Because You Can't Stop Watching Mike Randolph

One of the 75 reasons we love St. Louis in 2016

Chef Mike Randolph: always restless, always brilliant. - PHOTO BY GREG RANNELLS
  • Chef Mike Randolph: always restless, always brilliant.

About a year ago, someone started a mock Twitter account called "Bored Mike Randolph" to poke fun at the chef's — how do you say it — dynamism. "A coffee spot that has a lunch spot in it that has a dinner spot in it that has a Taco Bell in it that has a secret pierogi menu in it next Thursday," the prankster tweeted, taking Randolph's penchant for overlapping concepts to an absurd level.

Really though, he wasn't that far off. Since opening the Midtown iteration of the Good Pie in 2009, Randolph has opened and closed more restaurants — seven if you count the regularly occurring pop-ups; more if you count the dinner series — than most chefs do in their careers. It's been enough to give Randolph a reputation around town as restless, and if he was a lesser chef, Randolph might be nothing more than a punch line. Actually, there are more than a few chuckles when he says he's doing something new.

But once the wisecracks subside, the curiosity starts. When Randolph is on to something, everyone takes notice. St. Louis diners, other chefs, the James Beard Foundation — no one can stop watching Mike Randolph because they know that whatever he does, it's bound to be spectacular. The man can do anything: authentic Neapolitan pizza at Randolfi's (6665 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-899-9221), breakfast, high-end tasting menus at Half & Half (8133 Maryland Avenue, Clayton; 314-725-0719), and conceptual Latin American at Público (6679 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-833-5780). And he does it better than just about anyone else. At times, you almost wish he'd stop tinkering with your favorite pizza or that perfect arepa — it's not uncommon to go into one of Randolph's restaurants salivating for a dish from last week's menu only to find that it's gone. But really, this is the price we pay for his mad genius. He keeps us on our toes. And we wouldn't want it any other way.

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