Mob City Cast Ate at Charlie Gitto's on the Hill

Jon Bernthal of The Walking Dead at Wizard World 2014. | Jon Gitchoff

The nerds were out in full force earlier this month for Wizard World 2014. It's basically the Comic Con of St. Louis. Joss Whedon favorite Nathan Fillion helped a couple get engaged; even William Shatner was here.

See also: The Three Best Things About Wizard World 2014

Several celebs have been in St. Louis recently (believe it or not, it actually happens), and they've taken in our growing food scene. Jimmy Fallon went to Crown Candy Kitchen. Judah Friedlander ordered -- and hated -- Imo's. Alton Brown fell in love with Pi Pizzeria.

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Backbar at Scape is Ready for Spring

Categories: Restaurant News

The dining area at Backbar. | Nancy Stiles

Scape (48 Maryland Plaza; 314-361-7227) is a well-known Central West End hot spot for dinner, but it's easy to forget there's an outdoor lounge, too. The bistro has been prepping its patio for spring and is even upgrading it with two 72-inch flat screens to watch all those Cards games. We got a sneak peek before the upcoming opening on Thursday, April 24.

See also: The Best Easter Brunches in St. Louis: 2014

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Skyrocketing Lime Prices Force Local Restaurants to Get Creative

Categories: Restaurant News

Limes are getting pricey. | Florian Maul

You may have noticed the limes at your local grocery store are a little pricier than usual. Come on, 99 cents for one tiny citrus? Those high prices are hitting restaurants that order limes in bulk even harder. Some 98 percent of the limes eaten in the United States come from Mexico, a place that was hard hit by this winter's polar vortex and has also seen escalating drug-cartel violence.

See also: Mission Accomplished: Mission Taco Joint spices things up in the Loop

"Unfortunately, we've just been eating the cost," Mission Taco Joint co-owner Adam Tilford tells us. "We do fresh-squeezed lime juice in all our margaritas and use it in a lot of our dishes. We've been asking if people want one instead of just bringing it out. It's part of our business, so it's nothing we can really get away from."

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Wild Flower Taking Over the Majestic for Barbecue Restaurant

Categories: Restaurant News

The Wild Thing pizza at Wild Flower. | Tara Mahadevan

Despite protests to the contrary, the Majestic (4900 Laclede Avenue) closed last week after more than 50 years in the Central West End. Its neighbor Wild Flower (4590 Laclede Avenue; 314-367-9888) has bought the space and will spend the next few months transforming it into a barbecue joint called BBQ Saloon. We talked to co-owner Tracy Czarnec about her plans and why she and husband Phil love the CWE.

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

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Dave Bailey Responds to Small Batch Criticism: "I'm Taking Full Responsibility"

Categories: Restaurant News

Inside Small Batch. | Jennifer Silverberg

Prolific restaurateur Dave Bailey announced this week that even before his second Rooster location is open, he's working on a new barbecue place. We were a bit surprised at the news -- not only has his vegetarian and whiskey restaurant Small Batch (3001 Locust Street; 314-380-2040) been open for just over three months, it has gotten less-than-favorable reviews from RFT and others.

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

"I don't want there to be any question as to the poor reviews of Small Batch having any bearing on this [barbecue] restaurant at all," Bailey tells Gut Check. "I've been building these three restaurants simultaneously, and I'm taking full responsibility for the lack of consistency for the food at Small Batch. I already knew before those reviews came out there were consistency issues."

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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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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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Gamlin Whiskey House's New Barrel Room: An Exclusive Sneak Peek

Categories: Restaurant News

Almost done! | Nancy Stiles

The bar at Gamlin Whiskey House (236 North Euclid Avenue; 314-875-9500) is routinely packed. Owners Lucas and Derek Gamlin have a very simple solution, though: expand into the space next door. Next week the brothers will unveil the Barrel Room in the former Green Bean space.

See also: Gamlin Whiskey House Is a Warm, Welcome Retreat

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Planter's House Debuts Happy Hour Menu

Categories: Restaurant News

Co-owner and master mixologist Ted Kilgore behind the bar. | Jennifer Silverberg

The cocktails at Planter's House (1000 Mississippi Avenue; 314-696-6203) are like works of art. Intellectually curious, we called them. Unfortunately, at upward of $10 apiece, we can't all afford to be curious. Starting today, you can get a selection of drinks and small plates at Planter's House for just $5.

See also: Planter's House is built on a foundation of mixology magic

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The Libertine Offers CSA Shares With Josh Galliano's Touch

The Libertine. | Jennifer Silverberg

It's finally farmers' market season, and we can't wait to eat all that fresh, local produce every weekend. This year, the Libertine (7927 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-862-2999) is making it even easier to support local farmers. It's offering a CSA (community supported agriculture) program called Growing Season. The best part? You'll end up with Libertine-made goodies in your share, too.

See also: Maude's Market and CSA Calls It Quits

"The idea really stemmed from all of us having a really great connection with our local farmers and watning to extend that back out in the community," general manager Victoria Mitchell tells us.

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