When St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced last week that restaurants must halt indoor dining for at least four weeks, effective Nov. 17, Katie Collier had already planned her next pivot during the coronavirus pandemic.
Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria in Rock Hill and Town and Country has unveiled a new system for ordering curbside pickup and delivery online. It has launched in-house delivery to keep its employees on the payroll. It is trumpeting its “perfected” frozen pizzas, a vital revenue stream introduced back when we counted the pandemic’s duration in weeks, not months.
Collier had already noted the area’s surging number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, she said, “and we kind of sensed that this (shutdown) was coming. And so we were really ready this time.
“And we’ve also had eight months of doing this.”
Eights months into the pandemic, this new vocabulary of restaurant operations is indeed familiar. Pivots. Curbside pickup. Socially distanced tables.
Now, though, a long, difficult winter looms over restaurants. The virus is spreading out of control, further federal relief had stalled even before Congress entered its lame-duck session, and enhanced unemployment benefits expired months ago.
Interviews with more than a dozen St. Louis-area restaurant owners reveal no clear path through the storm.
“It's really hard,” said Loryn Nalic of Balkan Treat Box in Webster Groves. “It's hard to put into words, too, just because I think everyone's sort of exhausted — just naturally exhausted from the stress of what's going on and then not knowing what's going to happen.”
Andy Karandzieff of Crown Candy Kitchen is optimistic in the short term because of holiday candy sales at his 107-year-old Old North St. Louis institution.
“But I don't know what happens after Thanksgiving and Christmas,” he said. “January is the one that scares the hell out of all of us.”
This week’s shutdown of indoor dining in St. Louis County has shocked many in the industry, even prompting talk of defying the order and legal action.
Jim Fiala of the Crossing in Clayton and Acero in Maplewood was not surprised, however.
“I didn't expect anything different from Sam Page,” he said. “And I'm disappointed because I don't believe — with all my heart I don't believe — that restaurants are the problem. I think it's low-lying fruit.”
By pandemic standards, Fiala’s restaurants have been doing well. The Crossing has seen strong dine-in and takeout business; takeout has not been as robust at Acero, but thanks in part to its larger patio, it has welcomed more diners. Fiala has also noticed his guests spending more than usual: a nicer bottle of wine, an even more generous tip.
With the new dining-room shutdown, Fiala is not worried about his restaurants.
“It's employees that I worry about,” he said. “There's no (Paycheck Protection Program) money coming. There's no extra assistance with unemployment. I've been very happy that I've been able to keep every employee employed since the beginning, and this is the first time where I'm like, I don't know what's going to happen.”
“We’re completely screwed,” said Qui Tran, who must close the dining rooms of his family’s Brentwood restaurant Mai Lee and the Creve Coeur location of Nudo House, which he operates with Marie-Anne Velasco.
The timing is especially bad, Tran argues. Not only is there no stimulus coming to support restaurants, but restaurants also depend on November and December revenue to pay taxes.
“For someone who's worked so hard to try to keep everybody paid and try to keep everything afloat, and then now this (happens), it's completely devastating,” he said. “Because now I can't hang on to certain people.”
Tran does not blame County Executive Page for the shutdown. Instead, he echoes the pleas of health officials to wear a mask.
“And then when we don't do that, because we're all self-righteous and not considerate, I mean, stuff like this happens,” he said.
No secret recipe
Yet even where dining rooms remain open, there is no secret recipe for navigating the months to come.
In the city, where dine-in service is currently allowed at 50% capacity, John Perkins has begun welcoming guests back inside his Central West End restaurant Juniper.
In July, Perkins announced he was voluntarily closing his dining room “for the foreseeable future” to focus on takeout and delivery. For the past couple of months, though, what Juniper has earned each week has been consistent and “a far cry from what we need to be pulling in.”
The issue is not the takeout-delivery model, per se, Perkins believes, but public perception.
Juniper may change its model, he said, “but that doesn't mean that we've changed who we are in the mind of the public. And people don't come to Juniper for a takeout experience.
“I don't care how well we've adapted to that. It's not who we are and not how the public thinks of us.”
Cafe Natasha's is also not viewed as a takeout restaurant, said Natasha Bahrami, who operates the Tower Grove East restaurant with her mother, Hamishe Bahrami.
Still, she said, “I think we were surprised that whatever our takeout (business) is, it's been staying steady, and it's a massive help to our survival.
