by Ian Froeb
Araka (131 Carondelet Plaza, Clayton; 314-725-6777) will close after service on Saturday, March 9, according to a report from George Mahe of St. Louis Magazine. Gut Check has a call in to owner Brad Beracha for independent confirmation. More from him as we learn it.
Update: (Wednesday, February 20, 11:45 a.m.) Gut Check just received a press release from Araka confirming the restsaurant's closure on March 9.
Araka's run of five and a half years has been a bumpy one. The upscale, visually stunning restaurant opened in the fall of 2007 as the cornerstone of the new Crescent retail-residential development in Clayton. Initial reviews, including from Riverfront Times, were very positive. In 2010, however, executive chef Mark Curran was charged with burglarizing the restaurant. (According to court records, he is currently serving five years probation.) In 2012 the restaurant had to reach out to the local press to swat down persistent rumors that it was about to close.
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Araka's space will not be empty for very long. Mahe reports that 801 Chophouse, an upscale steak-and-seafood restaurant, will open there. 801 Chophouse currently has four locations: Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; Leawood, Kansas; and Kansas City. The menu features USDA Prime steaks as well as other cuts (pork chops, lamb chops osso buco). Seafood features plenty of shellfish, both raw and cooked. The prices are very high, with most steaks and other meat selections priced over $40, with à la carte potato and vegetable side dishes.
Gut Check also has a call into 801 Chophouse to confirm the St. Louis location. More as we learn it.