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balkan treat box chef and co-owner loryn nalic, p. 17


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JUNE 2019 • VOLUME 19, ISSUE 6 Cheetos or Doritos?


CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR CONTRIBUTING WRITERS I don’t think it’s fair to decide. It’s Sophie’s Choice. I like both. If it’s puffs, Cheetos. If it’s not puffs, Doritos.


To place advertisements in Sauce Magazine contact the advertising department at 314.772.8004 or sales@saucemagazine.com. To carry Sauce Magazine at your store, restaurant, bar or place of business Contact Allyson Mace at 314.772.8004 or amace@saucemagazine.com. All contents of Sauce Magazine are copyright ©2001-2019 by Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC. The Sauce name and logo are both registered to the publisher, Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC. Reproduction or other use, in

Any kind of Cheeto over any kind of Dorito

Allyson Mace Meera Nagarajan Heather Hughes Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Catherine Klene Adam Rothbarth, Matt Sorrell Lauren Healey Lauren Healey, Catherine Klene Michelle Volansky Megan Gilmore Julia Calleo, Jonathan Gayman, Ashley Gieseking, Virginia Harold, Elizabeth Jochum, Izaiah Johnson, David Kovaluk, Carmen Troesser, Michelle Volansky Vidhya Nagarajan Glenn Bardgett, Matt Berkley, Ryan Griffin, Justin Harris, Lauren Healey, Heather Hughes, Jamie Kilgore, Ted Kilgore, Catherine Klene, Meera Nagarajan, Michael Renner, Adam Rothbarth, Matt Sorrell, Darian Stevenson, Stephanie Zeilenga Allyson Mace Matt Bartosz, Bea Doerr, Angie Rosenberg Amy Hyde Amy Hyde James Boeckmann, Darian Stevenson

whole or in part, of the contents without permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. While the information has been compiled carefully to ensure maximum accuracy at the time of publication, it is provided for general guidance only and is subject to change. The publisher cannot guarantee the accuracy of all information or be responsible for omissions or errors. Additional copies may be obtained by providing a request at 314.772.8004 or via mail. Postage fee of $2.50 will apply. Sauce Magazine is printed on recycled paper using soy inks.

EDITORIAL POLICIES The Sauce Magazine mission is to provide St. Louis-area residents and visitors with unbiased, complete information on the area’s restaurant, bar and entertainment industry. Our editorial content is not influenced by who advertises with Sauce Magazine or saucemagazine.com. Our reviewers are never provided with complimentary food or drinks from the restaurants in exchange for favorable reviews, nor are their identities as reviewers made known during their visits.

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SEND A $30 CHECK TO: SAUCE MAGAZINE – SUBSCRIPTIONS for a 12-month subscription 1820 Chouteau

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St. Louis, MO 63103 June 2019

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contents J U N E 2 019

editors' picks 11 EAT THIS Old-fashioned donut at Old Town Donuts

by meera nagarajan 14 ELIXIR Planter's House Rules

by matt sorrell 17 CHEF TOUR Loryn Nalic of Balkan Treat Box

by matt sorrell

last bite 58 STUFF TO DO by darian stevenson 60 WHAT I DO Joe Weinmann

by catherine klene asparagus at savage, p. 25

62 LANDMARK Hodak’s Restaurant & Bar

by adam rothbarth




Five experts tell us what to sip, stir and shake

This year's readers' choice winners

by glenn bardgett, justin harris, ryan griffin and ted and jamie kilgore




by adam rothbarth




by adam rothbarth

Savage Restaurant

by michael renner 28 LUNCH RUSH Lola Jean's Giveback Cafe


BY THE NUMBERS Sugarfire Smoke House

by lauren healey 48


Grafton Winery

by stephanie zeilenga PHOTO BY IZAIAH JOHNSON


by matt berkley

Wellspent Brewing Co.

June 2019



Tune in to St. Louis Public Radio 90.7 FM this month when Sugarfire Smoke House owner Mike Johnson joins Sauce on St. Louis on the Air to talk barbecue in The Lou.


THE GREAT SLINGER DEBATE by adam rothbarth 54



Himalayan Yeti

Find out why Balkan Treat Box was your Favorite Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant on p. 17.

by heather hughes


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E D I T O R S ' P I C K S

Eat This

Take your horse down to Old Town Donuts – this year’s Readers’ Choice Favorite Doughnut Shop. We concur. From cinnamon rolls to jelly doughnuts to spontaneous doughnuts of the day, the Florissant institution never disappoints. Our very favorite, however, is the Old-Fashioned Donut. Spiked with the subtle tang of buttermilk and sealed with a crackling sugar glaze, have one in the morning with coffee, after lunch for dessert or at 1 a.m. for a nightcap. Open 24 hours, there’s always time for an Old Town doughnut. Can’t nobody tell you nothing.


508 S. New Florissant Road, Florissant, 314.831.0907, oldtowndonuts.com

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E D I T O R S ' P I C K S

planter's house rules first place bartender of the year; first place favorite cocktails By Matt Sorrell

of the St. Louis cocktail scene, Kilgore has made his reputation putting together thoughtful and creative bar menus everywhere from the now-shuttered Monarch to Taste by Niche to your Favorite Cocktails winner, Planter’s House, which he coowns with his wife, Jamie Kilgore, and Ted Charak. Kilgore’s approach is straightforward: incorporate a wide variety of flavors and use quality spirits and modifiers – not just the flavor of the moment pushed by the powers that be. He also offers guests plenty of choices, from nonalcoholic and low-ABV libations to classics both old and new. The crown jewel of the menu is a selection of seasonal creations built around a changing theme. The current seasonal list at Planter’s House is inspired by famous sci-fi robots. It’s the 10th and most elaborate and diverse themed menu since Planter’s House opened in 2013 – 16 of the 18 drinks require house-made ingredients or special techniques, including the use of a centrifuge to clarify some components. Rather than develop the menus solo, Kilgore takes a less ego-centric approach. He has a reputation for building a strong team and investing in its

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development. The entire bar staff is involved in the process of putting together the Planter’s House cocktail list. It’s a strategy Kilgore started employing in earnest when he managed the original Taste by Niche in Benton Park. “You have to trust your staff,” Kilgore said. “I like to have all of our bartenders involved so everyone has a personal stake.” Over a five-week period, the bar staff comes to the table with ideas, and Kilgore directs the process. At each stage of development, the entire group has to sign off on each cocktail before it can go to the next phase (though Kilgore and bar manager Kate Kinsey reserve final veto power). Some drinks on the current menu went through more than 10 variations before the final version was agreed upon. Kilgore said involving the staff gives them ownership and a chance to stretch out creatively. The result: happy bartenders who stick around for a while – rare in an industry where constant turnover is the norm. The extra hands also take some pressure off Kilgore, allowing him to take care of myriad other concerns with running the bar. The approach seems to be working – not only are Planter’s House and Kilgore Sauce Readers’ Choice winners, Planter’s House was also a semifinalist for Best Bar Program at this year’s James Beard Awards.