“However, that's where the decision to open (the) inside came. Unfortunately, there's no possibility for us to survive off of takeout. Even if that increases double, we still can't survive off of takeout.”
When the weather permits, Cafe Natasha's is seating diners on its patio rather than in its dining rooms. The cost of installing heaters on that patio is prohibitive, Bahrami said, so the restaurant is banking on some pleasant days over the months to come.
“We’re going take whatever we get right through the St. Louis winter,” she said.
Few restaurants have transformed their outdoor space as dramatically as Ben Poremba’s Olio in Botanical Heights. Poremba expanded its patio into what had been a small parking lot, and alongside regular patio tables he installed individual “greenhouses,” each with a table inside.
When guests make reservations online, Poremba says, “they want to sit in the greenhouses. It’s kind of cool to see.”
In addition to Olio, Poremba operates two other restaurants in the neighborhood — the adjacent Elaia and Nixta — as well as a retail store, AO&Co. (His fourth restaurant, the Benevolent King in Maplewood, remains closed until further notice.)
“I think I can sustain a good chunk of my business through that store,” he said.
Still, if the coming winter is cold, and there is no further financial relief (he is hopeful, but not counting on it), Poremba believes no restaurants will be able to survive without “sacrificing the health of the employees and sacrificing the health of the guests by sitting more and more people inside.”
Making it work
Some restaurants that have voluntarily closed their dining rooms or have generally not relied on dine-in service have found a way forward.
Stone Soup Cottage in Cottleville pivoted from fine dining that requires reservations months in advance to home delivery of a three-course dinner (candle, linens and stemware included).
The “Cottage to Carriage” program has been a “blessing” owner Carl McConnell said — so successful that he and his wife and co-owner, Nancy, have no immediate plans to reopen Stone Soup’s dining room, even though St. Charles County allows it.
“I think that hard times spur creativity in a lot of people,” McConnell said.
Steve’s Hot Dogs in Tower Grove East sees an occasional guest in its dining room, but owner Steve Ewing said the restaurant’s small size has meant a focus on takeout and delivery. It fits with the restaurant’s mission.
“We're in a neighborhood,” Ewing said, “and the idea is to feed the neighborhood folks, folks that don't want to cook, who want to come home from work (and) get some food for the kids wherever it's convenient.”
To supplement its takeout-only service, Rice Thai Bistro in Winchester has started selling bottles of its stir-fry and pad thai sauces.
Bryan Prapaisilpa, who operates the restaurant with his wife, Nina, said while being open for dine-in service would be better, “I think we can make it through” the pandemic.
After its initial shutdown this spring, SweetArt Bakeshop & Café in Shaw has offered only curbside pickup since May.
“It's been working better than I thought it would, and I am so grateful,” owner Reine Bayoc said.
She credits a number of factors: a “loyal crew” of fans of SweetArt’s baked goods and savory plant-based fare; regular daily specials; new customers seeking to support Black-owned businesses during the turmoil that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Bayoc is optimistic about the future.
“There have been so many other mishaps in these last 12 years that should have taken me out,” she said. “SweetArt should've been dead 12 years ago, eight years ago, five years ago, and for some reason, by the grace of God and the ancestors, I've always managed to keep it going.
“I believe that will continue. I believe I'll close when I want to, not because I have to.”
A fragmented region
That no one formula for riding out the pandemic can fit every restaurant should not be surprising. But with dining rooms now closed in the county and closed since late October in the Metro East, the region’s restaurants do not share the same playing field.
Vito’s in the Valley in Chesterfield was “as busy as we can be, with the restrictions and the guidelines and everything like that,” owner Giovanni LaFata said in an interview before the county’s new public-health order.
The restaurant had a plan for a reduction to 25% capacity, LaFata’s wife and co-owner, Jessica, said in an interview after the county order was announced, "but to go from 50% to zero dine-in is a shock."
LaFata said she feels both “targeted” and “isolated” by the new shutdown.
“It was really only this industry that's having to close indoors, and (we are) also the only county that's doing it,” she said. “I feel like we're kind of sandwiched in between other open counties, and so I don't know how effective that is.”
Matt McGuire of Louie in Clayton, just west of the city-county line, agrees.
“Obviously, it's going to hurt all of us in the county really bad,” he said. "But the frustrating part is, without any coordination, it's sort of like a parable for what the greater national problem is, that we don't have any coordination at all.”
