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

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The Majestic. | Google Street View

After more than 50 years in business, the Majestic Restaurant (4900 Laclede Avenue; 314-361-2011) in the Central West End will close next week. Second generation owner Pete Politis is selling the business.

See also: Majestic Restaurant Celebrates the Big 5-0

Update 11:30 a.m.: Ian Froeb of the Post-Dispatch writes that he spoke to Politis this morning, who said the situation is "up in the air." We'll update as things become more clear.

Update 3:45 p.m.: We received an e-mail from owner Pete Politis. See his comment below.

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Gerard Craft, Kevin Nashan James Beard Award Foundation Finalists

Categories: This Just In

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Gerard Craft at Niche. | Jennifer Silverberg

The finalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards were announced this morning in Chicago. St. Louis had a number of chefs (and a restaurant) in the semifinals, and so far we're not completely empty-handed. Gerard Craft of Niche and Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe are finalists for Best Chef: Midwest.

See also: Lewis, Nashan, Galliano Among 2014 James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalists

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UPDATED: Local Harvest Will Close Its Downtown Cafe

Categories: This Just In

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Local Harvest in better times. | Jennifer Silverberg

In the aftermath of a wildly successful social-media campaign that raised $120,000 as well as some eyebrows about its business acumen, Local Harvest announced this morning that it will close its downtown cafe.

See also: Local Harvest Reaches $120,000 Fundraising Goal: What's Next?

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UPDATED: Fire at Overlook Farm Burns Restaurant "To the Ground"

Categories: This Just In

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A fire at the restaurant at Nathalie Pettus' Overlook Farm (901 South Highway 79, Clarksville; 573-242-3838) early this morning burned the building to the ground, Pettus tells Gut Check. No one was hurt, but as of now she doesn't know what caused the fire.

See also: Nathalie's to Bring Overlook Farm to Former Home of Salt

"We will rebuild; we will be fine. No one's losing their job. We just go forward," Pettus says.


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Taste of St. Louis Moving to Chesterfield

Categories: This Just In

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       Taste of St. Louis 2013. | Steve Truesdell

Downtown food festival Taste of St. Louis is moving to Chesterfield, event organizers announced today. It has traditionally been held at the Soldiers Memorial Plaza near other downtown instutions like the Peabody Opera House, Union Station and St. Louis City Hall.

See also: The Food of Taste of St. Louis 2013

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Graham's Grill, Closed Since Owner's Retirement, to Unveil New Menu and Concept

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The old Graham's. | Stew Smith

Graham's Grill & Bayou Bar (612 West Woodbine, Kirkwood) will soon be resurrected by a new generation. After the Kirkwood neighborhood favorite closed December 31, we heard that owner Dan Graham was passing the torch to his kids. Son Devin Graham confirmed to Gut Check this week that he and his sister Alison will indeed be opening a new restaurant at 612 West Woodbine.

See also: Graham's Grill & Bayou Bar in Kirkwood Closed December 31

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Blood & Sand Owners to Take Over Vacant Citygarden Restaurant

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The stunning new home of Death in the Afternoon. | Jennifer Silverberg

We were hoping Shake Shack would get in on the Citygarden space vacated by Joe's Chili Bowl, but it looks like the new tenants will be a little more high-end. The owners of Blood & Sand (1500 St. Charles Street; 314-241-7263), the members-only bar and restaurant, are taking over the space and calling their new restaurant Death in the Afternoon. The name is either inspired by the Ernest Hemingway novel, or the drink of the same name, also invented by Hemingway -- it's absinthe and Champagne.

See also: Nick Martinkovic on Leaving Central Table for Blood & Sand

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Jimmy Fallon Visits Crown Candy Kitchen

Categories: This Just In

Comedian and future Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon was in town last night for the first leg of his "Clean Cut" tour, and hey, guy's gotta eat, right?

So he went classic St. Louis and had lunch at Crown Candy Kitchen (1401 St. Louis Avenue; 314-621-9650).

We're dying to know what he thought, but more importantly -- especially now that he and Jimmy Kimmel will be rivals in the world of late night -- WHAT DOES HE THINK OF IMO'S?!

See also: Jon Hamm Defends Imo's on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (VIDEO)

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Strange Donuts' 6 a.m. Opening Draws Crowd of Over 100

Categories: This Just In

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Time to eat the doughnuts. | Jon Gitchoff

A crowd of doughnut-craving St. Louisans began lining up at 4:30 a.m. for Strange Donuts' much-anticipated opening this morning. Gut Check photographer and reporter-on-the-scene Jon Gitchoff says the line of more than 100 wound down Sutton Boulevard and reached past Saratoga Lanes before dawn broke.

So, we had to ask the obvious question: "WHY? Why would anybody get up at the crack of dawn for doughnuts?" After the jump, a collection of some of the best responses (and some delectable photos).

See also: Photos: A Pre-Dawn Line for Donuts (Not Cronuts) at Strange Donuts

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Coco Louco is Out; Evangeline's New Orleans Takes Over Former Space in Central West End

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The gutted former interior of Coco Louco. | Nancy Stiles

On Friday we broke the news that Coco Louco Brasil closed September 30. Legally embattled chef Jorge Carvalho is barely out the door, but a new tenant is already hard at work on a brand-new restaurant, as we discovered during a visit to the Central West End.

Restaurateur Don Bailey had the keys turned over to him on October 1. Bailey and his team, including nineteen-year-old chef-in-training Maggie Ducey, have been working feverishly ever since to get the place cleaned up and transformed into a New Orleans-inspired bistro called Evangeline's New Orleans.

"I want to make it a neighborhood bar more or less -- sophisticated but not so upscale that you can't just come in and hang out and have fun," Bailey tells Gut Check. "I don't want to do anything that's too trendy. I've been in the business long enough to know that trendy food comes and goes. We're in the Midwest -- people like to drink beer and have fun."

See also: Coco Louco Brasil in the Central West End Closed

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