John Perkins Looks Back on Juniper's First Year

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Inside Juniper. | Jennifer Silverberg

Many impressive restaurants have opened in the past year or so. Several succeeded, many did not. Juniper (360 North Boyle Avenue; 314-329-7696) is one of the lucky ones. Chef and owner John Perkins turned his restless pop-up into an acclaimed restaurant that celebrates the best of Southern cuisine. We asked Perkins to look back on his inaugural year and see what he's thinking for the future of Juniper.

See also: Southern Bread: John Perkins' new restaurant, Juniper, does Dixie cuisine proud

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Riverfront Times Holiday Spirits Presale

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A Mary Pickford from Planters House. | Jennifer Silverberg

For the first time ever, we here at the Riverfront Times are throwing a winter event all about alcohol. Hard to believe, right? It's the Holiday Spirits event, and we want you guys to come so you can have an awesome time.

See also: Schlafly, Boulevard, Perennial Get Winterized: A Gut Check Guide to Winter Beer

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Danny Meyer Was in St. Louis Which Obviously Means We're Getting a Shake Shack

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Shake Shack in New York City. | Drew XXX

St. Louis-turned-New York restaurateur Danny Meyer was in town this week which ZOMG obviously means we're getting a Shake Shack! OK, not so fast. Death in the Afternoon already squashed our dreams of getting one at Citygarden. So, was Meyer on his way to fulfilling all our hopes and dreams?

See also: Citygarden's Beautiful Restaurant is Vacant -- Could Shake Shack Swoop In?

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Join Gut Check at the Top Chef Ultimate Burger Challenge

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Sugarfire Smokehouse will defend its title at this weekend's Top Chef Ultimate Burger Challenge. | Jennifer Silverberg

Alive magazine is holding its sixth annual Top Chef Ultimate Burger Challenge this Sunday, August 17. And guess what? Gut Check is helping judge! The competition pits six local chefs against each other to see who can cook up the best burger. We'll be nibbling on each one, but you can too.

See also: Top Chef: St. Louis? Local Chefs Compete in Burger Cookoff

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Non-Profit Rallies to Save the World's Largest Catsup Bottle

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Save me! | Google Street View

Earlier this week we reported that the World's Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville is for sale (along with a warehouse) for $500,000. There is a non-profit organization that doesn't own any of the landmark but advocates for it and holds the annual festival. We spoke to president Mike Gassman about why saving the catsup bottle is important and what he hopes will happen.

See also: The World's Largest Catsup Bottle is For Sale

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10 Things You Didn't Know About Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

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The Heath bar concrete. | Ian Froeb

Ted Drewes (6726 Chippewa Street; 314-481-2652) is a St. Louis institution, but you already knew that. Any St. Louisan worth their salt can conjure up daydreams of that creamy custard. But there are some things you (probably) don't know about the historic Route 66 landmark. Warning: Delicious photos ahead.

See also: #11: The Heath Bar Concrete at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

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Food Wine Design Culinary Week Celebrates Three of Our Favorite Things

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Copper River salmon a la Plancha with a soy-ginger glaze, black carrots and puree of English peas. | St. Louis Magazine

You already know we love food. We also love wine. But did you know we love design? The three actually go pretty well together, and all next week they'll be combined in one delicious package. The best chefs in St. Louis are getting together for St. Louis' Food Wine Design event next week. And when we say best, we aren't exaggerating.

See also: Hugh Jackman Fed the Beast at Pappy's

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Happy Memorial Day From Gut Check

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RFT Photo

Happy Memorial Day, Gut Checkers! We hope you're enjoying your day off as much as we are. The pools are open, the beer is cold and summer is here. We won't be posting today, but we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. In the meantime, be sure to watch our video from last weekend's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

See also: Wild Flower Celebrates Memorial Day with All-Night Pig Roast, All-Day Feast

Maplewood Becomes First Green Dining District

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The city of Maplewood has teamed up with the Green Dining Alliance to become the first-ever Green Dining District. That means at least 25 percent of all independently-owned businesses are Green Dining Alliance-certified. Basically, the GDA helps businesses with sustainability and green business practices while also helping them save money. So far, there are eight restaurants in downtown Maplewood that are GDA-certified.

See also: First Look: Blind Tiger's Pizza and Speakeasy-Inspired Drinks in Maplewood

Rachelle L'Ecuyer, manager of Maplewood's Special Business District (a.k.a. downtown), got involved with GDA and became a member of its steering committee. "I thought we [Maplewood] were an ideal location," she tells us. "It's almost a no-brainer."

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Mayor Slay Explains Provel to an Arkansas Middle Schooler

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Provel-covered pizza at Basso. | Jennifer Silverberg

A mere mention of Provel in St. Louis is sure to provoke one of two feelings: admiration or disdain. There is no in between. Love it or hate it, it's ingrained in St. Louis' culture and culinary scene. So when a girl from an Arkansas border town wrote to Mayor Francis Slay about St. Louis, he just had to give Provel a shoutout.

See also: Today is Officially "Imo's Day" in St. Louis

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