David Sandusky, who with his wife, Meggan, owns the Beast barbecue restaurants, finds himself on both sides of the divide. Beast Butcher & Block in Forest Park Southeast’s Grove neighborhood remains open for limited dine-in as well as takeout and delivery, while the original Beast Craft BBQ Co. in Belleville had to close its dining room last month.
“We are following the mitigations, and it's destroyed our business,” he said. “We're doing January numbers all year, and that's obviously real bad.”
The Sanduskys are focusing on adding revenue streams. They have already launched one ghost kitchen, Wing Runner STL, and plan additional concepts. They are opening a new location in Columbia, Illinois, and launching a food truck.
“Our goal right now is just to throw as many things at the wall as we can to survive the next few months, hope that a vaccine comes out sometime soon, and hope for the best,” Sandusky said.
“Hope is really the only thing that that we have to hang on to.”
Head of Economic Development Partnership says some kind of financial aid is planned — by the end of the year.
Even in pandemic, new restaurants in St. Louis abound — a guide to 18 recently opened spots
18 new restaurants: Introduction
When Logan Ely announced plans for his second restaurant, the Lucky Accomplice, the timing was audacious. It was late March, mere days after dining rooms across the region had shuttered temporarily in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a funny time to decide to build another restaurant,” he told the Post-Dispatch at the time.
Ely had already signed a lease for the new space and had begun construction, though. And he was optimistic that diners would return to restaurants once the pandemic had passed.
The Lucky Accomplice officially opens this week. The pandemic continues. Ely’s first restaurant, the acclaimed Shift (originally known as Savage), is now closed until further notice after operating for several months with a dramatically different, takeout-focused menu.
“There’s obvious worries, for sure,” Ely says about opening the Lucky Accomplice now. “But I’m excited. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Six months later, opening a new restaurant in the teeth of a pandemic might still seem audacious. Some prominent restaurants have already closed: Gamlin Whiskey House, Cusanelli’s, the Feasting Fox. The threat of cold weather looms over the many places relying on outdoor tables to make up for reduced dining-room capacity.
Yet Ely is not alone in opening now. Just since Aug. 1, at least 18 new restaurants have debuted. (And this does not even include the various ghost-kitchen concepts that established restaurants have launched.)
The mosaic is remarkable: a pizzeria spinoff from the beloved Olive + Oak; a coffee shop from two brothers from Honduras; both an independent restaurant featuring Korean chicken gangjeong and the first area location of a Korean fried chicken chain with locations around the world.
For Jason Lamont, the pandemic shaped the conception of his first restaurant, Love at First Bite. The St. Ann storefront was already set up to be a takeout-only restaurant.
“I could have took the wall back and made a sitting area for, maybe, what, four or five tables — you know, a small dine-in restaurant — but I was like, with this (pandemic) going on, it only makes sense for it to be carryout,” Lamont says.
Demetria Jackson says she was “nervous” to open a brick-and-mortar location of her delivery-based bakery SistaGirl Sweets during the pandemic.
Still, she says, “I just have a lot of faith. I didn’t listen to the people that had the negativity.”
One inspector straight-up told Jackson she had chosen the wrong time to open.
“I just use those type of words as fuel to the motivation for me to keep going,” she says.
Restaurant services and hours of operation are liable to change during the coronavirus pandemic. Please contact the restaurant directly for the latest information.
Asador del Sur
Maria Giamportone and Daniel Gonzalez are from Ecuador and Uruguay, respectively, and the married couple’s Maplewood restaurant draws on fare from those two and other South and Latin American countries.
Asador del Sur features seafood and beef. “I was raised to go to the ocean,” Giamportone says, while of her husband’s native Uruguay, she adds, “they eat beef for anything — you know, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
As highlights, Giamportone mentions tira de asado (Uruguayan-style beef short ribs) and carabineros a la plancha, large red prawns from Spain.
“You suck the juice from the head,” she says. “That’s my favorite.”
Where 7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood • More info 314-802-8587; asadordelsur.com • Menu Ecuadoran, Uruguayan and other South and Latin American fare • Current services Dine-in; patio dining; takeout; delivery • Hours 4-9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)
Phatcharin Wanna has transformed Kiin Essentially Thai, the downtown outpost of her acclaimed Delmar Loop restaurant Fork & Stix, into a new concept. At Aubergine Cafe, she says, the menu is Thai food “with a twist.”
