SugarBot Sweet Shop to Open in St. Charles This Summer

Photo by Kevin Korinek
The co-owners of SugarBot, Jackie Lynch and Mark Huebbe.

In 2012, Jackie Lynch was working as a marketer and feeling largely unfulfilled. So she started pursuing her hobby of making homemade ice cream, cupcakes, and pie. "People would always tell me I should be doing this, 'Why aren't you doing this?' And I just never saw myself there," she says. But that began to change, and a year later, she left her full-time job to pursue a specialized degree from St. Louis Community College in baking and pastry.

Now Lynch and her boyfriend, Mark Huebbe, are opening their own pastry shop, SugarBot Sweet-Shop, at 433 Jackson Street in the heart of St. Charles city. The fare will consist of childhood treats the way you remember them, only better: from-scratch sugar cookies, Rice Krispie treats, drop cookies, cupcakes, hand pies and more. Eventually, Lynch plans to offer a menu of scratch-made ice creams and craft sodas.

They hope to be open by late summer.

"I've been planning this since I was 16. It's what I've always wanted to do, but I never thought it could be a profitable thing," she says.

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Nothing Bundt Cakes Hits a Homerun in Town and Country

Emily McCarter
Twin sisters Jannette Neely (right) and Penelope Ritchie (left) stand in front of the bundt cake show case inside of their Nothing Bundt Cake franchise in Town and Country, Missouri.

Jannette Neely's love for Nothing Bundt Cakes started eight years ago, when the first franchise of the Las Vegas-based bakery opened in Texas. The St. Louis native was working in the corporate world, on her way to see a client, when she spotted the store.

"I called my twin sister, and I said, 'You're never going to believe what I just saw, a Nothing Bundt Cake Bakery. Isn't that funny? Don't you remember when mom and grandma always made bundt cakes?' Everybody always remembers their mom, or grandma, or somebody making a bundt cake."

Neely had to try a cake from the shop, and when she did, she promptly fell in love. She started buying Nothing Bundt Cakes for every occasion, from birthdays to baby showers. When her sister Penelope Ritchie visited Texas, she too fell in love with the cakes.

Two years ago, Neely, who lives in Baton Rouge, started looking into opening her own franchise.

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The Delmar Loop Gets a Food Tour, as Savor St. Louis Comes Calling This Weekend

Categories: Events, Food News

Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Salt + Smoke's St. Louis-style ribs.
What a difference a few years make.

When Pi Pizzeria first opened on the far eastern edge of the Delmar Loop in 2008, Barack Obama's favorite pizza joint was an anomaly -- one of the only ambitious restaurants in a sea of cheap college eats and more Thai restaurants than you could ever possibly dine at. It was followed the next year by Ranoush, which served delicious Syrian food, but both were the exception to the neighborhood's culinary ethos, not the rule.

Fast forward to today. Not only is Pi in the middle of a thriving commercial district that's spread far east of the neighborhood's original boundaries -- but the Loop has so many hot restaurants, it's getting its own food tour.

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It's Official: South Grand's Restaurant Scene Is More Diverse Than Epcot Center

Categories: Food News

Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Guerilla Street Food's "Flying Pig," with slow-roasted pulled pork and a one-hour egg served over rice.
It was, of course, Walt Disney World that first insisted it's a small world after all -- and then the theme park proved it by bringing no less than eleven cultures and cuisines to life at Epcot Center.

But that giant sphere of a theme park in Orlando has nothing on St. Louis' South Grand corridor. With the two new restaurants slated to open there this spring, the six-block area boasts cuisines from thirteen different nations -- two more than Epcot, in an even smaller radius.

Take that, Disney World!

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Bridge Bread to Open Shop on Cherokee This Spring

Courtesy of Bridge Bread
Bridge Bread's mini cinnamon rolls have drawn a following at area churches.
Bridge Bread will open its first retail store on Cherokee Street in the next month or two, founder Fred Domke confirmed to Gut Check yesterday.

The shop, at 2604 Cherokee, will sell the nonprofit baker's artisan bread, brioche dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls and what Domke calls its "coup de grace" -- its "4x Chocolate Rolls," which are studded with chocolate chips, filled with chocolate and topped with chocolate frosting. "They went from being a brand-new product to being our most popular product in three weeks," Domke says.

The new storefront, located at the base of the Nebula coworking space just west of Jefferson, won't be a bakery -- Bridge will continue to bake out of its kitchen on South Grand, and all the breads and treats will be sold prepackaged to keep things simple with the health department.

