis can be found at Gelato Di Riso, 5204 Wilson Ave. in the city’s historically Italian Hill neighborhood.

Gelato Di Riso is a charming gelateria offering classic Italian gelato, coffee drinks, and other sweet treats.  The gelato is made fresh daily right on the premises, and there are dozens to choose from.  There are dolce gelatos, which are made with milk, instead of high-fat cream, for a guiltless, ultra-creamy indulgence.  The dolce flavors range from simple chocolate and strawberry to classic Italian pistachio and stracciatella (chocolate chip), and modern twists like salted caramel and chili chocolate.  The water-based frutta gelatos are made with real fruit and come in luscious flavors like blackberry, peach, and green apple, plus seasonal specialties like strawberry chip watermelon.  They’re so creamy, it’s hard to tell there’s no milk in them!

This is seriously good stuff. Gelato Di Riso is one of St. Louis’ favorite stops for a cold, creamy treat.  Last July, they were #8 on our Top 10 Dessert Spots list, and earlier this month (June 4), they ranked 5th on our customer review-based Top 10 Ice Cream Shops in St. Louis.  With a 4.60 rating and 140 reviews, they were the top ranking gelateria in the St. Louis area!  Local restaurant critics have long sung their praises, and they’re not alone.  In a travel article about St. Louis published last summer, The Tennessean recommended Gelato Di Riso for a delicious treat the whole family will love.

Gelato Di Riso offers their frozen confections in sizes ranging from piccolo (a double scoop of 1-2 flavors) to grande (a double-double scoop with 1-4 flavors).  You can also get a shake in your favorite gelato flavor, as well as classic root beer floats and Italian sodas.  Or try a classic Italian dessert by ordering an affogato.  It’s a scoop of their creamy gelato “drowned” with a shot of espresso—è delizioso!  Since the shop is open early, it’s a great place to stop for a coffee and pastry too.  Indulge in a cinnamon roll or buttery scone (cinnamon, cheddar, cranberry-walnut) and an iced coffee or chai tea latte.  Be sure to pick up some authentic cannolis, biscotti, or fudge brownies to go.

You don’t necessarily have to visit Gelato Di Riso to enjoy their rich, creamy gelato.  You’ll find the Gelato Di Riso cart at fairs and festivals all over St. Louis.  It’s also at the Taubman Prestige Outlets’ Courtyard Eats & Treats every weekend this summer.  Gelato Di Riso is also available at several local restaurants, including Concetta’s Italian Restaurant (St. Charles), Napoli 2 (Town and Country), The Zodiac at Neiman Marcus (Frontenac) and Winslow’s Home (University City), along with several restaurants on the Hill. It’s also a great movie night treat offered at Landmark Theatres at Plaza Frontenac and the Tivoli Landmark Theatre in The Loop. Quarts and Pints can be found at the following local retail stores: Global Foods and Hanneke’s Westwood Grocery (Kirkwood), Ladue Market (Ladue), Local Harvest (Tower Grove South), Sweetheart Chocolates (Farmington), and Viviano’s Festa Italiano (Chesterfield and Fenton).  The Gelato Di Riso cart is available for special event (corporate or school picnic, wedding, bar- or bat- mitzvah, etc,) too.

Gelato Di Riso shuts down for two months each winter, January and February.  The rest of the year they are open daily: Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.  With 20+ fresh flavors available inside the Gelato Di Riso shop on the Hill daily, every day is a great day to indulge in this classic Italian treat.

Contact Information:

Gelato Di Riso
Owner: Larry Fuse
5204 Wilson Avenue
The Hill
St. Louis, MO 63110
Phone: (314) 664-8488

Long John Silver’s Has Sweet Summer Treat for St. Louis

Long John Silver’s Has Sweet Summer Treat for St. Louis

St. Louis Gets First Taste of Long John Silver’s Fried Twinkie – a Sweet Summer Treat

St. Louis, MO/June 15, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Sweet Summer Treat – Just when you thought summer couldn’t get any sweeter, St. Louis is getting a special treat at local Long John Silver’s restaurants—Deep Fried Twinkies!  Last spring, as part of a test marketing trial period, Long John Silver’s introduced America’s favorite yellow sponge cake in its best form, lightly battered and deep fried!  Only two cities were selected as test markets, and ours was one of them!