As an example, Wanna says, in Thailand the dish Dancing Shrimp would be freshly caught live shrimp tossed in a bowl with seasoning and still jumping or dancing.
“But of course we cannot get that (here),” she says, “so I just use Argentinean red shrimp instead, and they’re soft-boiled and then tossed into the seasoning.”
Another highlight, Wanna says, is the Thai Bolognese with pork and tomato.
Where 550 North Seventh Street • More info 314-241-9990 • Menu Thai fare • Current services Dine-in; takeout • Hours Lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon-3 p.m. Saturday, dinner 5-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
Balaban’s has returned to the Central West End — sort of. New owner Karen Halper plans to reopen the iconic restaurant, which under its previous owners had operated for several years in Chesterfield, across the street from its original location.
For now, Balaban’s chef Phil Stemmler is offering curbside pickup and, via the Central West End’s Streetery outdoor-dining program, limited patio dining using the kitchen of another of Halper’s businesses, Patty Long Catering.
Director of operations Ken Fowler points to the beef Wellington and eggplant roulade as menu highlights. That menu has been pared down, he says, “to focus on the classics.”
As for the new Balaban’s dining room, Fowler says right now, with construction delays from the coronavirus pandemic, it is two years from opening.
Where 412 North Euclid Avenue • More info 314-621-9598; balabanswine.com • Menu Beef Wellington, cucumber bisque and more classic Balaban’s fare • Current services Takeout; patio dining • Hours Curbside pickup 3-7 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday (48 hours advance ordering required), patio dining 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday (reservations required) (closed Monday-Tuesday)
This is the first area location of BB.Q Chicken, a Korea-based chain of Korean fried-chicken restaurants. There are some 2,100 locations: 1,800 in Korea and 300 elsewhere around the world, including 48 in the United States.
Andrew Lee, strategy and operations manager for the company’s U.S. operations, says the place to start is the Secret Spicy Chicken, fried chicken tossed in a sauce of tomato, garlic, onion and spices.
Lee also recommends the Honey Garlic chicken and the Gangnam Style Wings in a black-pepper sauce. Among BB.Q Chicken’s non-chicken dishes are kimchi fried rice and ddeokbokki.
Where 1334 Central Park Drive, O’Fallon, Illinois • More info 618-589-9909; facebook.com/bbqofallon • Menu Korean-style fried chicken and more Korean fare • Current services Takeout; delivery • Hours 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
Brothers Patrick and Spencer Clapp, who were born and raised in Honduras and started developing their love for coffee as teenagers, founded Coffeestamp as a microroastery in 2018. They have now opened a coffee bar in Fox Park.
Patrick Clapp says after starting slowly with roasting coffee and selling it at wholesale, online and at farmers markets, he and his brother knew “the next step was to be able to brew it and talk to people about the coffee.”
In addition to coffee, Coffeestamp’s new storefront features desserts, empanadas and a few sandwiches.
Where 2511 South Jefferson Avenue • More info 314-797-8113; coffeestamp.com • Menu Coffee bar with a light menu of empanadas, sandwiches and desserts • Current services Patio dining; takeout • Hours 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
Bryan “Chef B” Scott’s food truck has established a brick-and-mortar home in a retail strip in Carondelet. The new restaurant features the truck’s signature duo of hot dogs and mac and cheese, each of which is available with various toppings.
The storefront’s expanded menu includes fried whole chicken wings, chicken strips, fried shrimp and the Dang! Burger. The overall approach at Doggie Mac’s, Scott says, is “all the flavors of the world, but with a soul-food emphasis.”
As of early September, the restaurant’s biggest seller was the Dang! Burger.
“It’s a half-pound, D-A-N-G, ‘Dang!’ burger,” Scott says.
Where 5622 South Grand Boulevard • More info 314-626-4221; doggiemacsbychefb.com • Menu Hot dogs, mac and cheese, burgers and more • Current services Takeout • Hours 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday (closed Wednesday and Sunday; check social media for food truck availability)
Dogwood Social House
Dogwood Social House in Ellisville is a restaurant, bar and entertainment venue, with arcade games, ax throwing and more. Though Dogwood Social House is new to the St. Louis area, this is its second location, following the original in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
The extensive food menu includes wings, pizza, burgers and sandwiches, steaks and seafood. Also expansive is the selection of beer, cocktails, shots and spirits.
