Tom Schmidt Talks Transforming Nico Into a Barbecue Restaurant

Tom Schmidt at Nico. | Jennifer Silverberg

There have been a flurry of restaurant announcements this week, and more than a few of them are barbecue related. Tom Schmidt, owner of Franco, is turning his other outpost, Nico (6525 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-0200) into a barbecue joint this spring.

See also: Dave Bailey Announces New Barbecue Restaurant in Downtown for Winter 2014

"We've had a great time at Nico here," Schmidt tells us. "We're really proud of everything we've done and love this restaurant and the Loop, but ultimately were more excited about this new passion."

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Dave Bailey Announces New Barbecue Restaurant in Downtown for Winter 2014

Dave Bailey at the Bridge. | Jennifer Silverberg

His restaurant Small Batch (3001 Locust Street; 314-380-2040) is just a baby in culinary years, but this week restaurateur Dave Bailey announced he is already on to the next one. The as-of-yet nameless place will serve barbecue at 1011 Olive Street in the historic building that was previously Bussone's Wine and Liquor.

See also: Small Batch's vegetarian and whiskey combo doesn't translate

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Bill's Market & Meats Closes After 25 Years

Bill's Market & Meats. | Google Street View

It seems as though Bill's Market & Meats -- sometimes listed as Bill's Riverview Meat Market -- has closed. The family-owned business at 10009 Bellefontaine Road was opened in 1988 by husband-and-wife team Bill and JoAnn Gebhart. Bill's was a big part of the close-knit Bellefontaine neighborhood, but the business took a hit over the past few years when the sluggish economy forced many to leave the area.

See also: Majestic Restaurant Confirms Closing; Readers Remember 50-Year Legacy

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Mike Shannon's Joins Lambert Airport

The barbecue bison burger with blue cheese and bacon on a brioche bun. | Jennifer Silverberg

After a successful expansion to Edwardsville, Illinois, Mike Shannon's is joining the game at Lambert Airport. The former Cardinal's restaurant will take over the space previously occupied by Mosaic. Mosaic shuttered its locations in Des Peres, downtown and at the airport in September 2013.

See also: Up to the Mike: Ol' Shannon has done it again -- with a grill in Edwardsville

"We felt like it was great timing -- we have a lot of confidence in the HMS Host people," Pat Shannon, Mike's daughter, says of the company who runs restaurants at Lambert. "We felt like it was a great partnership and jumped on it."

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Oceano in Chesterfield to Rebrand as Bishop's Post, Serving Upscale Comfort Food


Oceano Bistro (16125 Chesterfield Parkway West, Chesterfield; 636-536-9404) is completely overhauling its menu, look and concept and will reopen May 9 as Bishop's Post.

Oceano, which also has a location in Clayton, opened the Chesterfield outpost in August 2012. The space was previously Andria's Steakhouse. General manager Christy Rayfield tells us the changes come from listening to customer feedback. There was a lack of meat on the menu (Ocean being a seafood restaurant and all), but after diner demand, Rayfield and chef Dave Rook decided to "take more of an approach to a classic environment, but the best version of that."

See also: Tidbits: Oceano Bistro Changes Ownership; J. Greene's Pub, Mary Ann's Tea Shop to Open

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Bocci Bar Reopens This Weekend in Clayton

Inside the old Bocci Bar. | Jennifer Silverberg

Bocci Bar (16 N. Central Avenue, Clayton; 314-932-1040) is set to reopen this weekend after winter "modifications." In addition to interior reconstruction, owner Frank Schmitz is revamping the concept, too.

See also: Bowled Flavors: Can Bocci Bar separate itself from the Italian-restaurant pack?

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Giancarlo's Ristorante Owners Retiring After Decades


On the heels of another St. Louis institution's closure, Giancarlo's Ristorante (4915 Hampton Avenue; 314-351-8531) owners Tina Campieri and Francesca Taullo are retiring. They opened Giancarlo's in 1987 with Campieri's late husband Giuseppe.

See also: Majestic Restaurant Finalizing Sale, Future of 50-Year-Old Institution Uncertain [UPDATED]

"I'm very emotional about it, but I can't keep on going," Campieri, who turned 72 yesterday, tells Gut Check. "This is my home. But it's time."

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The Wheelhouse Teams Up with Space Architects for Downtown Expansion


In just a year, the Wheelhouse (15 North Central Avenue, Clayton; 314-726-7955) has become the go-to bar for Mizzou fans. We named it the Best Sports Bar this year -- beer, TVs and wings seems like an easy enough combination, but we've gone to our fair share of terrible sports bars. Luckily, Wheelhouse gets the formula just right. Co-owner Stephen Savage announced last week that the bar is pairing up with Space Architects to open a second location downtown.

See also: Best Sports Bar - 2013

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St. Louis Restaurant Openings & Closings: March 2014

Cinnamon roll doughnuts at Pharaoh's Donuts. | Mabel Suen

The beginning of the year was fairly slow, but things are heating up in St. Louis. We've had number of closures, but there are plenty of new places we can't wait to check out, too. See our list after the jump and be sure to let us know if we missed anything in the comments.

See also: First Look: Pharaoh's Donut's Traditional Doughnuts Downtown

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Siete Luminarias on Cherokee Has Closed

Siete Luminarias on Cherokee. | Jennifer Silverberg

Siete Luminarias (2818 Cherokee Street), one of the best Mexican restaurants in town, has closed after only around two years. Owned by brothers Luis and Ramon Garcia, Siete Luminarias wasn't exactly traditional, but was pretty authentic -- no Tex Mex here.

See also: Siete Luminarias' Guanajuato-Style Carnitas: One of 100 St. Louis Dishes You Must Eat Right Now

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