by Nancy Stiles
Chef Ben Poremba already has a lot on his plate: Elaia, Olio, La Patisserie Chouquette. Now he's adding not one but two more high-profile projects to the list. His hotly anticipated fried chicken restaurant now has a name (Old Standard) and a big chef (Chris DiMercurio). He's also opening the Dining District inside the new United Provisions in the Loop.
As first reported by St. Louis Magazine , Old Standard will open this September at 1621 Tower Grove Avenue. Poremba snagged DiMercurio, who recently made waves at Element. DiMercurio has already been working with Poremba's team and is developing the fried-chicken-heavy menu.
"From the get go, I knew I was going to open something that's quite different from what we have going on at Elaia and Olio," Poremba told us in October. "The American comfort-food concept is just not done in St. Louis, not on a daily basis, and it happens it's one of my favorites."
As for the Dining District, it's part of a large development on Delmar Boulevard for Washington University. The upstairs portion of the buildings will be student housing, but the ground floor will feature a 24-hour diner and a market -- two things somehow missing from the Loop. Poremba's Dining District will be inside the United Provisions grocery and will be similar to Eataly in Chicago. It's a very small restaurant concept inside a very large market.
The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner and will also have a coffeehouse portion serving Northwest Coffee and pastries from La Patisserie Chouquette. The building's grand opening is set for August 11.
Poremba did not respond to requests for comment, but look for news about Joe Edwards' 24-hour Peacock Diner later this week.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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