Right now, Deep Fried Twinkies are on a limited run.  The golden, fried cakes are available for 99 cents at select Long John Silver’s restaurants in St. Louis and Pittsburgh until July 23rd.  The tasty morsels are also the included dessert with the new Fisherman’s Feast meal, again only until July 23.  Long John Silver’s Vice President of Brand Marketing Katie Rooprai calls the new dessert offering a terrific addition to Long John Silver’s “crave-able” menu.  “We know from decades of experience that people crave our food.  They will pass several other restaurants to satisfy their Long John Silver’s craving,” she said.  “We think the Deep Fried Twinkie will be the perfect sweet ending for those making the trip.”

Never had a Deep Fried Twinkie?  Curious diners in St. Louis will get the chance to sample these golden treats.  On June 21, all guests at select Long John Silver’s will receive a free Deep Fried Twinkie.  According to Long John Silver’s, there will be a one-Twinkie-per-guest limit, but no other purchases are required to receive the free treat.  The seafood chain expects to launch Deep Fried Twinkies to customers nationwide in the coming months.

Founded in 1969, Long John Silver’s began in Lexington, Kentucky after founder Jim Patterson took a trip to the New England coast, experienced the unique battered, fried fish filets he found in Cape Cod.  Patterson was inspired to share it with his Kentucky neighbors by opening a restaurant.  Now, Long John Silver’s is the largest quick-service seafood chain in the country, with nearly 1,000 franchised and company-owned restaurants nationwide, and nine in the St. Louis area.

The Best Cocktails in St. Louis – Top 10 Cocktail Bars and Lounges

The Best Cocktails in St. Louis - Top 10 Cocktail Bars and Lounges

St. Louis’ Top 10 Cocktail Bars and Lounges

St. Louis, MO/June 11, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Top 10 Cocktail Bars – We write a lot about food and the great St. Louis area restaurants that feed our adventurous appetites.  But sometimes, you just want something to drink.  And when you thirst for adventure in our fair city, a myriad of libations await.  St. Louis has a rich and varied beverage culture—everything from craft breweries and wine bars to corner taverns and craft cocktail lounges.  It’s the latter that concerns us here.  Sure, we love an artisan brew as much as the next person, and our appreciation for a well curated wine list is boundless.  But sometimes, you want to wet your whistle with something intoxicating and delectable, and that’s where cocktails come in.  These clever combinations of booze, juices, syrups, muddled fruits and herbs, and other flavorings satisfy both our thirst, and our sense of adventure.

Parched St. Louisans can find relief at literally thousands of local bars, taverns, restaurants, and lounges.  Whether you prefer a dry martini, an old fashioned Old Fashion, a fruity and frozen cocktail, or something more akin to boozy ice cream, there’s a bartender creating the cocktail of your dreams.  So, finding the top 10 was a daunting task.  We scoured the customer reviews to find the mixologists who make St. Louis’ favorite cocktails.  And what we found was an eclectic list of bars, pubs, lounges, and restaurants offering some truly clever cocktails.

Topping our list is a unique concept cocktail bar, Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice in the Central West End.  This is a slushy bar, strictly for grown-ups. Narwhal’s opened in October 2016 inside the historic Gerhart Building at Laclede and Vandeventer Aves, near St. Louis University.  The bar is a nautically themed, attractive space with driftwood walls, beachy accessories, a glittery bar, and lots of sea blue accents.  The drinks are pulled from slushy machines, but these are not the artificially flavored, sugary treats of youth.  They’re seriously delicious, frozen alcoholic beverages flavored with hand-crafted infusions and purees made from scratch in-house.  Some customer favorites include the Apple Mint Julep, made with Kentucky bourbon, Angry Orchard hard apple cider, lime, and mint simple syrup; the Chocolate Mudslide, made with Vodka, Kahlua, homemade five-ingredient ice cream, and chocolate; and the Negroni—Narwhal’s take on the classic Italian cocktail, made with Campari, sweet vermouth, gin, orange juice, lemon, and simple syrup.  The frozen cocktails at Narwhal’s are delicious, and perfect for a warm summer evening, and these unique concoctions are St. Louis’ favorite cocktails, according to customer reviews.

