A few days after Food & Wine magazine named Gerard Craft of Niche one of its Best New Chefs for 2008, my colleague Kristen Hinman broke the news of another St. Louis connection to the national dining scene. Chris Hoel, formerly the sommelier at Monarch and one of two advanced sommeliers (as certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers) in town, is taking a job at the French Laundry, super-chef Thomas Keller's restaurant in Yountville, California. Hinman profiled Hoel in an April 19, 2007, feature story, "The Wine Master," as he vied to become a master sommelier.
SO HOW MANY NEW PIZZA JOINTS will open in St. Louis this year? Katie's Pizzeria Café and Pi opened over the winter, and this month has seen two new pizzerias debut: Bridge & Tunnel Pizza and Onesto.
Bridge & Tunnel is located at 1131 Washington Avenue, a sleek spot just up the street from the new Flamingo Bowl. As its name might suggest — to expatriate Yankees, at least — Bridge & Tunnel offers pizza by the slice (as well as whole pies).
Onesto, at the corner of Finkman Street and Macklind Avenue in south city, is the new spot from Vito and Michele Racanelli of the late, much lamented Big V's Burger Joint. The menu features pizza, calzones, sandwiches and pasta. Alas, there is no burger that I can find — however, Big V's fans take note: sandwiches do come with hand-cut fries.
ANNE MARIE LEMCKE, owner of Webster Groves catering company Art of Entertaining, recently filmed an appearance on the Food Network's Food Network Challenge. She and Butler's Pantry executive chef Greg Ziegenfuss competed in a cocktail-party challenge to air later this year.
Now, you might have seen this reported in various local media over the past week. But do you know who broke the story?
No, not my Gut Check blog. I didn't know until I read it in Riverfront Times' new weekly dining e-newsletter "Tip of the Tongue." You can subscribe by visiting the RFT Web site and entering your e-mail address in the "Riverfront Times Insiders" box on the upper right corner.
ARE YOU OPENING A NEW RESTAURANT? Know of a place that has closed? Something else for me to chew on? Drop me line at email@example.com. And be sure to check this column's virtual doppelganger for daily updates at http://blogs/riverfronttimes.com/gutcheck.