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Riverbend Restaurant & Bar to Take Over Former Harvest Space

Categories: Restaurant News

riverbendrichmondheights.jpg
The peel and eat shrimp with the housemade New Orleans remoulade sauce at Riverbend. | Jennifer Silverberg

A few months ago Riverbend Restaurant & Bar (701 Utah Street; 314-664-8443) owner Sam Kogos lamented to us about his tiny, fourteen-by-fourteen kitchen and his off-the-beaten path location near Cherokee Street. "It's not an easy location to find. I'm not sitting in the Loop or the Central West End -- we're really thankful for the readership and the people who actually come in."

But that's all about to change. Kogos tells Gut Check he's moving into the recently vacated Harvest space at 1059 South Big Bend Boulevard in Richmond Heights.

See also: Sam Kogos Talks Riverbend Restaurant & Bar, Your Pick for St. Louis' Underrated Cajun/Creole Restaurant

"I've been looking for a year and half -- I was looking all over the city, anywhere. I was basically trying to find a place that was two things: a high-traffic area, because I'm a total destination where I'm at, and the other thing is, I was trying to find someplace that had been a restaurant already. At my age, I didn't really want to get into some $500,000 buildout."

Kogos estimates he has looked at about 50 different places, and a big problem was price. He loved the spot in Lafayette Square that Tripel later took over, but a $12,000-a-month rent just wasn't feasible. "That's ridiculous. I said, 'You'll get somebody in here for a year, and they'll be out of business.' Sure enough, they got somebody in for a year, and then boom, closed. You can have good food, and the debt just kills you," he says.

Kogos and his chef, Steve Daney, who's also his cousin, both grew up in New Orleans, and he operated a restaurant there for fifteen years. Part of Riverbend's charm is its authenticity. Kogos says the Harvest space has a much larger kitchen, which will allow him to expand the menu and add a lot of items he just didn't have the capacity to cook on a daily basis.

For example, fried seafood is currently only available one day a week, because Riverbend has to pull out small, portable fryers. "You ought to be able to get fried seafood every day! I mean, that's ridiculous. I'll have red beans and rice every day instead of one day a week," he says. "Some of the specials I do every once in a while, like barbecued shrimp, seafood cannelloni, crab meat au gratin -- I can put those on the menu and serve them every day."

Riverbend will probably add a fresh fish option, thanks to the addition of a grill, which means char-broiled oysters, too, and more meat options and even a few vegetarian dishes. Kogos says most people aren't aware that the current kitchen doesn't even have any gas coming into it -- he's trying to serve 200 people on a Saturday night using induction cookers and an electric oven.

The renovation will be minimal. If anything, Kogos will dress it downt: paint, add TVs, fans, what he calls "punking it up a bit." Expect the new and improved Riverbend to open sometime in October; the plan is to close as normal on a Saturday night and then open the new spot the following Thursday.

"We love the place we're at, and the main reason for moving is the size of the kitchen and the ability to try to get the food that we want out and get it out in a timely fashion," Kogos says. "I know it's not in the city, but it's one exit past McCausland, so I'm not moving out to the Valley or anything."

Look out for extended hours, including Sunday service, and a late-night menu to cater to nearby Washington University students.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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Location Info

Harvest - CLOSED

1059 S. Big Bend Blvd., Richmond Heights, MO

Category: Restaurant

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16 comments
Stella Luedde
Stella Luedde

where ever they go I will be there as often as I can.

Scott Haskenhoff
Scott Haskenhoff

Stephanie Gligros. Awesome restaurant moving right next door.

Pam Sept Hill
Pam Sept Hill

The new location is less than a five minute drive from the city limits. Unless you are completely reliant on walking and public transportation (in which case this comment doesn't apply to you,) it's a shame to not go someplace just because it is over a border. We live in the county, yet love going places all over the area. I can't wait to try this restaurant, which has been on my "to try" list for a while.

Joe Mundy
Joe Mundy

Keep the great food coming and they will follow. Evangeline's Bistro and Music House N Euclid Ave started out as a very small location in Millstadt. I live in Columbia Illinois and have no issue at all driving that far. Don's food is great so ROAD TRIP is well worth it.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

Probably going to be too far from StL City for me to visit anymore...

Rachel Shepard
Rachel Shepard

I love this place and will follow them wherever they go! \U0001f60a

Adam Hanson
Adam Hanson

Scott Smith if you ever saw the kitchen you would understand. You couldn't fit 4 people back there.

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