The cocktail makers on the top 10 list represent a nice cross section of what the city’s bars, lounges, pubs, and restaurants have to offer.  There are straight up cocktail bars, elite dining clubs, elegant lounges, and even a vegetarian restaurant known for hand-crafted food and beverages.  So, without further ado, here are the top 10 cocktail bars in St. Louis:

  1. Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice (4.71 stars/62 reviews) Central West End, 3906 Laclede Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 696-8388.
  2. Taste Bar (4.50 stars/464 reviews) Central West End, 4584 Laclede Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 361-1200.
  3. The Fountain On Locust (4.48 stars/1131 reviews) Midtown, 3037 Locust Street, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 535-7800.
  4. Blood & Sand (4.46 stars/236 reviews) Downtown, 1500 St Charles Street, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 241-7263.
  5. Twisted Tree Steakhouse (4.46 stars/104 reviews) 10701 Watson Road, Saint Louis, MO 63127, (314) 394-3366.
  6. Bossanova Restaurant and Lounge (4.40 stars/105 reviews) Riverbend, 112 West 3rd Street, Alton, IL 62002, (618) 462-1175.
  7. Thaxton Speakeasy (4.39 stars/109 reviews) Downtown, 1009 Olive Street, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 241-3279.
  8. Retreat Gastropub (4.35 stars/330 reviews) Central West End, 2 North Sarah Street, Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 261-4497.
  9. The Preston (4.32 stars/103 reviews) Central West End, 212 North Kingshighway Blvd., Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 633-7800.
  10. Tree House Vegetarian Restaurant (4.29 stars/261 reviews) Tower Grove South, 3177 South Grand Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 696-2100.

With thousands of cocktail bars to choose from, there was just no way to include everyone worth noting on the list.  We could have put the top 20 on the list and still left dozens of great mixologists out.  And with the requirement that everyone on the list have at least 50 reviews, that leaves a lot of really great, newer, smaller, or more out of the way spots off the list as well.  With that in mind, we offer honorable mentions to a few lesser known locations mixing up some killer cocktails.  Honorable mentions go to:

Polite Society (4.54 stars/37 reviews) Lafayette Square, 1923 Park Ave., St Louis, MO 63104, (314) 325-2553.  This contemporary, sophisticated bar and restaurant opened in 2016 and it’s anything but stuffy.  The bar program includes a great wine-by-the-glass selection, plus several signature cocktails, including a refreshing Hibiscus Daiquiri.

Propaganda (4.74 stars/47 reviews) Benton Park West, Gravois Park, 2732 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 769-9696.  This Soviet-inspired nostalgia bar opened last June.  It’s red walls and art reminiscent of “Mother Russia” create a unique atmosphere.  The menu is loaded with delicious vodka cocktails.

The Whiskey Ring (4.47 stars/43 reviews) Benton Park West, Gravois Park, 2651 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 669-5817.  Another Cherokee Street gem, The Whiskey Ring offers a neighborhood bar feel, with a terrific cocktail menu.  They offer more than 50 bourbons, ryes, scotch and malt whiskeys, as well as an array of cocktails including some prohibition era libations.

The Premium Juice Bar is Sips in Clayton

The Premium Juice Bar is Sips in Clayton

Making It Fresh, Natural & Nutritious – Juice Bar – Sips in Clayton

Clayton, MO/June 6, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Juice Bar – January was the month when most of us tried to get our daily diet and exercise routines back on track.  Even if you were not a resolution-maker, you may still be looking for healthier offerings after months of rich and sometime decadent holiday eating.  That’s where Sips Cafe at 7818 Forsyth Blvd in the heart of Clayton can help.  Sips is a premium juice bar, so everything is fresh, everything is good for you (and the planet), and everything is vegetarian.  Sips owner Sharon Hall is focused on satisfying your juice, smoothie and coffee needs.

