El Tropical's New Cuban and Mexican Restaurant in South City

Categories: First Look

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Cuban sandwich. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Recently the space formerly filled by the longstanding La Tropicana Market opened under new ownership and a new name, albeit serving up similar Mexican and Cuban favorites. El Tropical (5001 Lindenwood Avenue; 314-833-3513) debuted on August 29 featuring tacos, taquitos, Cuban sandwiches and more. Owner Daime Gomez cooks up some Cuban dishes from his native country while chef Lorena Munoz brings a hefty offering of Mexican fare to the table.

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A Look Inside Peacock Loop Diner, University City's New 24-Hour Dining Destination

Categories: First Look

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The double griddle burger at Peacock Loop Diner. | Photos by Mabel Suen
The Peacock Loop Diner (6261 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-721-5555) opened its doors recently as the latest concept in Washington University's Delmar Loop development which also includes United Provisions. The new 24-hour greasy spoon's impact on the St. Louis food map is paramount, joining the select few other perpetually open dining destinations available in the area. We can already imagine ourselves slamming a milkshake alongside a burger after catching one of the Tivoli Theatre's midnight movies across the street.

See also: Joe Edwards Readies 24-Hour Peacock Diner

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BaiKu Sushi Lounge's New Midtown Restaurant: Specialty Sushi, Noodle Bowls and More

Categories: First Look

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BaiKu's "Tuna Tiradito," lightly seared big-eye tuna with ponzu, chive oil, tobiki, spooled daikon, schchimi togarashi and toasted garlic chips.
As reported by Gut Check in July, BaiKu Sushi Lounge (3407 Olive Street; 314-896-2500) joins the Hotel Ignacio building's offerings which includes the MOTO Museum and Triumph Grill. Keeping with the overarching concept, BaiKu -- Japanese for motorcycle -- features a dining area with deconstructed bike parts as well as a contemporary lounge to sip on beer and sake by the glass or bottle.

See also: BaiKu Sushi Lounge Opening in Midtown

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A Look Inside Good Luck Bar & Grill's New Corner Spot in Soulard

Categories: First Look

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A cup of spicy chili with the "Bourbon Street Burger." | Photos by Mabel Suen
When asked to describe Good Luck Bar & Grill (2501 South Ninth Street; 314-833-5825), owner Patrick Lowery replies, "I just wanted to keep it simple and true to the good old-fashioned American bar and grill. I would say we're a classic corner spot with simple but good food, priced affordably."

See also: Good Luck Bar & Grill Bringing Irish Spirit to Soulard

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McMurphy's Cafe at St. Patrick Center Offers Good Eats for A Good Cause

Categories: First Look

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"McMurphy's Reuben" served with chips. | Photos by Mabel Suen
McMurphy's Cafe (800 North Tucker Boulevard; 314-802-5478) isn't your typical lunch spot. The downtown restaurant is one of St. Patrick Center's twenty programs that assists its clients -- individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless as well as individuals with mental health or substance-abuse issues -- with housing and employment training. Its slogan? "Eat well. Do good."

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A Look Inside Rooster's New Second Location on South Grand

Categories: First Look

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Rooster's Nutella crepe with strawberries and bananas. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Last year Gut Check reported on restaurateur Dave Bailey's plans to add a second location of Rooster to his ever-expanding empire which includes Baileys' Range, Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar, Baileys' Chocolate Bar, Small Batch and a soon-to-come barbecue restaurant. Earlier this week Rooster (3150 South Grand; 314-772-3447) opened its doors in south city with a relocated commissary tucked away in the basement, serving its breakfast and brunch concept -- crepes, anyone? -- as well as a brand-new dinner menu.

See also: Dave Bailey Adds a Second Location for Rooster, Expanded Menu

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Coffee Meets Chocolate at Kakao's New Clayton Location

Categories: First Look

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A shot of espresso with a Kakao truffle. | Photos by Mabel Suen
On any given weekday at the new Clayton location of Kakao Chocolate (7700 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-726-7974), business-attired professionals wander in to eyeball the wall-to-wall spread of handmade chocolates, candies and assorted treats after lunch at neighboring businesses including Niche and Pastaria.

The third storefront from local artisan chocolatier Brian Pelletier supplements his production kitchens in south city and Maplewood, serving as a retail storefront that lends an exciting new element to the sweets equation: coffee.

See also: Kakao Chocolate Clayton is Now Open

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A Look Inside Kitchen House Coffee's New South City Neighborhood Cafe

Categories: First Look

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Inside Kitchen House Coffee. Photos by Mabel Suen
Kitchen House Coffee (3149 Shenendoah Avenue; 314-732-0009) opened in Tower Grove East this month, offering sustainable, local drinks and snacks to south city residents. As reported by Gut Check, the urban-farm-inspired cafe comes from Paul Whitsitt and David Rodgers. Both live nearby and saw the need for a community gathering place -- and a home for some backyard chickens -- in their own neighborhood.

See also: Kitchen House Coffee Turns an Urban Farm into a Tower Grove East Coffeeshop

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Taste Budz Take Out's New Restaurant Cooks Up Affordable Grab-and-Go Grub

Categories: First Look

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Breakfast, like this "Rise & Shine," is served all day at Taste Budz Take Out. | Photos by Mabel Suen
"Inexpensive food fast" is what Eric Tomlin, the owner of Taste Budz Take Out (280 DeBalivere Avenue; 314-361-9999), strives to provide at his new restaurant. He and his wife, Bridgette Tomlin, tackle the take-out items together, working side-by-side in the kitchen cooking up breakfast, lunch and dinner -- all made to order.

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Lona's Lil Eats' New Storefront Serves "Asian Soul Food" in Fox Park

Categories: First Look

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Lona's grilled chicken wrap. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Frequenters of the Soulard Farmers' Market already know Lona's, the busy little stall in the Southeast wing of the market that serves up kebobs, spring rolls and other hand-held victuals on Saturdays. Last week the restaurant opened the doors at its new brick-and-mortar storefront in Fox Park. Contrary to its name, Lona's Lil Eats (2199 California Avenue) serves big flavors out of its kitchen, featuring an expanded variation on its unique pan-Asian market menu.

As reported by Gut Check in July, husband-and-wife team Pierce Powers and Lona Luo met in Luo's southwest China hometown. Her hill tribe's cooking blends a crossover of cuisines and techniques that Powers refers to as "Asian soul food": a little Japanese, a little Thai and a vibrant flavor profile that includes sweetness, spice, salt and smoke.

See also: Lona's Lil Eats Gets a Storefront in Fox Park

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