Restaurateur of the Year

ST. LOUIS, MO: (STLRestaurant.News) – When people think about St. Louis, a great dining city isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. However, Gerard Craft, who last year became the first St. Louis-based chef to win the James Beard award for Best Chef: Midwest, is doing his part to change that image. The mastermind behind several trendy St. Louis restaurants Niche, Brasserie, Taste, Pastaria, and Porano Pasta, has made the Restaurant Business Online’s Power 20 list. The list is compiled of individuals who are both reinventing and reinvigorating the restaurant industry. These entrepreneurs are developing the local dining scene, setting trends and standing out. Although they vary from heads of regional chains to independents, this year’s Power 20 spotlights leaders are on an unending mission to build up their home markets and give guests an exciting reason to come to—or stay in—town. Innovation and inclusion are the core values of Craft’s Niche Food Group. While Craft has stuck to upscale until now, his newest Porano Pasta marks another fine-dining chef shifting to fast casual. The build-your-own pasta concept combines quick, Chipotle-style service with quality Italian food.