Sips only offers 100-percent cold pressed, slow juice.  This method of juicing retains more nutrients because fruits and vegetables aren’t shredded with blades, which exposes the produce to air and heat which speeds up oxidation—meaning nutrients are lost in the process.  Cold pressing also yields more juice from the produce than with a traditional centrifugal juicer.  Because of this, pressed juices have more fiber and even a little protein, meaning you get a bigger health boost in every glass.

Sips offers a variety of flavor and nutritional combinations, depending on what you want and need.  Each begins with a cucumber base, with the add-ins defining them.  The King of Greens is the top seller.  It’s a delicious blend of kale, green apple, celery, cilantro and lime, and it’s crazy healthy!  The “Can’t Beet It” mixes tangy pineapple and with antioxidant rich beets.  The Zinger combines green apple, ginger, and lime for a refreshing and zippy drink.  And the Clayton Carrot takes the orange vegetable to new flavor heights with the help of green apple and ginger.  Sharon is happy to create a custom blend for you.  And she can help you customize a personal detox regimen, creating the cleansing juices you’ll need.

For those of us who just can’t live without a cuppa Joe, this Clayton café offers a cup we can feel good about.  All of their coffees are locally roasted and Sips offers only original fair trade espressos drinks and pour overs.  What’s a pour over?  It’s the ultimate in custom, hand-crafted coffees.  A pour over is made by grinding just enough coffee beans for a single cup of coffee, so you can customize the blend any way you want.  The fresh ground beans are placed in a cone brewer with a filter, and hot water is poured over the beans, brewing a single, fresh cup of coffee.  They do gourmet hot chocolates too!  Get them in Classic coco, Mexican, Chai Coco, and Mint!

Sips Cafe is also a great spot for a smoothie.  All of their smoothies are all made with whole fruit, organic juice, and just enough water to blend.  Hall supports chemical free, local farmers to ensure that the fruits and vegetables they use are as natural and healthy as they can be.  Some things you won’t find on the Sips menu: anything made with high fructose corn syrup, added colors, or artificial syrup.  There isn’t even any ice in the smoothies, which rely on the fruit itself for thickening.  It just doesn’t get any cleaner than that.

Sips Cafe is open 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday – Saturday.  They’re closed Sundays.  Now, a stop at Sips is even more convenient with the addition of a “grab and go” cooler.  It’s stocked with juices that have been pressed and blended fresh that day.  Just grab the one you want and use the convenient quick pay box for cash purchases.  Then you’re on your way!

So now there are no excuses.  You can add a healthy boost to your day with a quick stop at Sips in Clayton.  You can even indulge in your favorite coffee drink or sweet creamy cocoa, and still take better care of yourself, during resolution season, and beyond.

Contact Information:

Sips Cafe
Owner: Sharon Hall
7818 Forsyth Blvd
Clayton, MO 63105
Phone: (314) 727-4747
Email: sipsinclayton@gmail.com

Turn at .ZACK – Where Yum Meets Art

Turn at .ZACK – Where Yum Meets Art

Grand Center’s New Breakfast & Lunch Spot is Turn – .ZACK

St. Louis, MO/May 27, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) .ZACK – There’s always something exciting about trying a new restaurant, coffee shop, or cafe.  So, when several new restaurants seemed to blossom all at once this spring, diners across St. Louis rejoiced.  When an innovative chef or restaurateur gets together with other local creatives to create a totally new eating experience, it’s downright thrilling.  That’s why we’re excited about Turn, the newest creation of Chef David Kirkland.