Readers’ Choice Bartender of the Year Ted Kilgore knows a thing or two about putting together a top-notch drinks list. An undisputed OG

from left, hyanneke van der pennen, clara noble, jef frey b . m o l l j r. , t h o m a s bishop, kate kinsey, brandy hernandez and ted kilgore planter’s house 1000 mississippi ave., st. louis, 314.696.2603, plantershousestl.com

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E D I T O R S ' P I C K S

Nudo House First Place Favorite Ramen “We go there a lot, and not just because Qui [Tran] and MarieAnne [Velasco] are friends,” Nalic said of the duo at the Creve Coeur noodle standby. “We’re total Shroomed Out junkies,” she said, referring to Nudo’s uber-popular ramen bowl based on mushroom broth and full of king oyster mushrooms. She’s also fond of Nudo’s take on banh mi. 11423 Olive Blvd., Creve Coeur, 314.274.8046, nudohousestl.com

chef tour

Brasserie by Niche Honorable Mention Favorite Brunch For special occasions, Nalic opts for this French comfort food

staple. “It’s a place we go to celebrate – from birthdays to anniversaries.” Nalic gravitates toward the dessert menu, specifically the Floating Island – Brasserie’s version of the decadent, oldschool French dessert made with a mound of meringue, custard and caramel sauce. 4580 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.454.0600, brasseriebyniche.com

clockwise from left: balkan treatbox coowners loryn and edo nalic; nudo house co-owners qui tran and marie-anne velasco; the eggs benedict at brasserie by niche


Loryn Nalic has made a name for herself creating comforting dishes from the Balkans, first with a food truck and now with the brick-and-mortar Balkan Treat Box in Webster Groves – winner of this year’s Favorite Mediterranean/Middle Eastern category. Like most industry folks, Nalic and her husband and Balkan co-owner Edo Nalic have precious little free time to kick back at anyone else’s establishment. “When we go out, we want it to be a sure shot,” she said. That’s probably why they frequent so many Sauce Readers’ Choice winners. – Matt Sorrell

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Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery First Place Favorite Bread Nalic’s favorite slice can be had at Loafers. As Sauce readers’ favorite bread, it’s only natural Loafers has the best pizza crust around. “I could eat their pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Nalic said, though she’s pretty much a fan of the whole menu. “Everything there is so well-executed and thought out.” 1629 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.6111, unionloafers.com

Louie Third Place Favorite Fine Dining // Third Place Favorite Romantic Spot While the menu is stellar, Nalic said the vibe at Louie is worth the price of admission all by itself. “The thing is the hospitality at Louie,” she said. “You feel well taken care of. The energy is so great. If a restaurant had an aura …” She said Louie’s lunch service should also be at the top of everyone’s daytime dining list – especially the sandwiches. “All day, Louie.” 706 Demun Ave., Clayton, 314.300.8188, louiedemun.com Olive + Oak First Place Favorite Fine Dining // Second Place Favorite Cocktails // Third Place Favorite Restaurant // Honorable Mention Romantic Spot June 2019

Olive + Oak is well known for its food menu (chef Jesse Mendica placed in the Chef of the Year category again this year), but it’s also Nalic’s go-to for a topnotch cocktail. “It’s close by, so we go there a lot,” she said, adding she usually bellies up

to the bar and drinks whatever husbandand-wife bartending team Charlie Martin and Morgaine Segura (second place Bartender of the Year) put in front of her. 102 W. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, 314.736.1370, oliveandoakstl.com

Pappy’s Smokehouse Second Place Favorite Barbecue Nalic was a vegetarian for nine years, so she’s pretty particular about what meat hits her plate these days. She also honed her grill skills at Pappy’s and sister eatery Bogart’s Smokehouse before launching Balkan Treat Box. “It’s family. It was part of my life for a long time,” she said. When Nalic’s in a carnivorous state of mind, she opts for Pappy’s turkey breast and the smoked wings when they make a menu appearance. 3106 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.535.4340, pappyssmokehouse.com

Banh Mi So No. 1 Honorable Mention Favorite Vietnamese Located well past the restaurant row on South Grand Boulevard, this nondescript mom-andpop place specializes in Vietnamese cuisine with a focus squarely on food instead of frills. “We need more small, hole-in-the wall places like it,” according to Nalic. The restaurant touts its mung bean spring rolls as the best in town, and Nalic is in complete agreement. She’s also partial to the vegetarian Joe B. banh mi and the tofu curry noodle soup. 4071 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.353.0545, banhmiso1.com

Balkan Treat Box 8103 Big Bend Blvd., Webster Groves, 314.733.5700, balkantreatbox.com

clockwise from bottom: union loafers cafe and bread bakery; flank steak at olive + oak; louie owner matt mcguire with a pork chop; the mung bean spring rolls at banh mi so no. 1

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A SEAT AT THE BAR Five experts tell us what to sip, stir AT and shake SEAT


Five experts tell us what to sip, stir and shake

TED AND JAMIE KILGORE USBG, B.A.R. Ready, BarSmart and co-owners/bartenders at Planter’s House

The British liqueur Pimm’s No. 1 features notes of muted juniper, cinnamon and orange zest. Try it in a Pimm’s Cup. In an ice-filled shaker, combine 2 ounces Pimm’s, ¾ ounce lemon juice, ¾ ounce simple syrup, shake 17 seconds and pour into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with 2 ounces Fever-Tree ginger ale then garnish with mint, strawberry, cucumber and orange. Pimm’s is available at the Readers’ Choice Favorite Bottle Shop: Randall’s Wine & Spirits. $23. 1910 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314.865.0199, shoprandalls.com

RYAN GRIFFIN AND JUSTIN HARRIS Co-owners at Saint Louis Hop Shop

The new Full Life Lager is a good example of why 4 Hands Brewing Co. is your Favorite Brewery. Showcasing European Pilsner, Vienna and Carapils malts and Noble hops, this American-style lager is light and refreshing, perfect for your next hiking or camping trip. At only 4.5%, you don’t have to feel guilty having more than one. Six-pack: $9. 4 Hands Brewing Co., 1220 S. Eighth St., St. Louis, 314.436.1559, 4handsbrewery.com


4 hands brewing co.’s full life lager is available at your favorite bottle shop, randall’s wine & spirits.

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GLENN BARDGETT Member of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board and wine director at Annie Gunn’s

If you’re looking for a head-spinning red, the 2017 Casa Silva Carmenere Los Lingues Vineyard features a finish that lasts through your final bite of beef or lamb. With wild black fruit flavors from carmenere, a lesser-known grape of Bordeaux grown to perfection in Chile, this vino offers more oomph than Chilean merlot and more juiciness than Chilean cabernet. Available at the Readers’ Choice Favorite Wine Bar: Sasha’s. $36. sashaswinebar.com saucemagazine.com I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 21

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reviews All Sauce reviews are conducted anonymously.

beet chicharrón at savage



On a Friday evening at Savage Restaurant, which opened last year inside a renovated Fox Park corner store, all 22 seats around the long, bracket-shaped bar are full – and it’s only 6 p.m. Sitting side by side on comfortable, high-back stools facing the open kitchen comprising most of the restaurant’s space, there’s none of the typical table conversation with friends. Whatever chatter there is centers on chef-owner Logan Ely’s stunning multicourse menu.

new and notable SAVAGE RESTAURANT p. 25 // lunch rush LOLA JEAN'S GIVEBACK COFFEE p. 28 // nightlife WELLSPENT BREWING CO. p. 31

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When not absorbed in her book, the woman next to me visiting from New York snaps photos of her bite-sized moments, “So I can remember what I’m eating.” A couple guys study each dish with scholarly curiosity. We’re here with purpose, to partake in the communal experience of tasting-menu as theater, with Ely in the lead role.

