Q&A With Central Table Food Hall Developer Walter McClure



When Gut Check first received notice about a new concept for the Central West End called Central Table Food Hall (23 South Euclid Avenue), grandiose visions of Hogwarts' Great Hall-style dining with magical, never-ending feasting supplies came to mind. Of course, such a thing could never exist in real life. Restaurant developer Walter McClure does, however, have something just as fascinating (and potentially magical) in mind.

Inspired by upscale communal dining concepts such as Plaza Hotel Food Hall in New York and Umamicatessen in Los Angeles, Central Table Food Hall seeks to provide a variety of modern, craft-inspired meal options for professionals, students and beyond.

See also: -Tidbits: Central Table Food Hall to Open in March

Think big -- the dining and retail destination plans to occupy 10,000-square-feet of space near the corner of South Euclid Avenue and Forest Park Parkway by March.

"Multiple display cooking areas provide guests with the opportunity to see and experience the preparation of dishes, not just the final product placed in front of them. The diversity of these offerings allows guests to share a wider selection of choices than one would find at most restaurants," says McClure.

What he's referring to are seven separate food areas to choose from that include tapas and flat breads, a raw bar, a sushi bar, a grill and a deli. Some other options to indulge in make up separate areas such as a coffee and European chocolate bar, a wine bar and an artisan market with prepared takeout entrees, appetizers, charcuterie and cheese plates and desserts.

Cary Neff, author of Conscious Cuisine, provides menu development consultation. Chef Nick Martinkovic, most recently of Roberta's, will head up the kitchen. Read on for more about what to expect from this exciting new dining emporium.

Gut Check: Can you give me an example of a typical patron's experience while approaching Central Table Food Hall for lunch? The lunch guests will approach any of several display cooking areas in the food hall to order his/her lunch. Menus will be available with offerings from all areas of the restaurant. Our guests will order whatever they want to eat in the restaurant or take out. Guests will take their seat of choice and we will deliver their meal to them in minutes, or we will package it to go. How were chef Cary Neff and executive chef Nick Martinkovic selected to develop the concept? Chef Neff's 30 years of hospitality expertise in some of the nation's most celebrated restaurants, hotels, resorts and spas makes him a natural choice for any restaurant project. Chef Neff is regarded as a visionary in his approach to cuisine with conscious devotion to flavor, presentation, satisfaction and, above all, its nutritional attributes. Nick Martinkovic is a mentee of Chef Neff and brings his most recent experience as Sous Chef at Brooklyn's hottest restaurant, Roberta's, with him to St. Louis.

What is the vision for the interior? What can patrons look forward to in its vibe and design? Central Table will have a causal, relaxed, and friendly ambiance. With its different seating and display cooking areas there will be lots of activity to intrigue the interested diner, but plenty of room for those that just want to enjoy their own company. It will look like a food hall, something you will have to see for yourself!

What are some specific examples of dishes, items, beverages and anything else that might appear on Central Table Food Hall's initial menus? Many choices: Maine lobster roll or gnocchi with Benton's Bacon, mussels, and tomato Broth; fresh Oysters or a cheese & Salume Beddu board; Neopolitan Bianca pizza or "The Burger;" vegetable lasagna or a butcher's steak; a great Shiraz or a Schlafly Pale Ale.

What price point will items be offered at? We are still sourcing products and have not priced the menu yet, but Central Table will offer very competitive pricing and excellent value to for the dining dollar, and price points for almost everyone.

Around what days/times will Central Food Hall be open to the public? Central Table will be open early for coffee, a light breakfast, and a place to relax. We will remain open all day, with lunch starting at 11:00 a.m. and dinner at 5:00 p.m..

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