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Historic California Do-Nut Co. Will Get a Second Life with New Owner

Categories: Food News

Paul Sableman via Flickr Creative Commons
The iconic sign went dark long ago.

In 1948, a man named Henry J. Bielefeld founded the California Do-Nut Co. (2924 South Jefferson Avenue). The shop churned out freshly fried doughnuts from a machine that automatically flipped them to the delight of the neighborhood kids.

Eventually, the shop closed. Paper went up in the windows, and then a car lost control and plowed into the building, so boards covered the damage. Then graffiti covered the boards.

But the iconic green "California Do-Nut Co." neon sign remained, and if all goes according to plan, new owner Felinna Love will be able to switch it back on in 2016.

"I'm so in love with the sign," she says. "I was born in San Francisco, so the name is dear to my heart."

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Tree House's Ethical Answer for Pâté de Foie Gras

Categories: Food News

Wild mushroom pâté at Tree House. | Patrick J. Hurley

The Drunken Vegan, a.k.a. Patrick J. Hurley, is a full-time barman at the Civil Life Brewing Company and cocktail enthusiast about town. He's an unapologetic drunkard, a vegan and a bon vivant, and, no, he doesn't think those last two terms contradict each other.

Foie gras has been in the news a lot lately, with California recently overturning a law that banned chefs from putting it on their menus. Carnivores are now rejoicing, but the controversy remains (check out what our colleagues at the LA Weekly have to say about it).

The methods used to achieve the rich creaminess of foie gras dishes are at the heart of the conflict. Foie gras is "the enlarged liver from a goose or duck that has been force-fed and fattened over a period of four to five months. These specially bred fowl are not permitted to exercise -- which, combined with the overeating, creates a huge (up to three pounds), fatty liver." That definition is not from PETA, it's from the New Food Lover's Companion, the Bible for foodies.

So let's say you're craving foie, but your conscience simply won't allow it. Tree House (3177 South Grand Boulevard; 314-696-2100) has got you covered.

See also: 10 Best Spots for Vegetarian Food in St. Louis

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Missouri Bar & Grille is Closed (...for Good?) [UPDATE]

Categories: Food News

Trifon Panopoulos' downtown institution. | Jessica Lussenhop

Updated with a response from owner Zeta Zavradinos.

On a blustery Monday afternoon in downtown St. Louis, Robert Kennedy stood outside of Missouri Bar & Grille (701 North Tucker Boulevard; 314-231-2234), holding a plastic bag of snacks and waiting to find out if he still has a job.

"Everything is in limbo," said the veteran chef, who's been with Mo Bar for the past 29 years. "Sometimes they open at 3, sometimes 8. Sometimes they don't open at all."

The bar -- once the chosen watering hole for St. Louis royalty like Ozzie Smith, Chuck Berry and Leon Spinks -- has fallen on hard times since the 2013 death of its beloved owner, Trifon Panopoulos. Yesterday was rumored to be the bar's last in business. No one answered the phone, and everything was dark inside at 5 p.m. on Monday, when Kennedy's shift normally begins. He planned to return at 8 p.m. and check again.

By 7 p.m., not even bartender of 32 years Athina Miller knew what was going on. She was trying to reach Trifon's daughter, Zeta Zavradinos, who took the helm of the business after her father's death eighteen months ago.

"I've got the keys. I'm going to go in and find out," Miller told us. She promised to call back.

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Original Red's Barbecue in Ferguson Closes

Categories: Food News

A protest happening outside of Red's on August 30, 2014. | Bryan Sutter

Red's BBQ (9300 West Florissant) has announced it will not reopen after sustaining damage in the Ferguson protests. The West Florissant mainstay tried to bounce back after protests in August and reopened for a short time. However, following the announcement of the grand jury decision, Red's was looted and burned.

See also: Paul's Market Seeks to Reinvigorate Ferguson

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Local Chefs Extol the Virtues of Broth: A Bone-a Fide Nutrition Trend

Categories: Food News

Broth is the new superfood. | Peter Smith via Flickr

Step into a professional, from-scratch kitchen, and you're likely to encounter a large, bone- and water-filled pot slowly bubbling like a witch's cauldron. The product of this enterprise -- broth -- will go on to become a number of things: a hearty soup, a rich sauce or the base for any number of dishes. However, recent talk of its nutrient-rich properties has turned this once-humble liquid into a bona fide food trend.

See Also: A Look Inside Bolyard's Meat & Provisions, A New Butcher Shop in Maplewood

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