dishes at savage

carrot cake ball

The St. Louis native earned the role through an insatiable desire to find his culinary voice cooking at the erstwhile An American Place, then around the world, from Hong Kong to Copenhagen. Before moving back to St. Louis a little over two years ago, Ely did stints at such highly regarded restaurants as New York’s Blue Hill and Chicago’s North Pond. But how does a flat broke, passionate chef with a head full of ideas open a restaurant on his own terms? For Ely, the best, and most affordable, avenue was running a series of underground dinners to test those ideas. His aptly named Square1 Project gained notoriety not only for the shock value of incorporating ingredients like bull penis, green weaver ants and fermented yeast, but also for his philosophy of ecologically friendly dining, using the tasting menu structure as a way to control costs and waste. Ely prefers vegetables and seafood and relies on less energy-consuming methods like dehydration, induction burners (the only fire you’ll see is a blowtorch used to char and caramelize) and fermentation and preservation (evidenced by the crocks of vinegars made from leftover wine). Savage is Square1 made permanent with a tamer, more approachable, albeit no less seductive, menu. There is no puffed, fried bull penis on the plate during my visit. Instead there’s a beet chicharrón, a fantastical take on chips and dip made from pureed, dried beets, deep-fried into a craggy, crackling, crimson puff served with whipped sour milk and chives. From there, the show progresses at the pace of a sensual promenade rather than a rushed parade of dishes to gulp down before the next one arrives – three hours

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savage Where 2655 Ann Ave., St. Louis, 314.354.8488, savagestl.com

and 12 dazzling courses. A small staff of servers explains each course – impressively delicious and beautifully plated on dishes made by a local ceramist – with a refreshing lack of pomp or preciousness. chef-owner logan ely in the kitchen at savage

Throughout the evening, the tall, seriouslooking Ely hunches over the center island as he and three cooks methodically prepare and assemble with the precision of origami artists, as we, their rapt audience, watch. When Ely does step away from the center island, it feels more like he’s breaking the fourth wall than delivering a dish to diners. Ely’s challenge with the concept – there’s a six-course option, a 12-course option or a four-course snacking menu – is to keep us interested with exciting flavors, textures, scents and temperatures so our palates don’t get bored midway through the experience. I am particularly

enamored by how artfully arranged every impeccable dish looks – spheres, cubes, foams, petals and crumbles. The color of a green tomato, cored and shaped like a flower petal, capped with bits of clam and drizzled with pale green herbed oil, pops against the rustic texture of its plate; a single asparagus accented by a squiggle of creamy egg yolk in a celery root-mussel foam is a study in the various shades of green. I love the fish. The delicate flavor of a rectangle of baked fluke is enhanced by a miso crust atop a dollop of beurre blanc bolstered by kombu seaweed, adding a subtle mushroomlike savoriness. The firm texture of raw spot prawn comes with bursts of roe accompanied by paper-thin brined cucumber and emulsified cucumber, accenting the natural sweetness of the shrimp.

Vibe Edison lighting, black walls and exposed brick evoke both a subdued speakeasy and industrial starkness, while candles inside and out emphasize the casual, welcoming vibe. Prices Six-course dinner tasting menu: $55; 12-course: $75 When Wed. to Sat. – Noon to 4 p.m.; 5 to 9:30 p.m.

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As the night progresses, incongruences prove harmonious. Lightly braised squid cut into fettuccine-width strands top a spoonful of funky fermented potato mousse freckled by seaweed crumbles has me wondering why until two bites later – oh, that’s why. Slow-cooking an apple for two weeks sounds ridiculous until I taste the concentrated sweetness and jammy texture of the gala, which is served whole and flecked with a “pie crust” crumble. Equally inspired drink pairings are available for each tasting option. A creamy, rich Italian white sparkling and sublime dry Madeira bookend a couple ciders, a Belgian wit, a bubbly gamay and a remarkable, rarely

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available chardonnay from Beaujolais. The full wine selection includes interesting, quirky wines from the Canary Islands, the Finger Lakes and Slovenia. Lunch – a set a-la-carte menu of five dishes for $7 each – is just as good. That fluke and kombu beurre blanc showed up again, this time with olives and green tomatoes. It still impressed, inspiring my colleague to demand the kitchen feature the beurre blanc more often. Flakes of dried fish punctuated a salad of red romaine and white asparagus with umami funk while a bit of mild, house-made goat cheese went a long way to smooth the bright acidity of a bowl with pickled cucumbers, daikon and yellow beets.

The menu explains the name Savage refers to the restaurant’s commitment to looking to the past for ingredients and techniques, bringing out textures and flavors with less manipulation and more natural methods. Savor might be a more accurate name with fewer negative associations, were it not already associated with a nowdefunct local restaurant. But I have no notes for the ideas themselves. After putting my faith in Ely’s philosophy throughout 12 courses, all those Willy Wonka references – quotes on the menu, photos in the bathroom – make sense. Wonka, after all, was an uncompromising visionary who valued pure imagination.

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Roasted Turkey Sandwich Served cold between two massive slices of country white bread, this is a straightforward and delicious turkey sandwich. Ping has fun with the house-made aioli, which offers a tinge of sweetness from powdered sugar added to imitate Miracle Whip. The rest of the sandwich is textbook: giant slices of moist turkey, a huge cut of gloriously red beefsteak tomato seasoned with just the right amount of salt and pepper, and a crisp layer of iceberg lettuce.


lola jean’s giveback coffee BY MATT BERKLEY | PHOTOS BY DAVID KOVALUK

Lola Jean’s Giveback Coffee, sister restaurant to neighboring Russell’s on Macklind, is an inviting cafe with a mission: the restaurant donates all proceeds to nonprofits like Big Brothers Big Sisters. But that’s not the only reason to go. A bright mural of lemons backdrops the laidback, kid-friendly space, and, on warm days, the back patio teems with patrons. The menu is as fun and approachable as the decor, featuring well-executed takes on classic lunch fare prepared by chef-owner Russell Ping. It’s tempting to linger all day.

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Breakfast Burrito Served all day, there is no reason to miss the plump breakfast burrito. Along with fluffy scrambled eggs, it’s stuffed with a mound of rich carnitas cooked overnight in a southwestern rub, shredded and brought to crispy heaven on a flattop. Pickled jalapeno and serrano peppers add tartness and a hint of heat, while a chipotle-lime aioli and shredded white cheddar bring a zesty, creamy element. The hearty burrito is wrapped in a thick flour tortilla and seared on a panini press. Braised Chicken Thigh Baguette Moist, tender chicken braised in white wine with celery, onion, rosemary, thyme and garlic is the centerpiece of this outstanding sandwich. The sumptuous, shredded thigh meat is piled high on a hot and crusty baguette along with a slice of melted Swiss and

finished with a generous slather of house-made aioli and a rich green olive tapenade – the ideal pair for the delicate chicken. the dining room at lola jean’s

breakfast burrito

the new york strip loin sandwich

lola jean’s chopped salad

Lola Jean’s Giveback Coffee 5400 Nottingham Ave., St. Louis, 314.553.9903, lolajeans coffee.com

Chopped Salad This is the superstar of Lola Jean’s menu. Thick pieces of bacon are generous and flavorful, fresh cherry tomatoes burst with snappy perfection, nutty toasted sunflower seeds warm you like sunshine and a hard-boiled egg adds substance. But the real workhorse is the basil vinaigrette – a fresh and flavorful amalgamation of basil, honey, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil that seeps onto every delicious forkful. New York Strip Loin Sandwich New York strip loin is roasted medium-rare, then sliced and seared on a hot flattop for this carnivorepleasing sandwich. Layered with white cheddar, sweet pickled shallots and a creamy, rich horseradish Dijon on Breadsmith sourdough, the sandwich is buttered and finished on a hot panini press. The Downside This popular spot is absolutely slammed Saturdays and Sundays, making getting a table nearly impossible. It can also be hard to make a carryout order over the phone – I’ve let it ring without anyone picking up and been left on hold until the call disconnected. Weekday afternoons offer a much better chance to sit back and enjoy this vibrant, easygoing cafe. June 2019

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wellspent brewing co. in midtown

the tamale man’s tamales


wellspent brewing co.

inviting space that encourages lingering with both human and canine buddies. But the beers are why you’re here. Kyle was a celebrated St. Louis homebrewer before launching the professional brewery. Start by trying his Pilsner, an unfiltered lager with a light floral aroma from dry-hopping. The clean taste of a good lager isn’t easy to pull off, but Wellspent manages it beautifully. The Buck, a Belgianstyle single, has a yeasty nose with slight hints of clove and banana. Like the Pilsner, it’s smooth, easy-drinking and simple in the best possible way. Superhero Theme Music, Wellspent’s session stout, is lacking a bit in complexity but has nice notes of strong-brewed coffee and a creamy finish.