One of the newest development in St. Louis’ vibrant restaurant scene involves the inclusion of upscale eateries inside multi-use commercial spaces, like Vicia at the Cortex Innovation Community in the Central West End, which opened in March.  This combination of form, function, architecture, and culture lends itself well to culinary innovation.  One of St. Louis’ newest example is Turn, which just opened inside .ZACK, the Kranzberg Arts Foundation’s new Grand Center space at 3224 Locust Street.  This new American bistro offers breakfast and lunch 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday, and 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sundays inside a building that includes retail and event space, performing art incubators, and a theater.

Led by former Cafe Osage manager and chef, David Kirkland, Turn offers updated American classics, friendly service, and a warm atmosphere.  Like his previous endeavors, at Turn Chef Kirkland has built a farm-to-table menu that relies on produce from local farmers as well as the Northside Workshop, a nonprofit arts project that includes community beekeeping and urban agriculture on-site.  At breakfast, diners can order a flight of biscuits—four biscuits topped with seasonal jams, honey, and butter; or corn cakes with chorizo, eggs, avocado, cheddar, and green chilis.  There are quinoa bowls with veggies and eggs, and multigrain pancakes with syrup, seasonal house-made jam or compote.

At lunch, Kirkland takes creative license with the humble cheeseburger, adding white cheddar and green hatch chili peppers wrapped together in a tortilla.  There are currently three salads offered, including a quinoa kale salad that combines these two healthy staples with dried apricots and goat cheese from Baetje Farms (Bloomsdale, MO).  There are also sandwiches made with salmon, grilled portabella mushrooms, and corned beef, plus fries, house pickles, and cauliflower bites.

Turn is the combination of great food, warm hospitality, and an inspiring location—a terrific new development for this thriving neighborhood.  Chef Kirkland has said he has plans to add a monthly dinner series to Turn’s offerings.  For right now, hungry diners near Grand Center can nosh on farm fresh sausage, eggs, salads, and sandwiches, and soak up the surrounding art and culture.

Contact Information:

.ZACK Performance Incubator
3224 Locust Street
Grand Center
St. Louis, MO 63103
Phone: (314) 240-5157

South City’s Vine Café Dishes Out Mediterranean Food and Culture

South City’s Vine Café Dishes Out Mediterranean Food and Culture

Fresh Pita, Shawarma, and Hookah at The Vine Café on South Grand

St. Louis, MO/May 17, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Everyone who knows anything about where to eat in St. Louis knows about the amazing mix of ethnic cuisines offered along South Grand Blvd. in the city’s Tower Grove South neighborhood.  The bustling strip has always been a hub of local commerce.  “Back in the day” there were dry cleaners, butcher shops, banks, barbers, apothecaries, bookstores, repair shops, and doctors’ offices.  Now, it’s a hub of international cuisine.  One of the more noteworthy establishments along the current South Grand Blvd between Arsenal and Utah Streets is the Vine Mediterranean Café & Market at 3171 South Grand.

This bright, inviting café specializes in Middle Eastern fare—mainly Lebanese—served in a traditional Arabian setting.  The aromas of fresh baked pita and shawarma (a marinated lamb and beef, slow roasted on a vertical spit) entice passersby along the sidewalk.  But one step inside the Vine is like a step into another, more exotic world.  The heady smell of spices, pita, meat, and hookah conjure images of faraway places.

The menu at the Vine invites diners to sample the wares of traditional Mediterranean kitchens.  At the Vine, everything is made fresh every day and every dish on the menu is halal.  Among the apps are hummus and pitas, of course, but also stuffed grape leaves, baba ganoush, falafel, makdous (cured baby eggplant stuffed with walnuts and garlic, topped with pomegranate sauce and olive oil), Labneh (creamy yogurt topped with olive oil and za’atar spice), and Kibbeh (a bulgur wheat and beef shell, stuffed with beef and onions)—plus za’atar spiced wings, chicken tenders with a zesty garlic sauce, and Lebanese Nachos (pita chips topped with hummus, fresh vegetables and labneh).

