Celebrating Love, Food, and Fun – STL Restaurant News Recap

STL Restaurant News Weekly Recap

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 10, 2017 (STL.News) As we work to keep our readers informed about the culinary happenings around St. Louis, we’ve noticed it’s been a week of celebration, accolades, and preparation as Valentine’s Day approaches.  The national restaurant spotlight shone on a local favorite. St. Louis celebrated National Pizza Day, and we did too with an updated list of your favorite pizzerias.  And love is in the air as St. Louis restaurants and diners get ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

St. Louis is a foodie city, no doubt.  The huge number of award-winning restaurants, craft breweries, wineries, and artisan food makers is testament to our love of all things edible.  In a culinary city like St. Louis, there’s always much to write about.  And since we cover the entire metro area, there’s always something fresh and mouthwatering to share with you.

We try to focus our attention on the stories that will interest our readers—food lovers looking for that next great meal.  But we all get busy, so in case you missed something, here’s a recap of some of the top stories this week.  And, as always, if there’s something you want us to cover that we’re not already covering let us know! We’ll be happy to check it out.

Jefferson County Winemakers: LaChance Vineyards

There seems to be a new Missouri wine trail taking shape just south of the Meramec River, right on St. Louis’ doorstep—in Jefferson County.  In 2014 when Harold and Tami Hamby opened LaChance Vineyards (pronounced la-shontz) in DeSoto, it was just the third winery in the county.  There are now four running along a trail either side of Hwy. 21 from Barnhardt through Hillsboro and down to this lovely vineyard in DeSoto.  LaChance is one of the coziest among them.  At present there are 14 wines bearing the LaChance label.  They run from sweet whites to dry reds and even a fine Norton.  LaChance is a popular destination for weddings, bridal showers, and other special events.  It’s also a great place to celebrate holidays like Valentine’s Day.  On Thursdays and Fridays they do dinner (6-8:00 p.m.) by reservation.  And for Valentine’s they’re adding two casual, yet romantic evening meals on Saturday, February 11 and Tuesday, February 14.  Again, reservations are required.

Romantic Steakhouse Is Prime for Date Night: Andria’s Countryside Restaurant

Tucked into the woods on the eastern edge of Edwardsville is one of the best steakhouses in the St. Louis metro area.  Andria’s Countryside Restaurant at 7415 State Route 143 has been serving prime cuts to diners in the know for 28 years.  In fact, they were the first restaurant in the U.S. exclusively licensed to serve only USDA Prime Certified Angus Beef.  It comes from Niman Ranch, which raises cattle hormone free and antibiotic free from birth.  Every steak is expertly cut to order at Andria’s, and then perfectly cooked.  Everything is made by scratch too by the expert culinary team led by Executive Chef Jeremy Kosydor.  They use only the freshest ingredients, even growing many of the herbs, vegetables, and fruits right on their five-acre spread.  The restaurant was built into a converted ranch house, giving it a uniquely charming ambiance.  In fact, Andria’s was just named one of the 21 Most Romantic Restaurants in Illinois by the lifestyles website Only In Your State (Dec. 10, 2016).  So this is a terrific date night restaurant, for Valentine’s Day or any special night.  Reservations are strongly urged any time, and required for holidays and weekends.

Candicci’s Valentine’s Day: Serving That Special Meal for 36 Years

One of St. Louis’ favorite places for Valentine’s Day is Candicci’s Restaurant and Bar in Ballwin.  This year is sure to be no exception.  They’ll be serving a special Valentine’s Day 2017 menu beginning Friday, February 10th thru Tuesday, February 14.  Reservations are highly recommended, as the Italian food experts have been a date night favorite for more than 36 years.  Among this year’s menu choices you’ll find the Surf & Turf plate of crab stuffed lobster tail paired with a 5 oz filet topped with Asparagus and Classic Hollandaise; Blackened Grouper topped with sautéed shrimp Cajun cream; and the Pork Rack Chop topped with apple bourbon butter glaze. Manager, Bob Candice recommends making reservations quickly as this is one of their busiest holidays every year.

Another Sweet Valentine Option at Jilly’s Cupcake Bar and Cafe

Everyone knows the famed bakery makes amazing cupcakes.  They’ve been featured on national and local television for their sweets.  But Jilly’s Cupcake Bar and Cafe is also known for their cafe fare. For Valentine’s Day, in addition to their one-of-a-kind specials and mouth-watering desserts, Jilly’s is offering a fabulous prix fixe meal.  The four-course special is available for lunch or dinner on Sunday, February 12.  Reservations are available from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The cost is $24.99 per person.  The meal includes appetizers, salad, entree, and of course, dessert!  Diners can choose from menu options like Rosemary & Garlic NY Sirloin Roast with Silken Béarnaise Sauce and Smoked Mushrooms or Grilled Fennel & Peppercorn Salmon with Fennel Leek Fondue and Champagne Citrus Sauce.  There’s also roast chicken and a vegetarian option!

Updated Pizza Top 10 Just in Time for National Pizza Day

In the same week that local restaurateur Vince Valenza’s Blues City Deli was named to Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat List for 2017, his pizza venture out back, Melo’s Pizzeria topped the STL Restaurant News’ customer review-based Top 10 Pizza Restaurants list.  You could call Melo’s the little pizzeria that could.  After just over a year in business, Melo’s authentic wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza has become St. Louis’ favorite.  This popular little pizza shop came about after Valenza bought the building and lot he’d been leasing for the deli (in 2013).  The brick garage behind the sandwich shop was fully restored, including installation of a blue-tiled, wood-fired oven from Naples.  Vince’s son Joey Valencia applied his baking skills, and in December 2015, Melo’s Pizzeria was born.  Melo’s offers classic Neapolitan style pizza made with the same kind of simple, high-quality ingredients as Valenza uses in his nationally acclaimed Blues City Deli.

Official Mardi Gras Gets Underway: Gourmet Weekend

Mardi Gras 2017 officially gets underway with Gourmet Weekend.  It begins with the 2017 St. Louis Mardi Gras Beer, Wine, and Whiskey Taste in the Budweiser Party Pavilion at Soulard Market Park, 1845 South 9th Street (Friday, Feb. 10).  Guests sample the products of more than 50 wineries, breweries, and distilleries from around the world, including Beam Suntory whiskey and a variety of Anheuser-Busch beers.  There’s also plenty to eat, with barbecue samples from some of St. Louis’ premiere pitmasters: Sugarfire Smoke House, Salt and Smoke, and Pappy’s Smoke House.  Then on Saturday (Feb. 11), it’s the annual Cajun Cook-Off, pitting 10 amateur chefs against each other.  Baton Rouge chef, Food Network and Travel Channel personality, and acclaimed food blogger Jay Ducote will host the competition and demonstrate his own Cajun expertise.  Again, this event will feature plenty to eat and drink!

A Brand New Feature: The Latest News, Events, and Specials

There are thousands of restaurants in the St. Louis metro area.  STL Restaurant News strives to bring readers the highlights that make their search for the perfect dining experience a little easier.  Now, we’re giving local restaurants, breweries, wineries, bakeries, and other food crafters the chance to add their announcements, specials, and events to a regular feature column called “The Latest.”  This week’s column featured announcements and specials from Candicci’s Restaurant and Bar, Diablitos Cantina, Krieger’s Hometown Sports Grill, TGI Fridays, Talayna’s Italian Restaurant, and Wasabi Sushi Bar.  So if you are a restaurant owner or manager please feel free to share your information with us by sending an email to [email protected]