Wellspent Brewing Co. is working hard to be a Midtown gathering space for all. The brewery has been pouring lagers, sours and Belgian-style beers since last March, and has developed an impressive list of events targeting everyone from science nerds to sports nuts and families. Something fun (and usually free) is going on nearly every day. Events change seasonally, but trivia on Wednesday, cornhole league on Thursday and movie night on Friday are current June 2019

mainstays. Whether the events draw a crowd is hit-or-miss (it seems there are always a few Saint Louis University students hanging around), but it’s clear co-owners Kyle and Angela Kohlmorgen are always thinking of new ways to get people in the door. The brewery is situated in an old abandoned movie theater, its long, narrow shape and gilded plaster marquees hinting at the past. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the front open up what could be a dark and claustrophobic space. Crisp, black-andwhite decor makes the

space bright and modern, with a minimalistic yet welcoming look. Long, narrow communal tables bring some intimacy to the set-up, and the bar is like a hipster reimagining of a midcentury soda fountain with shiny chrome, black accents and the bar wall tiled in a handsome British racing green. Outside, there’s a large patio with picnic tables, string lights and a small, grassy yard for cornhole. When it’s warm, Friday night movies are projected onto one of the patio’s brick walls. It’s an

the buck belgian-style single

who like to try a little bit of everything. The bartenders will, however, offer you tastes before you commit to a full pour.

The Tamale Man, a family-run farmers market favorite, provides Wellspent’s food menu. Handmade pork, veggie and vegan black bean tamales come out wrapped in foil and accompanied by a side of spicy green salsa. Each one is hefty, the cornhusk enveloping a thick layer of creamy masa and savory fillings. A few snacks are also available, including Billy Goat Chips.

the patio at wellspent

Wellspent Brewing Co. 2917 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.328.0505, wellspentbeer. com

Although Belgian-style brews are the focus, Wellspent always has cider, but no wine or cocktails. For a brewery so laser-focused on beer, however, I was surprised Wellspent was out of multiple house brews on consecutive visits. There is also no flight available, which may irk those

With solid Belgian-style beers and a grade-A patio, Wellspent is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy the good life.

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your favorite places to eat

Favorite Fine Dining

Favorite New Restaurant of 2018

102 W. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, 314.736.1370, oliveandoakstl.com 2nd: Sidney Street Cafe 3rd: Louie, Tony’s (tie) Honorable Mentions: Polite Society, Vicia 

YELLOWBELLY 4659 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 314.499.1509, yellowbellystl.com 2nd: Billie-Jean  3rd: The Chocolate Pig, The Clover and the Bee (tie) Honorable Mentions: Carnivore, Cinder House Favorite Restaurant

SUGARFIRE SMOKE HOUSE Various locations, sugarfiresmokehouse.com 2nd: Peacemaker Lobster & Crab  3rd: Olive + Oak  Honorable Mention: Eleven Eleven Mississippi, Grace Meat + Three  Chef of the Year

from left, sugarfire smoke house and hi-pointe drive-in chef-owner mike johnson with employees heather dougherty, laron richards, melanie pritchett, veronica schuster, kat wallace and adam pritchett

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MATT GLICKERT, SUGARFIRE 44 932 Meramec Station Road, Valley Park, 636.825.1400, sugarfiresmokehouse.com 2nd: Michael Gallina, Vicia 3rd: Rick Lewis, Grace Meat + Three  Honorable Mentions: Jesse Mendica, Olive + Oak; Nick Bognar, Nippon Tei


Favorite Diner

SOUTHWEST DINER 6803 Southwest Ave., St. Louis, 314.260.7244, southwestdinerstl.com 2nd: Uncle Bill’s Pancake and Dinner House  3rd: City Diner  Honorable Mentions: Chris’ Pancake & Dining,  Courtesy Diner  Favorite Food Truck

SEOUL TACO FOOD TRUCK Twitter: @seoultaco 2nd: Mission Taco Truck  3rd: Guerrilla Street Food Honorable Mentions: Balkan Treat Box, Sarah’s Cake Stop  Favorite Deli/ Sandwich Shop

BLUES CITY DELI 2438 McNair Ave., St. Louis, 314.773.8225, bluescitydeli.com 2nd: Gioia’s Deli 

3rd: Mom’s Deli Honorable Mentions: Adriana’s on The Hill, The Gramophone  Favorite Barbecue

SUGARFIRE SMOKE HOUSE Various locations, sugarfiresmokehouse.com 2nd: Pappy’s Smokehouse  3rd: Salt + Smoke  Honorable Mentions: Beast Craft BBQ Co., Bogart’s Smokehouse  Favorite Sushi

NIPPON TEI 14025 Manchester Road, Ballwin, 636.386.8999, nippon.teistl.com 2nd: Drunken Fish 3rd: Wasabi Sushi Bar  Honorable Mentions: BLK MKT Eats, Sushi Ai  Favorite Steakhouse

ANNIE GUNN’S 16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield, 636.532.7684, anniegunns.com 2nd: Tucker’s Place 3rd: Twisted Tree Steakhouse  Honorable Mentions: 1818 Chophouse, Citizen Kane’s Steak House 

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thebenevolentking.com 2nd: Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant 3rd: African Palace Bar & Grill  Honorable Mentions: Simba Ugandan Restaurant, Ye Ethiopian Restaurant 

2nd: Aya Sofia 3rd: Layla Honorable Mentions: The Vine Lebanese Cuisine & Juice Bar, Café Natasha’s

Favorite Cajun/Creole


the lobster turnovers at your favorite romantic spot, sidney street cafe

736 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314.621.8811, broadwayoysterbar.com 2nd: Gulf Shores Restaurant & Grill 3rd: Boogaloo  Honorable Mentions: Evangeline’s Bistro & Music House, Sister Cities Cajun  Favorite Indian

HIMALAYAN YETI Favorite Pizza Place

PEEL WOOD FIRED PIZZA Various locations, peelpizza.com 2nd: Imo’s Pizza 3rd: Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria  Honorable Mentions: Pi Pizzeria, Pirrone’s Pizzeria  Favorite Brunch

SHACK BREAKFAST & LUNCH Various locations, eatatshack.com 2nd: Hendel’s Restaurant, Rooster (tie) 3rd: Half & Half  Honorable Mentions: Brasserie By Niche, Egg Favorite Italian

CHARLIE GITTO’S ON THE HILL, CUNETTO HOUSE OF PASTA (TIE) 5226 Shaw Ave., St. Louis, 314.772.8898, charliegittos.com; 5453 Magnolia Ave., St. Louis, 314.781.1135, cunetto.com 2nd: Pastaria 3rd: Zia’s on The Hill Honorable Mentions: Anthonino’s Taverna, Trattoria Marcella  Favorite Chinese

