Quick Bites: 10.28.15

[new niche at niche]
Gerard Craft announced he’s handing over his executive chef toque to Nate Hereford, who worked his way up the ranks from cook, to sous to chef de cuisine at Niche over the past six years. Craft is probably busy opening his new downtown spot, not to mention being a two-time dad!

Business is booming for Sugarfire’s owner/chef Mike Johnson. After opening the latest ‘cuery in Valley Park (Hwy. 141 and I-44), Johnson is now at four locations, with plans to take Sugarfire to six. The newest digs offer a separate entrance for the grab-and-go clientele. In addition, Johnson took ninth place in the ‘Overall Sides’ category at barbecue’s World Series, The American Royal, where more than 600 pit teams vied for honors.

[energy surge]
Joule, Butler’s Pantry’s hip, stand-alone 4,200-square-foot event space, just opened at the old City Hospital at the edge of Lafayette Square. ‘Modern industrial’ best describes its look and feel; the space also is occupied by the climbing gym Climb So iLL and Element bistro. A new courtyard bridges the gap between Joule and its sister operation, the Palladium.

[full house]
Sam Boettler has taken up residence as chef at Planter’s House, replacing Bradley Hoffmann who left last month. Expect the new fall menu to reflect Boettler’s affection for French bistro fare and comfort foods.

Sad farewell to Dooley’s Beef ‘n’ Brew House, the iconic burger haven, where scoops of creamy cheese-crowned patties were grilled on the original flat-top saved from its former downtown location. Second-generation burger meister Sean Dooley said the prime culprit was lack of walk-in trade, especially when the Fox goes dark in the off-season.

[tough call]
The game ends Oct. 30 for J.Buck’s and Joe Buck’s restaurants. It was a tough call for owner Doug Albrecht, who made the decision with the blessing of the Buck family. But they went out on a high note, donating 10 percent of sales to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Now that’s a winner!


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