Twisted Ranch Chef Quit During Soft Opening, Owner Says

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Sarah Fenske
Johnathan Tinker (left), who had been hired as the chef at Twisted Ranch, is shown here with owners Jim Hayden and Chad Allen.

UPDATE: We've heard from the chef who walked off the job. See the latest for more information.

Original post follows:

Johnathan Tinker, the chef who'd been slated to open the nation's first ranch-dressing-themed restaurant, Twisted Ranch, walked off the job 20 minutes into the restaurant's first night of soft opening on June 26, as the restaurant's co-owner confirmed to Riverfront Times this morning.

The unexpected departure has pushed back the restaurant's opening. Twisted Ranch had originally announced a June 30 opening date, only to announce on Facebook just a day or two before that the date had changed. Up until this point, no explanation had been given.

But co-owners Jim Hayden and Chad Allen have since hired another chef and hope to announce a new opening date soon.

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At Meshuggah Cafe, a Regular Becomes Owner as Patrick Liberto Says Goodbye

Photo by Kevin Korinek
Jen Kaslow recently purchased Meshuggah Cafe

Patrick Liberto, who has owned Meshuggah Cafe since 1997, has sold the Delmar Loop mainstay and is moving back to his home state of Louisiana.

But the Loop's loss is a gain for one regular customer: A school teacher named Jen Kaslow decided to purchase the business on a whim. She'll take the reigns on July 17.

Kaslow had been patronizing Meshuggah Cafe (6269 Delmar Blvd., 314-726-5662) with her family for nearly fifteen years, going back to its original location on Melville Avenue. Last month, when Liberto happened to mention that he was selling the business, Kaslow's mind started spinning with the possibilities.

"Normally, I would've asked if everything was OK," she says. "Instead, I had this out-of-body experience and I asked what he was doing with Meshuggah's. He told me he was selling it and I said right there, 'I want to buy it.' And that was it.

"I had no plans to quit my job," she admits. "It wasn't about coffee and I never had a fantasy about being a cafe owner."

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Clayton Restaurant Week 2015: Our 4 Top Picks

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Mabel Suen
Oysters will be one offering from Coastal Bistro and Bar for this summer's Clayton Restaurant Week.

Clayton Restaurant Week happens every summer, so it's not like it's a surprise, but it's still an occasion to note -- and to plan for. This year, the city's restaurant week runs from July 13 to July 19 and features 16 restaurants offering three-course dinner menus for $25, not including tax and tip.

The week is a chance for food enthusiasts to discover new restaurants they've been wanting to try, or to revisit old favorites, sampling their featured menus without having to take out a loan from the bank.

This year's participants run the gamut from high-end to casual. Here are our four favorite deals:

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Chef Cassy Vires Leaving Juniper This Week

Categories: Restaurant News

Cassy Vires and husband Josh Renbarger. | Jennifer Silverberg

Perhaps there wasn't enough room in the oven for all of those biscuits?

Over the weekend, Juniper (360 North Boyle Avenue; 314-329-7696) owner John Perkins announced the departure of head chef Cassy Vires in an email message to his loyal guests. Perkins will resume his role at the helm of the kitchen this week.

See Also: Juniper Removes Too-Trendy Fried Chicken From Menu

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Crushed Red Opens Third Location in Creve Coeur

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
The Steakhouse pizza at Crushed Red.

Crushed Red Urban Bake & Chop Shop, the fast-casual chain that began in St. Louis three years ago, just opened its third location in Creve Coeur (11635 Olive Boulevard; 314-942-3000) on Tuesday -- and it's already packing in eager lunch crowds.

But co-owner Chris LaRocca is not taking a deep breath, much less resting on his laurels. As dinner service is about to begin, he's fussing over the music.

"I just want to get it right," he says. "And it's so wrong right now I want to put a gun to my head." Suffice it to say, when LaRocca eschewed Pandora and hired an "audio architect" to get the playlist just right, Kool and the Gang is not what he had in mind.

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Chef Josh Galliano Leaving The Libertine; Matt Bessler Named New Executive Chef (UPDATED)

Categories: Restaurant News

The Libertine is facing some big changes. | Jennifer Silverberg

UPDATE: We updated this post after publication to include comments from Chef Galliano. See the end of the post for the latest information.

Original post follows....

Big changes are in store for The Libertine (7927 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-862-2999). Proprietors Nick and Audra Luedde announced that chef Josh Galliano is leaving the acclaimed Clayton restaurant. Taking over the kitchen is Matt Bessler, a long-time friend of Nick Luedde and the former chef of Schlafly Bottleworks.

See Also: The Libertine's Josh Galliano Brings a Taste of the Mississippi to the James Beard House

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Bruno's Closes; Contents for Sale in Online Auction

Photo by Kristie McClanahan
A sign that went up a few days ago advertises Bruno's contents for sale.

In south St. Louis, lots of people knew to say "Olive this bar!" when talking about Bruno's American Grill -- a low-key neighborhood joint near Clifton Heights with solid pub food, a large whiskey selection and Yahtzee games on the tables.

But apparently it wasn't enough to keep the place open -- Bruno's has closed its doors, and a financial consulting company that handles asset recovery for creditors has commenced an online auction of its contents.

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The BBQ Saloon Now Open in the Central West End

Photo by Sarah Fenske
The pulled pork sandwich comes with your choice of side for $10.

When Phil and Tracy Czarnec, owners of the Wildflower Grill, first announced they were opening a barbecue joint in the Central West End, their marketing director told the Post-Dispatch it could be open by late summer -- and by that, he meant the summer of 2014.

That didn't happen, obviously. Nor did The BBQ Saloon open in the fall, or winter, or early spring of 2015. By May, the storefront at Euclid and Laclede had taken to sporting a sign that read, "Coming Sometime Soon, LOL."

But last Thursday, the restaurant finally opened its doors -- and drew a steady drumbeat of customers all weekend long. By late Saturday night, as well as Sunday around 6 p.m., servers were apologizing for running out of various staples.

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Miss Leon's to Close on Sunday [UPDATE]

Categories: Restaurant News

Leon Augustus Braxton Jr., a.k.a "Miss Leon." | Mabel Suen

Updated with comments from chef Leon Augustus Braxton Jr.

In some sad news coming out of Bomber's Hideaway, chef Leon Augustus Braxton Jr., aka "Miss Leon," has announced that his beloved Southern restaurant Miss Leon's (3960 Chouteau Avenue, 314-652-0011) will close this Sunday, May 31.

Tomorrow's all-you-can-eat fried chicken extravaganza, an event that put his restaurant on the map and garnered him a cult following, will be the last, at least for the foreseeable future.

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The Good Pie to Close; Mike Randolph Opening Randolfi's in August

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Pizza at The Good Pie featuring egg, cured pork belly, parmigiano and sage.

At the end of June, St. Louis' premiere Neapolitan-style pizzeria, The Good Pie, will close its doors.

But lovers of The Good Pie's pizza need not despair. Chef Mike Randolph plans to reopen a new restaurant, Randolfi's, in the same space on the Delmar Loop in early August -- a concept that will also include the recipes he developed for The Good Pie.

The difference is that the pizza side of the menu will be much shorter -- likely four pies in total, Randolph says -- and supplemented by many other offerings, including a sizable pasta section. The look of the restaurant will also change dramatically.

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