MAI LEE 8396 Musick Memorial Drive, Brentwood, 314.645.2835, maileestl.com

2nd: Lona’s Lil Eats 3rd: China King Honorable Mentions: Lu Lu Seafood & Dim Sum, Wang Gang Asian Eats  Favorite Fried Chicken

HODAK’S RESTAURANT & BAR 2100 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314.776.7292, hodaks.com 2nd: Southern  3rd: Grace Meat + Three  Honorable Mentions: Byrd & Barrel, King Edward’s Chicken & Fish   Favorite Chicken Wings

SYBERG’S Various locations, sybergs.com 2nd: Sugarfire Smoke House  3rd: Peel Wood Fired Pizza  Honorable Mentions: Grace Meat + Three, Southtown Pub 

Favorite Frozen Dessert

TED DREWES FROZEN CUSTARD 6726 Chippewa St., St. Louis, 314.481.2652; 4224 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.352.7376, teddrewes.com 2nd: Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery  3rd: Fritz’s Frozen Custard  Honorable Mentions: The Fountain on Locust, Ices Plain & Fancy  Favorite Tacos

MISSION TACO JOINT Various locations, missiontacojoint.com 2nd: Seoul Taco  3rd: Taco Circus  Honorable Mentions: Chava’s Mexican Restaurant, Las Fuentes Mexican Restaurant Favorite Mexican

Favorite Burger

HI-POINTE DRIVE-IN 1033 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, 314.349.2720; 634 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.405.8274, hipointedrivein.com 2nd: Mac’s Local Eats, Stacked STL (tie) 3rd: O’Connell’s Pub  Honorable Mentions: Carl’s Drive-In, The Dam

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EL MAGUEY Various locations, elmagueystl.com 2nd: Hacienda Mexican Restaurant  3rd: El Burro Loco Honorable Mentions: Mi Ranchito, Rosalita’s Cantina  Favorite African

THE BENEVOLENT KING 7268 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.899.0440,

3515 S. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, 314.354.8338, himalayanyetistlouis.com 2nd: House of India 3rd: Everest Café & Bar Honorable Mentions: India Palace, Rasoi  Favorite Korean

SEOUL TACO 6665 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.863.1148; 46 Four Seasons Shopping Center, Chesterfield, 314.548.6868, seoultaco.com 2nd: Kimchi Guys  3rd: Seoul Garden Honorable Mentions: K-Bop Food Truck, Oriental Spoon  Favorite Greek

OLYMPIA KEBOB HOUSE AND TAVERNA 1543 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, 314.781.1299, olympiakebobandtavern.com 2nd: Spiro’s Restaurant  3rd: Michael’s Bar & Grill  Honorable Mentions: Anthonino’s Taverna, My Big Fat Greek Truck Favorite Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern

BALKAN TREAT BOX 8103 Big Bend Blvd., Webster Groves, 314.733.5700, balkantreatbox.com

4270 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.533.2700, stlgrace.com 2nd: Sweetie Pie’s Upper Crust 3rd: Southern  Honorable Mentions: Juniper, Mom’s Soul Food Kitchen  Favorite Thai

KING AND I THAI 3157 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.771.1777, kingandistl.com 2nd: Fork & Stix  3rd: Pearl Café  Honorable Mentions: Pad Thai St. Louis, Thai House  Favorite Vietnamese

MAI LEE 8396 Musick Memorial Drive, Brentwood, 314.645.2835, maileestl.com 2nd: Pho Grand  3rd: Lemon Grass Restaurant Honorable Mentions: Banh Mi So No. 1, Little Saigon Cafe  Favorite Ramen

NUDO HOUSE 11423 Olive Blvd., Creve Coeur, 314.274.8046, nudohousestl.com 2nd: Robata 3rd: The Blue Ocean  Honorable Mentions: Nami Ramen, Ramen Tei  Favorite Vegetarian/Vegan

LULU’S LOCAL EATERY 3201 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.300.8215, luluslocaleatery.com 2nd: Lona’s Lil Eats  3rd: Small Batch Whiskey & Fare, Tree House (tie) Honorable Mentions: Pizza Head, Urban Eats Cafe

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Favorite Soul Food/ Southern

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Favorite Patio

JOHN D. MCGURK’S IRISH PUB AND GARDEN 1200 Russell Blvd., St. Louis, 314.776.8309, mcgurks.com 2nd: The Boathouse at Forest Park 3rd: Billy G’s Kirkwood Honorable Mentions: Broadway Oyster Bar, Vin de Set  Favorite Romantic Spot

SIDNEY STREET CAFE 2000 Sidney St., St. Louis, 314.771.5777, sidneystreetcafestl.com 2nd: Bar Les Frères 3rd: Louie, Cinder House (tie) Honorable Mentions: Olive + Oak, Tony’s

your favorite places to drink Bartender of the Year

TED KILGORE, PLANTER’S HOUSE 1000 Mississippi Ave., St. Louis, 314.696.2603, plantershouse.com

2nd: Morgaine Segura, Olive + Oak 3rd: Terry Oliver, Frazer’s Restaurant & Lounge Honorable Mentions: Tim Wiggins, Yellowbelly; Tony Saputo, The Midwestern Meat & Drink Favorite Cocktails


Favorite Local Winery

GRAFTON WINERY & BREWHAUS 300 W. Main St., Grafton, 618.786.3001, thegraftonwinery.com 2nd: Chandler Hill Vineyards  3rd: Cedar Lake Cellars Honorable Mentions: Montelle Winery, St. James Winery 

1000 Mississippi Ave., St. Louis, 314.696.2603, plantershousestl.com 2nd: Olive + Oak 3rd: Frazer’s Restaurant & Lounge, Taste (tie) Honorable Mentions: Blood & Sand, Narwhal’s Crafted 

Favorite Beer Bar

Favorite Brewery

Favorite Wine Bar

4 HANDS BREWING CO. 1220 S. Eighth St., St. Louis, 314.436.1559, 4handsbrewery.com 2nd: Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.  3rd: Schlafly  Honorable Mentions: 2nd Shift Brewing, Civil Life Brewing Co. 

THREE KINGS PUBLIC HOUSE Various locations, threekingspub.com 2nd: International Tap House 3rd: The Side Project Cellar  Honorable Mentions: Gezellig, Global Brew Tap House 

SASHA’S WINE BARS 706 Demun Ave., St. Louis, 314.863.7274; 4069 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, 314.771.7274, sashaswinebar.com 2nd: Cork Wine Bar  3rd: Robust Wine Bar  and Cafe Honorable Mentions: 33 Wine Shop & Bar, Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar Favorite Games Bar

your favorite patio and pub, john d. mcgurk’s irish pub and garden

WESTPORT SOCIAL 910 Westport Plaza Drive, Maryland Heights, 314.548.2876, westportsocial-stl.com 2nd: Blueberry Hill  3rd: Parlor  Honorable Mentions: Pieces, Start Bar  Favorite Pub



1200 Russell Blvd., St. Louis, 314.776.8309, mcgurks.com 2nd: The Scottish Arms Public House 3rd: Llywelyn’s Pub  Honorable Mentions: O’Connell’s Pub, Seamus McDaniel’s  Favorite Sports Bar

SYBERG’S Various locations, sybergs.com 2nd: Amsterdam Tavern 

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3rd: The Post Sports Bar & Grill Honorable Mentions: Billy G’s Kirkwood, Mattingly’s  Favorite Coffee Shop