The shawarma, available in beef and lamb, or chicken, is the star of the menu.  It’s sliced from a vertical spit, similarly to gyro, and served over rice with pita bread.  Unlike the Greek gyro with it’s cool, creamy tzatziki sauce, shawarma is served with tahini sauce, a traditional Middle Eastern blend of sesame paste, lemon juice, and garlic.  The tahini sauce at the Vine is a tangy accompaniment to their rich, savory, and oh-so-tender shaved meat.  Have wrapped in pita and toasted panini-style or served over rice with salad or soup.

Other popular dishes include kebabs (beef, lamb, chicken, shrimp), lamb chops, and chicken shatta (charbroiled chicken breast topped with tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic, and a mix of herbs and spices, sautéed in olive oil).  There’s also a nice selection of vegetarian and vegan options, including a falafel dinner, and Batata Harra (cubed potato, cilantro, garlic, and hot spices sautéed in olive oil).

Besides the usual soft drinks (Coke and Pepsi products), beverage options include fresh juices (orange, apple, mango, and carrot) that can be ordered pure, or blended, or mixed with lemonade.  There are also some traditional drinks: Jallab, made with date juice, almonds and raisins; hot tea with mint, cardamom, or lemon; and strong Lebanese Coffee (with or without cardamom).  There are smoothies too—traditional flavors like banana or mango, but also some less familiar combinations like carrot (blended with banana and honey) and the refreshing mint lemonade smoothie.

There’s a fresh selection of fresh bakery items (like namura and baklava) in the bakery case each day.  Their signature chocolate baklava is worth the trip itself.  If you’re too full to eat dessert after your meal, be sure to get some to go.  Be sure to peruse the Mediterranean market shelves too.  They’re stocked with olives, oils, chickpeas, and rice, along with those exotic Mediterranean spices and some packaged food goodies you won’t find at your local supermarket.  They also offer a large selection of fresh halal meats.  As if that wasn’t enough, there’s an adjacent hookah lounge.

When the weather permits, their outdoor dining area is a great place to enjoy a great meal, strong coffee, and lavish tea while people-watching along the vibrant South Grand Blvd.  If you need to get some work done, bring your laptop because they have free Wi-Fi too.  They also offer catering for small groups and large gatherings.

The Vine Café is open Sunday – Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (kitchen closes 9:30 pm).  The market at the Vine is open Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Monday – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  For a sample of their delicious Lebanese cuisine, stop by during the 9th Annual South Grand International Dine Out on May 18th.  The Vine’s coconut dates, pistachio baklava, and namura are among the featured items.

Contact information:

The Vine Mediterranean Café & Market
Manager: Ali Moshen
3171 S. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63118
St. Louis – South City
Phone: (314) 776-0991

LouFest 2017 Will Bring Some Big Names to Forest Park

LouFest 2017 Will Bring Some Big Names to Forest Park

Weezer, Huey Lewis & the News Among LouFest 2017 Lineup

St. Louis, MO/May 14, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) LouFest 2017 – Summer music festivals have been a seasonal tradition in St. Louis for decades.  The city has offered residents everything from free symphony concerts in the park to day-long jam-fests that filled old Busch stadium.  LouFest continues in that tradition, with its eighth annual festival in Forest Park.  More than a concert, LouFest offers a two-day cultural experience bringing about 30 national acts to four stages, plus food, drink and more.  Listen Live Entertainment, which produces the festival has announced a partial lineup of acts who will play this year’s festival.

According to LouFest officials, the national acts headlining this year will include:

Cage the Elephant
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Huey Lewis and the News
Marian Hill
Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Hippo Campus
The Record Company
Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Mondo Cozmo
Future Thieves

As is the annual custom at LouFest, several popular local acts will also perform. The list of local performers includes:

Jack Grelle
18 and Counting & the Only Ensemble
Beth Bombara
Mathias & the Pirates

Other names taking the stage include Ron Gallo, Jonny P, Harts, Jess Nolan, and Chris Bandi.  Additional acts will be announced May 30.  Festival organizers say they must hold off on naming them because of exclusivity clauses in some performers’ contracts.  There are also plans to honor St. Louis native Chuck Berry, who died in March.  Details will be made public at a later date, but officials say they plan their tribute to Berry will be something that lasts well beyond this summer’s festival.