Where 15682 Manchester Road, Ellisville • More info 636-323-4227; dogwoodsocialhouse.com • Menu Pizza, burgers, sandwiches, wings and more • Current services Dine-in; takeout • Hours 11 a.m.-midnight Wednesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m. Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)
This small Overland restaurant features the Korean dish chicken gangjeong, deep-fried pieces of boneless chicken in one of three sauces (teriyaki, the spicy Fire or the spicier, gochujang-based Red). Michelle Baik, who owns Fire Chicken with husband Sungmin, says their version of the dish is closer to the original flavor than what you might find in Korea now.
There, she says, “they are not adding salt or soy sauce that much and they are not adding the sugar that much.”
Fire Chicken also offers fried shrimp in the same sauces as the chicken. Ramen, rice bowls and mandu round out the menu.
Where 10200 Page Avenue, Overland • More info 314-551-2123 • Menu Chicken gangjeong and other Korean fare • Current services Takeout; delivery • Hours 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
Hangar Kitchen + Bar
Hangar Kitchen + Bar now occupies the Rock Hill space vacated this year by the Slider House. The menu posted online ranges from sushi rolls (a Spicy Ahi Roll and Crab Rangoon Roll among them) to tacos (pork belly, short rib, tempura cod).
Other dishes include steak frites, carne-asada fries, and lobster mac and cheese. Reservations are recommended for dine-in service.
(Hangar’s owners did not respond to requests for comment.)
Where 9528 Manchester Road, Rock Hill • More info 314-473-1221; hangarkitchenandbarstl.com • Menu Eclectic contemporary fare • Current services Dine-in; patio dining; takeout • Hours 4-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 4-10 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday)
Juanita's Creole Soul Cafe
Juanita’s Creole Soul Cafe in Dutchtown is the first restaurant for chef Curtis McCann, who operated a catering company for the past two years. McCann says the inspiration for the Creole concept comes from his family, who are from the South, and his trips to New Orleans.
“I really love how New Orleans is really big on mom-and-pop restaurants — you know, those cozy little places with some really hearty foods,” he says.
Among Juanita’s signature dishes are the lobster roll, the creole curry chicken and the spicy Voodoo Pasta, which includes andouille sausage, chicken, crab and shrimp.
Where 3301 Meramec Street • More info 636-389-0738; creolesoulstl.com • Menu Creole fare • Current services Patio dining; takeout; delivery • Hours 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)
Lazy Tiger is a new cocktail bar from Travis Howard and Tim Wiggins, the team behind the Central West End restaurants Retreat Gastropub and Yellowbelly.
The bar showcases a relatively small number of bottles, with an emphasis on agave spirits (tequila, mezcal and raicilla), gin, rum and whiskey alongside fortified wines and amaro and other liqueurs.
“We don’t have anything that’s superfluous,” Wiggins says. “It’s very good-better-best (options) on how the spirits go.”
The cocktail menu is divided into seven categories: negronis, martinis, flips, clarified, highballs, sours and spirit-free. Beer, wine and a small food menu (fries, crab dip, grilled octopus toast) are also available.
Where 210 North Euclid Avenue • More info lazytigerstl.com • Menu Cocktail bar with a limited food menu • Current services Dine-in (reservations required) • Hours 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
Love at First Bite
Love at First Bite is the first restaurant for chef Jason Lamont, who has worked at numerous restaurants over a three-decade career. The takeout-only menu ranges from barbecue and sandwiches to fried rice and vegan fare.
Lamont says menu highlights are the BBLT (a BLT sandwich with beef bacon) and the Spinning Chicken Fries (fries topped with smoked chicken, Provel and spinach-artichoke-jalapeño dip). Barbecue includes ribs, pulled pork, brisket and turkey smoked over pecan and hickory wood.
One of the vegan dishes is a vegan St. Paul sandwich, which Lamont says is “amazing.”
“You can’t get that anywhere (else) in St. Louis,” he says. “Not yet.”
Where 10479 St. Charles Rock Road, St. Ann • More info 314-695-5440; loveatfirstbitestl.com • Menu Barbecue, sandwiches, fried rice and more • Current services Takeout • Hours 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
The Lucky Accomplice is the second restaurant from Logan Ely, the chef-owner of the acclaimed Shift (formerly known as Savage) in Fox Park. The Lucky Accomplice, also located in Fox Park, is a more casual restaurant than Shift.