KALDI’S COFFEE ROASTING CO. Various locations, kaldiscoffee.com 2nd: The Mud House 3rd: Park Avenue Coffee  Honorable Mentions: Blueprint Coffee, Sump Coffee  Favorite Happy Hour

MISSION TACO JOINT Various locations, missiontacojoint.com 2nd: Frazer’s Restaurant & Lounge 3rd: Helen Fitzgerald’s Irish Grill & Pub Honorable Mentions: Basso, Three Kings Public House 

Favorite Doughnut Shop

OLD TOWN DONUTS 508 N. New Florissant Road, Florissant, 314.831.0907, oldtowndonuts.com 2nd: Strange Donuts 3rd: Donut Drive-In  Honorable Mentions: Vincent Van Doughnut, World’s Fair Donuts  Favorite Farmers Market

SOULARD FARMERS MARKET 730 Carroll St., St. Louis, 314.622.4180, soulardmarket.com 2nd: Tower Grove Farmers’ Market  3rd: Ferguson Farmers Market  Honorable Mentions: Kirkwood Farmers Market, Land of Goshen Community Market  Favorite Local Grocery


your favorite places to shop Favorite Butcher Shop

KENRICK’S MEATS & CATERING 4324 Weber Road, St. Louis, 314.631.2440, kenricks.com 2nd: Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions  3rd: G & W Meat & Bavarian Style Sausage Co. Honorable Mentions: LeGrand’s Market, Mannino’s Market  Favorite Bread

UNION LOAFERS CAFÉ AND BREAD BAKERY 1629 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.6111, unionloafers.com 2nd: Companion 3rd: Amighetti’s Bakery & Cafe Honorable Mentions: Missouri Baking Co., Vitale’s Bakery  Favorite Cakes/Pastries

NATHANIEL REID BAKERY 11243 Manchester Road, Kirkwood, 314.858.1019, nrbakery.com 2nd: Jilly’s Cupcake Bar  3rd: La Patisserie Chouquette  Honorable Mentions: Missouri Baking Co., Russell’s on Macklind 

Various locations, dierbergs.com 2nd: Schnucks 3rd: Straub’s  Honorable Mentions: DiGregorio’s Italian Market, Global Foods Market  Favorite Specialty Shop

CROWN CANDY KITCHEN 1401 Saint Louis Ave., St. Louis, 314.621.9650, crowncandykitchen.net 2nd: Bob’s Seafood  3rd: Volpi Foods  Honorable Mentions: Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier, Kakao Chocolate Favorite Bottle Shop

RANDALL’S WINES & SPIRITS Various locations, shoprandalls.com 2nd: The Wine & Cheese Place  3rd: Lukas Wine & Spirits, Saint Louis Hop Shop (tie) Honorable Mentions: Intoxicology, The Wine Merchant

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Oys t e r s & P e a r l s “This is one of Richard Blais’ signature dishes. I really enjoy this dish because it’s playful. Raw oysters are something I love. Getting a good West Coast-style oyster with any kind of horseradish-based sauce is just classic.”

fa vorite ne w restaurant


W u -Ta n g C l a m s “It’s such a flavor bomb. Wu-Tang clams ain’t nothin’ to shuck with. We wanted something that was really bold. We got some really great Pamplona chorizo, sake, cabbages, natural brininess from the clams. It’s a money dish.”

Yellowbelly’s vibrant design and relaxed atmosphere will hook you, but it’s the dazzling, seafood-heavy menu that will reel you in. With the help of consulting chef Richard Blais, Yellowbelly owners Travis Howard and Tim Wiggins created an exotic getaway in the heart of the Central West End. “Yes, we are island-inspired,” said chef de cuisine Kate Wagoner. “But, really, we’re just trying to find flavors that are exciting and pack a punch.” Here are five of Wagoner’s favorite plates at your Favorite New Restaurant, Yellowbelly. – Adam Rothbarth 4659 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 314.449.1509, yellowbellystl.com

Av o c a d o t o a s t “Our avocado toast is crazy popular. We get our bread from Union Loafers, make a normal avocado mash, then a lomi lomi, which is a marinated salmon that we mix with our house pico. We top it with a mango yolk, which oozes just like a fresh, runny egg.”

Seared salmon with S pa m f r i e d r i c e


“It’s my absolute favorite large plate that we have. We have our house-pickled shiitakes in there, and then we take our salmon and basically make a sauce with eggs and tamari and sear it in that mixture, so it makes a pancake-like consistency on the salmon. It has an amazing texture.”

Charred carrots

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“I’m a veg lover. When I go to a restaurant, that tends to be what I crave. These are butter-roasted carrots that just melt in your mouth. They have a nice umami to them because of the eel sauce, and great char. It just pops. To me, this dish is signature Yellowbelly.”

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BURGER S A BURGER IS NEVER JUST A BURGER. A burger is a canvas where one can act out their most insane culinary fantasies or push traditional ideas to heavenly perfection. No condiment is off limits, and no topping is faux pas while, at the same time, few are required with a perfectly cooked patty, as this year’s Readers’ Choice winners prove. On one end of the spectrum, we find bombastic, culture-blending concoctions measured by how many flavors can be packed vertically into a leaning tower of madness. Here, Hi-Pointe Drive-In reigns supreme with menu items like the Arch D-Lux – a double burger, American cheese, pepper bacon, ketchup, D-Lux sauce, LTOP (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle) and a sesame seed bun – and specials like the Sweet Baby Cheesus, which contains a double cheeseburger, bacon, fried egg and LTOP between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Also toward the more extreme end is Stacked STL, where burgers like the En Fuego overlook the competition from above with pepper jack cheese, crispy jalapenos, roasted corn guacamole and chipotle aioli. On the quieter side lies O’Connell’s Pub, whose burger list contains two options: hamburger and cheeseburger. O’Connell’s beloved

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burgers come with minimal toppings and have a backyard cookout feel, right down to the paper plates they’re served on. Also on this end is Mac’s Local Eats, which blows minds with its classic burger, available with one, two, three or four patties and sporting only ketchup, mustard, pickles, onion and American cheese. To be sure, Mac’s has some pretty wild options as well (check out the Dirty Sancho), but the classic double is its most popular, according to owner Chris “Mac” McKenzie. The extra: Hi-Pointe Drive-In’s St. Lunatic Burger “The biggest reach we did was probably the St. Lunatic burger. We actually did that out of St. Charles at Sugarfire, but that’s probably the craziest burger we’ve ever done. It got like 1,500 shares [on Facebook] in an hour or something like that. We did a regular bacon cheeseburger, but we made everything St. Louis, so we put a barbecue pork steak on it, toasted ravioli, Provel cheese sauce and then we used Imo’s pizzas for buns.” – executive chef Adam Pritchett The archetype: Mac’s Local Eats’ Classic Double “What we do is dry-age the cow, the whole thing, for four weeks. And then they turn the

June 2019


whole cow into ground beef. All of the meat: the chuck, the rib, the short loin, the tenderloin. I always look at it like if you go to another burger joint, a lot of times, it’s about the stack of flavors. You’ve got some goat cheese, some sauteed onions, whatever. But here, we’re trying to complement the meat and let the meat stand on its own. Toppings are great and everything, but the truth is … just get a cheeseburger. It’s so damn good. Just a cheeseburger.” – chef-owner Chris “Mac” McKenzie First Place Hi-Pointe Drive-In 1033 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, 314.349.2720, hipointedrivein.com Second Place (Tie) Mac’s Local Eats 1227 Tamm Ave., St. Louis, 314.479.8155, macslocaleats.com Second Place (Tie) Stacked STL 7637 Ivory Ave., St. Louis, 314.544.4900, stackedstl.com Third Place O’Connell’s Pub 4652 Shaw Ave., St. Louis, 314.773.6600, Facebook: O’Connell’s Pub Honorable Mentions Carl’s Drive-In, carlsdrivein.com The Dam, thedamstl.com

