A Look Inside Siam STL, New Nightclub Serving Pan-Asian Fusion in the Grove

Categories: First Look

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The "Goku Roll" with shrimp tempura, avocado, red tuna, radish sprouts, masago, baked scallops and spicy crab. | Photos by Mabel Suen
On June 14 Siam STL (4121 Manchester Avenue; 314-533-7426) held its grand opening, filling a void left by the closure of Novak's Bar & Grill -- arguably one of the Grove's best gay bars and nightlife destinations. The new concept for the neighborhood's longstanding hotspot is one-part lounge and dance club and one-part pan-Asian fusion restaurant.

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Salt + Smoke's New Texas-Style Barbecue and Bourbon Menu in the Delmar Loop

Categories: First Look

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Salt + Smoke's burnt-end toasted ravioli. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Frequenters of the Delmar Loop undoubtedly have already noticed the change in the atmosphere lately. The unmistakable smell of smoky barbecue now permeates the air, and it's all thanks to restaurateur Tom Schmidt and his brand-new concept, Salt + Smoke (6525 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-0200).

On June 13 his Mediterranean restaurant formerly known as Nico got a complete makeover after only a weeklong closure. Its new identity is a full-service Texas-style barbecue joint that also specializes in bourbon, craft and barrel-aged cocktails, and beer.

See also: Salt + Smoke Opens This Friday, June 13, in Former Nico Space


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Restituo Offers "A Little Bit of NYC in STL" At New Shaw Neighborhood Cafe

Categories: First Look

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Restituo's "Oh Fudge Me" frappe with Ghirardelli dark chocolate fudge chunks, espresso and housemade vanilla extract. | Photos by Mabel Suen
As the owner of Restituo (4100 Shenandoah Avenue), Nicole McCormack says she "wears every hat in the joint." She refinished half of the furniture in the corner cafe, makes the food and even handcrafted the mugs that the hot drinks are served in. Restituo -- Latin for "refresh" and "renew" -- originally opened as an upcycled retail store on October 3 and rolled out its New York-style coffee-shop concept on April 5.

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Death in the Afternoon's New Lunch Spot in Citygarden from the Owners of Blood & Sand

Categories: First Look

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Tonkatsu ramen with pork belly and loin, soft boiled egg, black garlic oil and mushroom. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Unlike Adam Frager and TJ Vytlacil's critically-acclaimed Blood & Sand (1500 St. Charles Street; 314-241-7263), Death in the Afternoon (808 Chestnut Street; 314-621-3236) -- the latest venture from the duo -- does not require a membership. Luckily for the rest of us, it doesn't even require a reservation.

The lunch-only restaurant, named after a classic cocktail invented by Ernest Hemingway, opened on June 9 in the downtown Citygarden, serving a full menu of snacks, soups, sandwiches, salads and more. The new concept fills the glass-box building formerly occupied by Joe's Chili Bowl and strives to offer a menu befitting of the stellar scenery.

See also: Death in the Afternoon Opens Monday at Citygarden

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Lulu's Local Eatery's New Restaurant Prepares Plant-Based Fare on South Grand

Categories: First Look

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Lulu's vegan sweet-potato falafel with tater tots. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Lulu's Local Eatery (3201 South Grand Boulevard) first rolled out its sustainable eats in 2012 with a woodprint-embellished food truck complete with a rooftop garden. On May 19 the from-scratch fast-casual concept officially expanded with a brick-and-mortar storefront in south city. There, visitors will find more of the same natural motifs, an expanded garden on the patio and its plant-based eats including sweet potato falafel and more.

The all-natural menu features local and organic ingredients whenever possible, says co-owner Lauren "Lulu" Loomis, who moved to St. Louis from Chicago three-and-a-half years ago to launch Lulu's with her husband, Robert Tucker.

"There are so many creative, vibrant people doing amazing things here," Loomis says. "We wanted to be a part of that."

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Bocci Bar's New Wine Concept and Small-Plates Menu Now Available in Clayton

Categories: First Look

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"Nori Wrapped Salmon" with cauliflower rice, wasabi honey glaze and pickled ginger. | Photos by Mabel Suen
During early Thursday evenings this summer, patrons of the Bocci Bar (16 North Central Avenue, Clayton; 314-932-1040) can enjoy happy hour or dinner with the Clayton Farmers' Market going on just steps away from the sidewalk patio through wide-open front doors.

The setting proves a fruitful one, with elements of the market incorporated right into the revamped concept that debuted on April 15 after the restaurant closed last January for retooling. The interior took a fresh coat of a paint, and the menu features a new long list of wine as well as a contemporary American small plates menu that focuses on three separate themes: "Farm," "Land" and "Sea."

See also: Bocci Bar Reopens This Weekend in Clayton

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Jilly's Ice Cream Bar's New Storefront Scoops Up Nineteen Different Flavors

Categories: First Look

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"Chipperment" and "Gooey Butter Brownie Batter" ice cream in a Jilly's cupcake batter confetti cone. | Photos by Mabel Suen
On June 2, Jilly's Ice Cream Bar (8509 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-993-5455) opened just in time to beat the summer heat. The ice cream parlor fills the space directly next to owner Jill Segal's Cupcake Wars-winning Jilly's Cupcake Bar.

Those already acquainted with Jilly's cupcakes know that chef Casey Shiller's baked treats certainly do not skimp in size nor flavor. The same concept carries over onto his ice cream menu -- even the tasting spoons come full-size here, folks. The selection features familiar Jilly's flavors including cupcake-batter waffle cones and cake morsels swirled right into several of the ice creams.

See also: Jilly's Ice Cream Bar Now Open

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The Social Affair at the Station's New Modern American Market

Categories: First Look

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A selection of the Station's market offerings: crostini, pita chips, carrot ginger soup, basil white bean dip, maple glazed smoked salmon dip.
Kelly Spencer first spotted the boarded-up former art deco filling station that now houses the Station at the Social Affair (2232 Thurman Avenue; 314-735-5527) while moving into her then-new home in the neighborhood ten years ago. From that point on, she made it her goal to make that piece of history her own. And now, a decade later, she wields a culinary arts degree, her own catering business, and an award from the Landmarks Association of St. Louis for the "Most Enhanced" in local historic preservation.

Last December, she moved her five-year-old catering business into the completely rehabbed space. On April 5, she officially opened the Station to the public with a market offering a variety of her menu of dips, soups, baked goods and more.

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Vinnie's New Storefront Serves Up Chicago-Style Sandwiches Alongside Greek Cuisine

Categories: First Look

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Italian beef sandwich with thinly sliced beef, cheese, peppers and onions topped with giardiniera. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Vinnie's (3208 Ivanhoe Avenue; 314-644-7007) opened in Lindenwood Park on March 1, serving up a menu made by two long-time culinary colleagues. Owner and St. Louis native Matthew Mulholland brings massive Chicago-style Italian sandwiches to the table, while chef George Potsos cooks up his family recipes of authentic Greek gyros, sides and more.

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Sugarfire Smokehouse's New '50s-Style Outpost Slinging Barbecue in St. Charles

Categories: First Look

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The "Big Muddy" with brisket, smoked sausage, horseradish, barbecue sauce, lettuce and pickles. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Last December, Gut Check reported on the announcement of a second location for Mike Johnson's Sugarfire Smokehouse in St. Charles. On April 25, Sugarfire Smokehouse (3150 Elm Point Industrial, St. Charles; 636-724-7601) opened its doors in a former Chuck-A-Burger, retaining plenty of the diner's '50s-style charm while adding its own signature touches to the space.

See also: Sugarfire Smokehouse Now Open in St. Charles

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