Animal lovers, rejoice!
No, not actual animals. We're talking to lovers of "The Animal," the famous triple patty burger from the late, lamented Big V's Burger Joint, which closed its tiny Delmar Loop counter in 2007.
Michele Coen-Racanelli, former co-owner of Big V's, is opening a new burger restaurant in Tower Grove South called The Dam, and she's bringing some old favorites, including "The Animal," with her.
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The Dam is set to open in early May next to the Amsterdam Tavern (3175 Morgan Ford Road; 314-772-8224) in Tower Grove South -- hence the name -- and it will be a spot to get some grub while watching soccer games or throwing back a pint next door.
"My friends own the bar, and they didn't want to mess with food," Coen-Racanelli says of the Amsterdam Tavern. "I was looking for a new kitchen and a new spot for my catering company too, so it worked. I love that area with Local Harvest and Three Monkeys, and you can't beat Tower Grove Park being right down the street."
Coen-Racanelli's catering company will be run out of the Dam's kitchen, and her office will be above the restaurant and bar. Once the Dam is open, the Amsterdam Tavern's beer garden will undergo renovations, and the façade of the entire building will get a facelift.
But back to the burgers.
The Dam will be part burger joint, part Belgian café, complete with hand-cut fries in paper cones and an array of dipping sauces. Coen-Racanelli also plans to open for early morning soccer games, following the schedule of the Amsterdam next door. (The Amsterdam, if you didn't know, is one of the area's most popular destinations for fans of the beautiful game.)
For those who aren't usually feeling burgers first thing in the morning (what's wrong with you?), the Dam will offer a breakfast selection. Coen-Racanelli is committed to using local eggs in her breakfast offerings as well as seasonal produce from local growers. Still, she admits, the burgers are the stars of the show.
"I thought bar food would be really fun," Coen-Racanelli says. "Big V's was such a success, and people always ask me about it. And we can take that burger and french fry concept and merge it with the Belgian theme."
The menu will be finalized next week, and the website should be completed soon after. Until then, check out the Dam's Facebook page, and drool over photos of the epic burger coming soon.