Summer Brings Fresh Eats, Festivals, and Competition to St. Louis

STL Restaurant News Weekly Recap May 28 – June 3, 2017

ST. LOUIS, MO/June 04, 2017 (STL.News) – It’s always a pleasure to write about new flavors, innovative culinary offerings, and fresh foodie fun in St. Louis.  As summer heats up, so does our vibrant restaurant industry.  Summertime is a special time in a great culinary city like St. Louis.  There’s always something new to try, whether it’s a great new restaurant, a rocking new festival, a special seasonal brew, or a whole new enterprise.  It looks like this summer will be no exception.

We work to find the stories that interest our readers most.  We want to bring you ideas and inspirations for your next great culinary adventure.  We get the scoop and then dish it out for your consumption.  What follows is a sampling of some of the biggest stories of the past week.  There are new flavors galore!  You’ll find new restaurants, old restaurants restored, and something special brewing inside a local shop.  There’s fresh competition and, because it’s summer, a festival to consider too.

We hope to satisfy your hunger for all the delicious news.  If there’s something you want us to add to the smorgasbord of stories, let us know!  We’d love to bring it to you.

Taqueria Z Adds Spice to Edwardsville Restaurant Scene

We introduced you to an unlikely pair creating some of the most authentic Mexican food in the region.  Mike Zanger and Zach Miller opened Taqueria Z last November with the hope of creating quality Mexican street food for students at SIUE and others in the metro-east.  It was so well received when it opened that the first few times they fired up the grill, the little Mexican joint ran out of food.  And “joint” is the right word to describe this authentic taqueria in the heart of Edwardsville.  It’s a small cube of a restaurant at 109 East Park Street, in a rehabbed garage.  The place is clean, and has a definite Mexican vibe, but it’s small.  Takeout is a mainstay of business at Taqueria Z.  They do have a tiny counter space and a couple small tables for diners inside, but they have a nice patio with sail awnings and twinkle lights.  The menu at Taqueria Z is simple, with a few starters, tacos, chacos, quesadillas, six craft beer taps, fine tequilas, and margaritas.

Old Southside Eatery is New Again as Lemmons by Grbic

We told you about the resurrection of a South City restaurant by a family who’ve helped to rejuvenate a once-struggling neighborhood.  Lemmons at 5800 Gravois Ave. in the Bevo neighborhood of South St. Louis is getting new life in the hands of the Grbic family.  The family owns and operates the popular Bosnian restaurant Grbic at 4071 Keokuk Street in the Dutchtown neighborhood.  They bought the shuttered Lemmon’s (then a pizzeria, bar, and concert venue) in 2014 with the intention of leasing the restaurant space, or perhaps creating a sports bar on the site.  But the building and fixtures weren’t exactly turnkey, so they spent the next three years renovating the place.  New decor, a new kitchen, and a new menu featuring American-Balkan fusion have transformed the once-shuttered restaurant.  The changes include pretty much everything except the iconic Lemmons signs—two neon masterpieces that date back to the first half of the 20th century.  Lemmons by Grbic opened May 24th promising something new for St. Louis diners.

Station Grill Competes in James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project

The James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project is back and St. Louis has a delicious home town hero vying for the prize.  The competition’s goal is simple: created the best tasting burger that blends ground meat with ingredients that make it healthier for consumers and the planet.  This year, Station Grill at St. Louis Union Station Hotel has entered the competition with its better-burger called The Perfect Union.  Station Grill Executive Chef Russel Cunningham created the flavorful burger with locally sourced ingredients.  The patty is a blend of beef from Eckenfels Farms (Ste. Genevieve), hen of the woods and cremini mushroom, shallots and chives.  It’s served on a brioche porcini and parmesan roll with smoked heirloom tomatoes, petite mizuna, garlic and smoked pepper aioli, and is topped with “Tipsy Cheddar” made with Schlafly Pale Ale at Marcoot Creamery (Greenville, IL).  Online voting runs through July 31.

Steampunk Brew Works is Creating Beer Inside Brewers’ Shop

St. Louis has a long and storied beer making history that dates back to the earliest European settlers here.  There are more than 60 commercial breweries in the St. Louis area today, with thousands of home-brewers create beer of their own every year.  There are clubs, associations, websites, publications, and shops dedicated to the art and craft of home-brewing.  One well known home-brew supplier in the area is St. Louis Wine & Beer-making at 231 Lamp & Lantern Village in Town and Country.  But this shop houses a big surprise for microbrew lovers, there’s a brewery operating right inside.  Owner Dave Deaton has said it’s every home-brewer’s dream to own a home-brew supply shop or their own brewery.  So, in 2006 the computer programmer/cook bought St. Louis Wine & Beer-making.  In 2015, he decided to check two dreams off, by building a microbrewery inside the supply shop.  On Saturday, May 26, Deaton opened Steampunk Brew Works, the microbrewery inside his brewers’ supply shop.  Steampunk has a three-barrel brewing system and offers a rotating selection of beers on tap.

Tour de Fat Will Bring Beer, Music & Merriment to Soulard

Beer and music festivals seem to go together like sunshine and summer.  And one of the more unique beer-music festivals of the year, the Tour de Fat beer, music, and bike festival is heading to St. Louis this summer.  The annual multi-city event is part concert, part beer festival, part cirque, and part fundraiser.  It was created by New Belgium Brewing and named for its popular Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale.  The traveling philanthropic festival will come to Soulard Market Park on June 10th.  Dozens of nationally-known bands and performers will be performing in different cities across America.  Nick Waterhouse will headline the festival in St. Louis.  The festival features a variety of performers, performance art, bicycles, beer, and costumed revelers.  Since its inception in 2000, the Tour de Fat has partnered with nonprofits in the host cities and raised more than $4.5 million to support local causes.  In St. Louis, Tour de Fat will benefit the Soulard Restoration Group.