Here, Ely says, he is “trying to loosen up and just have fun with it” while still supporting local farmers and sustainable ingredients, as he has done at Shift. Dishes include a giant tater tot dressed as if it were an everything bagel and a single toasted raviolo “the size of your head.”
While the Lucky Accomplice has opened, Ely will keep Shift closed until further notice.
Where 2501 South Jefferson Avenue • More info 314-354-6100; theluckyaccomplice.com • Menu Contemporary fare • Current services Patio dining • Hours 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Tuesday)
Mack's Bar & Grill
Mack Hill was the bartender at West End Bistro, which his uncle and aunt Kevin and Marion Green opened in DeBaliviere Place in 2019. When the Greens relocated their restaurant this summer to a larger space in the same neighborhood, Hill converted its original location into Mack’s Bar & Grill.
“I wanted the bar,” Hill says. “We were already established here, I already had the lease going and everything else, and it didn’t make sense not to take a chance at my dream.”
Mack’s features a more casual menu than West End Bistro, with pizza, sandwiches and burgers. Other dishes include a lamb gyro, nachos, and shrimp and grits.
Where 5513 Pershing Avenue • More info 314-354-8436; macksbarandgrill.com • Menu Pizza, burgers and more casual fare • Current services Dine-in; takeout • Hours noon-10 p.m. Monday and Thursday-Sunday (closed Tuesday-Wednesday)
Made. by Lia
Lia Weber, a previous winner of TLC’s “Next Great Baker” competition, has opened a storefront in Old Town Florissant. Made. by Lia offers a variety of baked goods — pastries, muffins, scones and cakes among them — as well as vegan and gluten-free options. Coffee and espresso drinks are also available.
Made. by Lia opened in August with the help of a Kickstarter campaign that aimed for $15,000 but ended up raising $25,000.
In general, Weber says, the response “has been amazing. We’ve had lines down the street.”
Where 610 Rue St. Francis, Florissant • More info 314-551-2383; madebylia.com • Menu Baked goods • Current services Patio dining; takeout • Hours 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
The new restaurant from the team behind Webster Groves blockbuster Olive + Oak and its sibling the Clover and the Bee takes over the space Olive + Oak vacated this summer for its new home nearby.
O+O Pizza features thin-crust pies inspired by New Haven, Roman and tavern-style pizzas. Co-owner Mark Hinkle says the overall approach is the same as at Olive + Oak and the Clover and the Bee: using “the best ingredients we can find.”
Chef Mike Risk also continues the Italian cooking he was showcasing at Clover and the Bee, with a selection of pastas, eggplant Parmesan and veal saltimbocca.
Where 102 West Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves • More info 314-942-1216; thecloverandthebee.com • Menu Pizza, pasta and more Italian fare • Current services Patio dining; takeout • Hours 5-9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 5-9 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)
Pocha is a “Korean-American family-owned restaurant and pub” in St. Ann, according its website. (Pocha’s owner could not be reached in time for publication.)
“Pocha STL is a comfy and easy place for you to relax and eat,” the website states.
According to the posted menu, Pocha’s fare includes kimbap, rice bowls, stews (kimchi, chicken, Army stew) and bibimbap.
Where 10678 St. Charles Rock Road, St. Ann • More info 314-429-4255; pocha-stl.com • Menu Korean fare • Current services Dine-in; takeout • Hours Call for current hours
Demetria Jackson has opened a storefront in downtown west for her bakery, which she launched as a delivery service in 2014. SistaGirl Sweets had become so busy, she says, that “I needed to broaden my horizons and take the leap of faith and get a storefront.”
Jackson says SistaGirl Sweets’ specialties are cheesecake and dessert jars, grab-and-go desserts packaged inside mason jars.
The brick-and-mortar location also features a new savory menu. The selection of soul-food fare includes fried chicken, meatloaf and smoked turkey legs as well as a vegetarian Cajun pasta and a vegan burger.
“I feel like you still should be able to eat good as a vegetarian,” Jackson says.
Where 1828 Washington Avenue • More info 314-571-9181; sistagirlsweets.com • Menu Desserts and soul food • Current services Dine-in; takeout; delivery • Hours noon-8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)