LouFest 2017 will offer a lot more than music to festival goers.  The Market Square will showcase local artists.  The Nosh Pit celebrates St. Louis’ culinary excellence.  Festival organizers are still accepting applications from local restaurants and food vendors.  Also around the park, festival goers will find the Shock Top Beer Garden, featuring local and regional favorites from Faust and Shock Top to Goose Island Beer Company.  There will also be games and limited seating in the beer garden.  And the Cupcake Vineyards Truck will back this year, offering free samples and contests with a chance to win prizes.  Starbucks will be handing out samples of their coffee and protein doubleshot.  Whole Foods Market will team up with local makers, Perennial, to offer demonstrations on turning old t-shirts into reusable totes, festival headbands, and more.  There’s even a kids’ area.  LouKidz will offer family-friendly activities include music (daily performances by Robot+Bike), dancing, crafts, face painting and more from noon to 5:00 p.m. each day.

Unlike many of the summer concerts offered in St. Louis’ public venues, LouFest isn’t free.  Tickets went on sale at 9 a.m. Thursday.  A general admission ticket for the two-day event will set you back $95.  Kids 12 and under are admitted free with each paid adult.  One-day tickets will be available soon.  This year there are two tiers of VIP tickets.  The standard two-day VIP tickets are $350 and included shaded seating, complimentary food and drinks (including beer, wine, and specialty libations), reserved (air conditioned) restrooms, VIP parking (must purchase two VIP tickets), a VIP Lounge, and gourmet happy hour.  If that isn’t special enough, starting this year Platinum Tickets are available for $750.  The new Platinum Ticket includes a private lounge, private onstage viewing areas, complimentary catered meals and beverages, onsite concierge, and more.  Platinum Ticket holders will spend less time standing in line thanks to private entrances and exits.  Platinum VIP parking with shuttle service is also included.

This year’s LouFest at Forest Park will be Saturday and Sunday, September 9 – 10.  Festival gates open each day at 11:00 a.m. and close at 10:00 p.m.  For more information about this year’s event, including purchasing tickets and a list of what can be brought onto festival grounds and what can’t (no coolers), see the official LouFest 2017 website.  If you still have questions, contact info@loufest.com.

St Louis Makes Major City List for Most Popular Healthy Eating Plans

St Louis Makes Major City List for Most Popular Healthy Eating Plans

Grubhub Announces Top Major Cities with Healthy Eating Plans

ST. LOUIS, MO/May 14, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Healthy Eating Plans – Grilling with family and friends, the ice cream truck jingle…summer break means a lot of fun in the sun, but it is also a three-month period when making the healthiest food choices is not always the easiest thing to do.  Even so, we know that healthy eating has all sorts of benefits for your body and your brain, as well as, helping you stay slim and allowing you to live longer.

Recent results posted of a new study by Chicago based Grubhub, the nation’ s leading online and mobile takeout food-ordering marketplace, unveiled some interesting facts about Americans relationship with foods.  They took a look at the most popular healthy eating plans and which major cities regularly partake in those eating plans.

How did St. Louis rank? The Gateway to the West came in at No. 7.  Data shows that in 2016, 53 percent of its orders included more food related to popular eating plans than the rest of the country.  According to Grubhub, the most popular healthy eating plan in St. Louis is gluten-free.  It is the fifth-most-popular healthy eating plan nationwide.

Grubhub analyzed orders related to the most popular healthy eating plans in the U.S. such as paleo, raw, juice cleanse, vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, Mediterranean and keto diets.  By using a combination of dietary tags and delving into foods that align with specific eating plans, they were able to analyze order data from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016, for its study.

Results from this study shows that Paleo reigns supreme in order data showcasing the dominance of popular healthy eating plans nationwide, including city-by-city.

