The Ten Most Important St. Louis Restaurant Openings of the Aughts #2: Monarch (2003)
Josh Galliano is reason enough to rank Monarch so high: The Louisiana native, sent packing when Katrina devastated New Orleans, is everything you could want in a chef -- creative yet respectful of tradition; ambitious yet humble. Yet he has been the executive chef at Monarch for only a brief portion of its existence, and Monarch attains this lofty position because it has been such a crucible of talent: original chef Brian Hale (now at the Chase Park Plaza); mixologist Ted Kilgore (now of Taste by Niche); sommelier Chris Hoel, the subject of a Riverfront Times feature story by my colleague Kristen Hinman ("The Wine Master," April 19, 2007) and now at perhaps America's most prestigious restaurant, Thomas Keller's French Laundry; general manager Matt McGuire, who founded the late beloved King Louie's; former general manager and drinks expert Chad George. It's a credit to owners Aaron Teitelbaum and Jeff Orbin, who took a chance opening a major-league restaurant in modest Maplewood and have maintained the desire to improve it year after year.
7401 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-644-399; website