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y o u r fa v o r i t e restaurant

SUGARFIRE SMOKE HOUSE There’s a reason Sugarfire Smoke House has become synonymous with St. Louis barbecue. It won Favorite Barbecue and Favorite Restaurant, and Sugarfire 44 catering and events chef Matt Glickert was voted Chef of the Year. Here’s what it takes to keep the smoke rolling, by the numbers. – Lauren Healey Sugarfire Smoke House, various locations, sugarfiresmokehouse.com

650 employees



Meat smoked daily:

gallons barbecue sauce sold last year

5,000 lbs.


between the Olivette flagship and the Westminster, Colorado, franchise location

6 years in business

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shakes sold last year



850 miles


6 to 10

napkins required per plate

110 tons wood used per year

2,400 lbs. pork


1,600 lbs.

people follow all Sugarfire locations on Instagram


1,200 lbs. turkey

250 lbs. sausage

3,000 sandwiches served daily

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Taking in the picturesque view of the Mississippi River from the sprawling second story patio area, you won’t question why Grafton Winery & Brewhaus won Readers’ Choice Favorite Local Winery. With award-winning wines, a microbrewery and a restaurant, the winery has something for everyone. Grafton’s Vineyards location, with four acres of

vines and a fire pit overlooking a lake, offers a more traditional wine picnic setting for whiling away the day with a glass of vino year-round.


fa vorite local winer y

Winery & Brewhaus, 300 W. Main St.; The Vineyards, 21028 Eckert Orchard Road, Grafton, Illinois, 618.786.3001, thegraftonwinery.com June 2019

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THE GREAT SLINGER DEBATE By Ad a m Rot h b a r t h

To quote Southwest Diner co-owner Jonathan Jones: “A diner in St. Louis has to have a slinger.” It may not be as controversial, but the slinger has earned its place alongside Provel-topped pizza and breadsliced bagels as one of St. Louis’ most debated dishes. A classic slinger usually comprises eggs, meat, potato, chili and cheese. However, once you get into the hard-and-fast details, nothing is certain. As far as toppings go, the chili versus gravy argument has long separated the dish’s most passionate supporters. While torrents of chili dress the slingers at most local diners, Jones defends Southwest’s use of gravy with a simple question: “Um, have you had our gravy?”

and their parents (and grandparents) know. A very traditional take, the Sling Shot features hash browns, a burger, two eggs, chili and two pieces of American cheese. And that’s perfect, because let’s be real – nobody wants a weird slinger a 3 a.m. Third Place City Diner 3139 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.772.6100, citydinerstl.com With a massive menu featuring everything from huevos rancheros to Philly cheesesteak to liver and

onions, there’s something at City Diner for everyone. If you’re here for the slinger, you can look forward to two eggs, pork sausage, hash browns, chili and cheddar. Honorable Mention Courtesy Diner Various locations, courtesydiner.com If you haven’t eaten a slinger at Courtesy Diner between the hours of 1 and 5 a.m., you’ve missed the quintessential St. Louis late-night experience. The efficiently titled Slinger has two eggs, hash browns, hamburger and chili. There’s no

cheese, but it’s available as an addon. (Pro tip: Don’t forget Courtesy Diner is cash-only.) Honorable Mention Chris’ Pancake and Dining 5980 Southwest Ave., St. Louis, 314.645.2088, chrispancakeanddining.com Definitely the most out-there concoction, Chris’ slinger is more like a mutant egg dish – in a cool way. The Slinger Stuffed Omelet contains jalapeno, onion, smoked brisket, hash browns and cheddar, all topped with chili.

Here’s how your five Readers’ Choice Favorite Diners handle the slinger. First Place Southwest Diner 6803 Southwest Ave., St. Louis, 314.260.7244, southwestdinerstl.com Sitting at No. 1 in the Favorite Diner category, Southwest brings a unique (and often spicy) take on numerous breakfast staples. Its Southwest Slinger features two quarter-pound burger patties, home fries, melted longhorn cheese, two eggs and red or green chilies. Notice that actual chili is absent here. You mad? Get over it – for two bucks, you can add homemade sausage gravy (and you definitely should).

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Second Place Uncle Bill’s Pancake and Dinner House 3427 S. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, 314.832.1973, ubpancakes.com Open 24 hours a day since 1961, Uncle Bill’s is the spot that everyone

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the southwest slinger at southwest diner June 2019

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from top, aloo matar, chicken tikka masala and navratan korma

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himalayan yeti owner prem prasai

fa vorite indian

HIMALAYAN YETI One of the most popular ways to experience your Favorite Indian restaurant is Himalayan Yeti’s $10 lunch buffet. Full of crowd-pleasing classics – tandoori chicken, dal soup, tikka masala, palak paneer – the buffet allows you to enjoy more than a dozen north Indian and Nepalese dishes for less than as many dollars. – Heather Hughes


3515 S. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, 314.354.8338, himalayanyetistlouis.com

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L A S T B I T E // S T U F F T O D O


BY DARIAN STEVENSON SAUCE SPONSORED EVENTS IndiHop June 1 – 1 to 7 p.m., The Grove and Cherokee Street, St. Louis, indihopstl.com Shuttle between The Grove and Cherokee Street to sample about 50 beers, enjoy live music and support small businesses. Tickets available online.

Ginworld Gin Festival

Sample Soulard Sunday


June 2 – noon to 4 p.m., Mad Art Gallery, 2727 S. 12th St., St. Louis, 314.771.8230, madart.com Start Sunday Funday with a taste of gin at the Ginworld Gin Festival. The event is packed with workshops, educational seminars, botanical activities, more than 100 gins to sample and more than 50 distillers from around the country. A bloody mary bar and an Aperol spritz cart are also on hand. Tickets available online and at the door.

June 9 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Soulard, St. Louis, historicsoulard.com Tour historic Soulard while sampling fare like tacos, sliders and jambalaya from more than 20 restaurants and bars like Mission Taco Joint, Bogart’s Smokehouse and 1860 Saloon. Admission includes six food tickets and one drink ticket for a beer. Ten percent of proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity St. Louis. Tickets available online and at participating businesses the day of the event.

June 22 – noon to 4 p.m., 2nd Shift Brewing, 1601 Sublette Ave., St. Louis, 314.669.9013, 2ndshiftbrewing.com Sample a variety of brews during 2nd Shift Brewing’s Criderfest, which focuses on lagers this year. Enjoy tastings from more than 70 breweries like Wellspent Brewing Co. and White Rooster Farmhouse Brewery, plus Filipino fare for purchase from Guerrilla Street Food and St. Louis-style barbecue from Salt + Smoke. Tickets available online and at the 2nd Shift tasting room.

International Horseradish Festival

Pie Guy Pizza Class

Saucy Soirée

June 7 – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; June 8 – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Main Street between Seminary Street and IL-159, Collinsville, 618.344.2884, internationalhorseradishfestival.com Enjoy a day in downtown Collinsville at the free International Horseradish Festival. Purchase brews, wine and cocktails, along with food like horseradish walking tacos, smoked wings and pizza while grooving to live music. Learn how to prepare horseradish, then bring the kids to Craft Village or the Family Fun Area for carnival games and more.

