Tommy Andrew in the kitchen at the late great Randolfi's.
Get excited, St. Louis: Dogtown is about to get even more delicious.
This fall, chef Tommy Andrew will debut Nomad inside Tamm Avenue Bar (1227 Tamm Avenue, 314-261-4902)
, as first reported
by Sauce Magazine
At Nomad, Andrew will serve a range of sandwiches, burgers and more, with several of his early menu items inspired by his impressive culinary resume. Andrew is a familiar face to many in the St. Louis restaurant scene, having previously worked at top spots that include now-shuttered Monarch and Randolfi's, as well as local favorites such as LoRusso's Cucina and Cinder House, where he worked as senior sous chef until leaving to launch Nomad.
Bob Brazell, co-owner of Tamm and chef-owner of Byrd & Barrel, first approached Andrew with the opportunity to open a concept inside the bar after Mac's Local Eats exited in August.
"I worked with Tommy back in my Monarch days; we've known each other for a long time," Brazell says. "When Mac's made the move to Bluewood [Brewing] we were looking for somebody, and it really just happened organically. We're excited; Tommy is an amazing chef with a great personality — he's funny as hell, which is always nice to be around — and he really cares about quality."
Brazell says that customers can still expect to find a couple of burgers at Tamm when Nomad debuts this fall, although decidedly different from the ones served at Mac's. So far, menu R&D has included a meatball sub inspired by the meatballs Andrew developed for Randolfi's — and aptly named the RIP Randolfi’s — as well as a housemade pastrami sandwich.
"I still get people... Random people I don't even know are like, 'Man, we miss those meatballs,' or, 'We miss Randolfi's,' and that hits close to home," Andrew says. "They don't realize how much that means to me. So that [sandwich] is a nod to Mike Randolph, putting the Randolfi meatball back on the menu.
"I don't like cutting corner, and I'm all about a good product," Andrew continues. "I have a big Ole Hickory Pits smoker on the way, and we're going to try to utilize that as much as possible. With the volume of people there, having a smoker is going to be a huge asset."
Other than the meatball sub, Andrew says that customers can expect a lot fun surprises. It's this focus on quality and creativity that cemented his partnership with Brazell and Tamm.
"Mac's did such a great job, and it was super high quality, and that was a big thing for us — we didn't just want to do wings or throw together some bar food," Brazell says. "We wanted to serve something high quality, and Tommy cares a lot about what he does. He'll be working with local farmers, cooking seasonally and using local produce when he can. It's going to be straightforward bar food and sandwiches with quality execution."
In anticipation for Nomad's debut, the kitchen at Tamm is currently being renovated, as is the dining room floor. When Nomad opens for business, diners will queue up in the space formerly occupied by Mac's Local Buys to help reduce crowding in the bar area.
"People will now enter through the former [Mac's Local Buys] market [for Nomad]," Brazell says. "It always created such a bottleneck before in the dining room, with people lining up at the window, and the line would be long in the bar. I think it will be a much better guest experience; it just frees up a lot more room."
Brazell says that customers can also expect Andrew to offer grab-and-go cold-cut sandwiches for sale on the market side of Tamm. Expanding the dining footprint and restaurant potential was especially attractive to Andrew, including the grab-and-go options.
"I love Tamm, and I used to love going up there and getting burgers from Mac's," Andrew says. "When this opportunity came up, we chatted about what would have to happen to make it work the way that I needed it to, and it all just fell into place with the renovation. We're doing a lot; people are going to be shocked. It's going to be absolutely beautiful and ran more like a restaurant. We'll have a walk-up counter more like Gioia's so there isn't a bottleneck in the middle of the bar. My main thing is making it easier for people to order their food, and that was a big thing that Bob and I talked about."
Nomad is targeting a late-October opening date. Andrew adds that Nomad will be closed on Tuesday yet Tamm will still serve food — specifically, the J.I.T.B. tacos from Byrd & Barrel, inspired by Jack in the Box tacos. "So there will be food when Nomad is closed for the day, and those tacos are really good," Andrew says with a laugh.
More as we learn it.
Editor's Note: This post was updated at 7:30 p.m. with comment from Tommy Andrew.
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