Below find the Most Popular Eating Plans Nationwide, the Top 10 Major Cities that participate most in healthy eating plans, and the Most Popular Eating Plans in Major Cities:

Most Popular Eating Plans Nationwide:

1. Paleo
2. Raw
3. Juice cleanse
4. Vegan
5. Gluten-free
6. Low-fat
7. Mediterranean
8. Keto

Top 10 Major Cities Participating in Popular Eating Plans:

1. Seattle — orders 309 percent more foods related to popular eating plans
2. Portland, Ore. — orders 154 percent more foods related to popular eating plans
3. Dallas — orders 140 percent more foods related to popular eating plans
4. Chicago — orders 94 percent more foods related to popular eating plans
5. San Francisco — orders 74 percent more foods related to popular eating plans
6. Los Angeles — orders 66 percent more foods related to popular eating plans
7. St. Louis — orders 53 percent more foods related to popular eating plans
8. Austin, Texas — orders 44 percent more foods related to popular eating plans
9. Las Vegas — orders 27 percent more foods related to popular eating plans
10. San Diego — orders 22 percent more foods related to popular eating plans

Most Popular Eating Plans in Major Cities:

Miami — juice cleanse
San Jose, Calif. — vegan
Seattle — gluten-free
Dallas — paleo
Houston — paleo
Austin, Texas — paleo
Phoenix — gluten-free
Minneapolis — gluten-free
Portland, Ore. — gluten-free
Las Vegas — vegan
St. Louis — gluten-free
Nashville, Tenn. — juice cleanse
San Diego — vegan
Atlanta — gluten-free
Los Angeles — vegan
San Francisco — low-fat
Boston — low-fat
Chicago — vegan

Delicious Things are Planned for New CWE Bissingers

Delicious Things are Planned for New CWE Bissingers

Bissingers Chocolatier to Open CWE Handcrafted Cafe

St. Louis, MO/May 11, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – It was a sad day for St. Louis’ chocolate lovers when Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier closed their award-winning Maryland Plaza location.  The sleek, modern dessert bar offered visitors confections that included indulgent desserts, liqueurs served in chocolate cups, and those handcrafted chocolates too.  But there is light at the end of this dark, chocolate-less tunnel.  Bissinger’s is planning to reopen at 32 Maryland Plaza in St. Louis’ Central West End next month as Handcrafted by Bissinger’s.  The newly renovated establishment will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner—and of course, Bissinger’s delectable chocolates too!

When the new Handcrafted by Bissinger’s in the Central West End opens in June, it’ll operate in collaboration with Bissinger’s sister company, 23 City Blocks Catering.  Led by Executive Chef Nicholas Miller, this is the catering team behind Bissinger’s premiere event venue, The Caramel Room at Bissinger’s Chocolate Factory, 1600 North Broadway in downtown St. Louis.  Chef Miller and his team specialize in infusing chocolate into the menu for a wide variety of special occasions.  Now, they’re creating a menu just for the chocolate company’s new restaurant.

The newly remodeled Central West End Bissinger’s will offer breakfast, lunch, and light dinners.  Breakfast offerings will include quiche (including vegan and gluten-free varieties), pastries, homemade granola, yogurt parfaits, and breakfast breads. There will also be plenty of coffee and coffee beverages.  Patrons will find many of the coffee drinks that had been popular at the Maryland Plaza Bissinger’s before it closed.  Lunch customers will be able to get salads, sandwiches, and soups—including Chef Miller’s signature French onion soup.  Dinner will feature light meal options and smaller dishes.  Look for cheese and charcuterie, fig spread, and flat breads. Bissinger’s award-winning chocolates will be available all day.

Besides the chocolate factory downtown, and the soon-to-open Handcrafted by Bissinger’s at Maryland Plaza in the Central West End, the chocolatier has a retail location at Plaza Frontenac (97 Plaza Frontenac, St. Louis, Missouri 63131, 314-432-1329).  Bissinger’s confections can also be purchased online, through catalogs, and from gourmet retailers including: Whole Foods Market, Straub’s, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, and Dillard’s.

For St. Louis chocolate lovers who’ve long-dreamt of eating chocolate morning, noon, and night—the dream is about to come true.  Yay!