by Cheryl Baehr
Look closely at the above image. In just five short days, this will no longer be in your life.
I'm still in denial that Home Wine Kitchen (7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-802-7676) is closing. The Maplewood restaurant has been a mainstay of the St. Louis dining scene for what seems like forever (actually, it's been around for just over three years), but on December 31st, chef Cassy Vires and her husband Josh Renbarger will be serving their last guests. The announcement of Home's closure "for circumstances outside of our control" sent shock waves through the town's food community -- and ever since, sad patrons have been packing the small dining room and bar for their last chance to nosh on Vires' signature comfort food.
It's hard to say what I will miss the most about Home Wine Kitchen. Those sea salt shortbread biscuits? Fried chicken? Shrimp and grits? I lament each one's departure from my life, but it's the classic cheeseburger that I can't bear to live without. The giant burger, made from Missouri grass-fed beef and just a hint of pork is covered in bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, roasted garlic aioli and an oozing fried egg. It's the type of burger that would cause embarrassment from the amount of juice dribbling down my chin, were I in a position to care -- it's a badge of honor.
I'll miss you, old friend.
Previously: #53: The Smoked-Turkey Nachos at Grapeseed #54: The Pig Wings at Mathew's Kitchen #55: Freshly Baked Bread from Red Fox Baking & Catering #56: Cafe Natasha's Beef Shish Kebab #57: The Maine-Style Lobster Roll at Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. #58: Panorama's Croque-Madame #59: The Italian Beef Sandwich at Vinnie's Italian Beef & Gyros #60: The Egg Rolls at Bek-Hee Chinese Restaurant #61: Pumpkin Maple Latte at Kaldi's Coffee #62: Casconcelli at Giovanni's Kitchen #63: Athlete Eats' Bibimbap Bowl #64: Salt + Smoke's Beef Brisket #65: Buffalo Cauliflower Bites at Lulu's Local Eatery #66: Home Wine Kitchen's Shortbread Sea-Salt Biscuits #67: Death in the Afternoon's Grilled Mahi Mahi Sandwich #68: The Brisket Burger at Three Flags Tavern #69: Siam's Kimchi Hot Pot #70: Urban Chestnut's "Strammer Max" #71: "Mom's Special" at Mom's Deli #72: Broasted Chicken at Frank & Helen's Pizzeria #73: Parmesan Chicken Broth at Bocci Wine Bar #74: "Burger" at Small Batch Whiskey & Fare #75: Smoked Salami Sandwich at Adam's Smokehouse #76: Gyro on Pita at Olympia Kebob House & Taverna #77: The Johnny Cake at TreeHouse #78: A Classic Glazed Doughnut from Pharoah's Donuts #79: Skordalia at the Purple Martin #80: Beef Brisket Birria Taco Taco at Mission Taco Joint #81: Cappuccino from Sump Coffee #82: The Salted Caramel Croissant at Pint Size Bakery #83: Gnocchi at the Good Pie #84: Truffled Tater Tots at Blood & Sand #85: Marinated Feta Cheese at Evangeline's Bistro and Music House #86: Chorizo and Egg Sope at Spare No Rib #87: Duck Burger at Planter's House #88: WildSmoke's Smoked Chicken Wings #89: The Duck Prosciutto Flatbread at Bella Vino #90: The "Dam Burger" at the Dam #91: The "Hog Mess" at Blind Tiger #92: Khao Soi at Fork & Stix #93: The "Smokehouse Club" Sandwich at Bud's Smokehouse #94: Cafe Natasha's Yogurt Dip #95: Macarons at La Patisserie Chouquette #96: The Libertine's Fried Chicken #97: Pork Belly at Element #98: M'Lwee at Baida #99: Breadbasket at Juniper #100: Bucatini All'Amatriciana at Pastaria