Juniper Hires Cassy Vires as New Head Chef

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Cassy Vires, right. | Jennifer Silverberg
  • Cassy Vires, right. | Jennifer Silverberg

Big news from the acclaimed Juniper (360 North Boyle Avenue; 314-329-7696) in the Central West End this afternoon. In his newsletter, chef and owner John Perkins made an exciting announcement.

"Cassy Vires, the owner and head chef of the much loved Maplewood restaurant Home Wine Kitchen, will be joining Juniper at the beginning of the year as our head chef," he writes. "I am excited to work with Cassy as we continue to tell stories through our food, drinks and service."

This is a welcome announcement after the disappointing news that Vires is shuttering her beloved Maplewood eatery Home Wine Kitchen (7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-802-7676) -- the last day of service is tomorrow.

The two chefs have collaborated in the past on projects like the Tour de Poulet and the Sponsor a Seat program for Food Outreach. We've left messages for both Vires and Perkins. In the meantime here's the full announcement (emphasis ours):

B I G News

I have exciting news I want to share with you all as we begin the new year. Ever since we opened our doors, I made it a point to be relentless in pursuing the best version of ourselves. For every accolade our chicken has received, for every bit of praise our breadbasket has elicited, for every satiated diner that left happy, I have never stopped asking how we can we be better, more consistent in our execution, more creative in offerings and more congenial in our service.

Those of you on this list include the original undergrounders, the ones who, years ago heard of a novel way of eating and dining together and signed up to learn the where and the when of the secret dinners I threw. And your support in those early years led to the success that Juniper has experienced over this past year. Your loyalty is why I share this news first with you.

Cassy Vires, the owner and head chef of the much loved Maplewood restaurant Home Wine Kitchen, will be joining Juniper at the beginning of the year as our head chef. Cassy has built a reputation both nationally, as a two time nominee for Food & Wine Magazine's People's Choice Best New Chef and locally for her restaurant work, including heading up Home Wine Kitchen and her work for numerous charities around town. Cassy's early life spent in Tennessee and at her aunts' farm in Alabama founded her love of Southern food. This, in addition to her years of experience and talent make her perfectly suited to bring her voice to the food we do at Juniper. I am excited to work with Cassy as we continue to tell stories through our food, drinks and service.

In addition to Cassy joining our team, we are adding a new catering space above Juniper's main dining area. The room will be able to hold sitdown dinners for 40 (possibly more) and cocktail events for 60. The space should be available mid-february. More details will follow soon. In the meantime you can contact Kathy Pelch to inquire about booking the space at Kathy@Junipereats.com.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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