June 16 – 5 to 7 p.m., Pie Guy Pizza, 4189 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.899.0444, pieguystl.com Hand toss dough and drink beer while learning how to create Pie Guy-style salads, garlic knots and pizza. Admission includes a complimentary beer, tossing lessons from Pie Guy owner Mitch Frost, as well as pizza dough and sauce recipes. Tickets available online.

June 23 – 5 to 8:30 p.m., Union Station, 1820 Market St., St. Louis, 314.772.8004, saucysoiree.com Get ready for the best foodie event of the year, Saucy Soirée. Sauce Magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice grand tasting party features bites from St. Louis’ best culinary establishments. Sample unlimited food, beer, wine and spirits from more than 40 top restaurants, wineries and breweries while supplies last. Tickets available online and at the door.

denotes a sauce-sponsored event

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Food Truck Friday June 7 – 4 to 8 p.m., Tower Grove Park, 4256 Magnolia Ave., St. Louis, 314.772.8004, saucefoodtruckfriday.com Sample food from more than 20 trucks like Bombay Food Junkies and K-Bop STL. Sip local drinks from Narwhal’s Crafted, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., 4 Hands Brewing Co. and Noboleis Vineyards as you enjoy live music from The Silver Arrows. Central West End Cocktail Party June 8 – 5 to 10 p.m., Central West End, St. Louis, cwescene.com Celebrate the first documented cocktail party at this boozy festival featuring food and drinks from local restaurants like Mission Taco Joint, Gamlin Whiskey House, Brennan’s and more. Listen to live music while neighborhood bartenders battle it out in a cocktail competition. Music & Wine Festival June 8 – 5 to 10 p.m., Carondelet Plaza, downtown Clayton, claytonmo.gov Enjoy an elegant evening filled with food, drink and dance. Check out vendors like Balducci Vineyards, Montelle Winery, Kingside Diner and Clementine’s Creamery while grooving to live music from Kim Massie and more during this free festival. BBQ, Bikes & Blues Festival June 29 – 1 to 7 p.m., Liberty Bank Amphitheater, 1 Riverfront Drive, Alton, 800.258.6645, libertybankamphitheater.com Head to Alton for a day of smoked meats, motorcycles and live music. Sample barbecue from vendors like Capitalist Pig, Big Daddy’s and St. Louisiana Q, then check out hundreds of bikes and listen to the sounds of Kim Massie and Souvenir at this free event.

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L A S T B I T E // W H AT I D O

J O E W E I N M A nn The office at Kenrick’s Meats & Catering hums all day. Employees come and go, cracking jokes and trading jibes with the easy familiarity of people who’ve known each other for decades and, in some cases, their entire lives. In the center of it all sits the 70-year-old patriarch of this operation, Joe Weinmann (aka Joe the Butcher), giving as good as he gets. Founder Herb Kenrick launched his eponymous mobile butcher truck in 1945. Nearly 75 years later, your Favorite Butcher Shop sells far more than premium cuts of beef and pork. Kenrick’s has its own lines of proprietary spice rubs and barbecue sauces, fresh produce, a lunch counter, prepared grab-and-go meals and a catering business offering everything from barbecue to whole-hog roasts and shrimp boils. Kenrick’s was a family business when Weinmann bought it in 1975 and, if he has anything to say about it, it will be a family business long after he retires – not that he plans to do that anytime soon. – Catherine Klene

I worked for a market called Cook’s Market. I was a bagboy when I was 16 years old. …. Mr. Cook asked me, ‘Joey, what are you going to do when you get out of high school?’ And my response was, ‘I’d like to be an apprentice butcher,’ and he goes, ‘OK ... when you get out of high school, you look me up.’ I went into the Army Reserves for six months, and [then] he kept his promise – he made me apprentice butcher.”

“I had the o p p o r t u n i t y to m e e t [ H e r b K e n r i c k ] before he

passed away, he and his wife, and he was proud that we kept the name on it. It’s a little easier to say ‘Kenrick’ than it is to say ‘Weinmann,’ you know?” “A c o u p l e w h o s h o p in here – I felt like the [holiday] M&M commercial – they go, ‘There is a Joe the Butcher!’ and you talk about feeling – I wish my father was still alive to see. They wanted an autograph from me!”

Kenrick’s Meats & Catering, 4324 Weber Road, St. Louis, 314.631.2440, kenricks.com

“ P e t e V i ta l e , w h o ow n e d K e n r i c k ’ s at the

“In 1975, we had three k i n d s o f s a u s ag e s :

time, told me he wanted to retire and try something else, and I told him I’d like to buy it. Basically, I put everything up. … I bought my first business for $15,000. … I was 25 years old. You’ll get a kick out of this – I bought it without telling my wife! I married my prom date, and she’s a wonderful lady, and she handled it extremely well.”

Italian sausage, country sausage and bratwurst. Now we make varieties of everything – we probably do 5,000 pounds a week of our sausages.”

terrible. … We don’t have to tell you where they hit. They hit the trashcans. And if something don’t meet our criteria, we work on it. Basically, we just keep going at it.”

“ F o r a r a d i o s tat i o n , g u e s s w h at w e m a d e ?

“ Ta k e c a r e o f t h e c u s t o m e r , and they’ll keep

Gummy bratwursts – gummy bears! … They were absolutely

coming back. We want to hear the good or the bad. Good, bad

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or ugly because it means a lot. You want to correct. If someone ain’t happy with a product, you want to know and you want to correct it immediately.” “ I t ’ s a fa m i ly b u s i n e s s . You know it’s

going to stay that way. When I’m gone, these guys know it’s going to go forward. I had two

guys who wanted to buy me out, and I told them, ‘What about my employees?’ and they said, ‘What about your employees?’ And I said, ‘Well, Joe didn’t build this by himself.’ People working here put long hours in. It’s a team. You treat people good. That’s why we have longevity here. Family comes first.” June 2019


“ I ac t u a l ly g o t s ta r t e d i n 1 9 6 8 .

June 2019

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L A S T B I T E // L A N D M A R K


Its official name may be Hodak’s Restaurant & Bar, but we’ve always called it Hodak’s Fried Chicken. The restaurant has served some of St. Louis’ most coveted poultry since 1962 and has the accolades to prove it – including winning Favorite Fried Chicken in this year’s Readers’ Choice Poll. But nowhere is Hodak’s more beloved than in its own neighborhood, where chicken is a weekly ritual for more than a few Benton Park customers. “A lot of them [come in] daily,” said Steve Connors, who has served as the restaurant’s bartender for almost three decades. “I’m surprised after all these years how many people come in three, four, five times a week. It’s very much the same clientele – two or three generations of their families have come here.”

Hodak’s Restaurant & Bar, 2100 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314.776.7292, hodaks.com

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June 2019


Hodak’s itself was a family endeavor for many years. Tony Hodak opened it in ’62, then his son, also Tony Hodak, and daughters, Tillie Klaric and Flori Muich, ran it before they turned it over to current owner Charlene Hegel in 1989. Throughout its reign, Hodak’s has prided itself on getting the freshest ingredients; these days, the chicken arrives daily from Jones Poultry in Barry, Illinois. The bird is famous, but it isn’t the only treasured dish at Hodak’s. “The barbecue ribs are always a big favorite,” Connors said. “And those fried mushrooms. We bread them here in-house and fry ’em up and send ’em out. People rave about those.”

June 2019

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Profile for Sauce Magazine

Sauce Magazine // June 2019  

Sauce Magazine // June 2019  

Profile for saucemag