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Tuesday, September 3, 2013 / 10:10 AM

Claus Schmitz Closes Two of Three Mosaic Restaurants

Claus Schmitz Closes Two of Three Mosaic Restaurants

Claus Schmitz, owner of the three Mosaic Tapas restaurants in St. Louis, has closed both the downtown and the Des Peres location, effective September 3. A mini-Mosaic, located at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (which operates under a licensing agreement), will remain open.

The ebullient Schmitz (below) grabbed St. Louis' attention back in 2004 when he opened the flagship Mosaic at the corner of 11th and Lucas and its "modern fusion" interpretation of the tapas concept, offering larger, "just- enough"-sized portions rather than the traditional bite or two. (Schmitz's roasted Chilean sea bass, the grilled corn and blue crab bisque, his hummus and pita--all were memorable.) 

But it was not until 2008, when he moved the restaurant one block up and one block over to the busy corner of 10th and Washington, that Mosaic kicked into high gear, a testament to the credo that "location is everything." 

The prime corner exposure produced a massive surge in business, which allowed for a expansion into the adjacent space, and the late-night Mosaic Lounge was born. It was Schmitz who masterminded and founded Prime 1000, a steakhouse that paid tribute to the dry-aging process, even to the point of making the city's first dry-aging room a focal point of the restaurant. 

In 2010, a scaled-down Mosaic opened at Concourse A at the airport, and the Des Peres store was added in 2011. 

Now there are those who will opine that recent expansions happened in too close a proximity to one another and others who'll say the recent proliferation of restaurants along Wash Ave, all within a block of Mosaic—Pi Pizzeria, Robust, Snarf's, Takaya New Asian—that led to its demise, but Schmitz says that is not the case.

Rather, it was the ramifications of a divorce in 2011 that caused him to "lose focus" and thereby reevaluate his future in St. Louis. Schmitz has daughters who live in Australia and he told Relish this morning "the distance has weighed heavily on me all those years," and as soon as the businesses are sold, he will pack his bags for Australia to be closer to them.

His brother, Frank Schmitz, owns BARCelona Tapas and Bocci Bar on Central Ave in Clayton, and sister Ellen, owns Coastal Bistro in the same block. In sibling fashion, brother and sister will take on as many Mosaic employees as they are able.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Tennessee-based Broadway Brewhouse is not in negotiations with Schmitz, as reported in an earlier version of this article. We sincerely regret the error.

 

When posting, please be respectful. Avoid profanity, offensive content, and/or sales pitches. Stlmag.com reserves the right to remove any comments or to contact you if necessary.

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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Sep 3, 2013 03:00 pm
 Posted by  mbonfanti3

I, until yesterday, worked at Mosaic for almost 4 years. Claus didn't have the decency to tell any of his employees in both his restaurants that we would be closing yeaterday. We didn't even have a chance to looks for a new job.

Sep 4, 2013 01:32 am
 Posted by  Backstabbath

Why do you keep deleting comments? People are just stating facts and giving a more balanced and accurate story than the one you've reported. I think the former employees have earned the right to be heard and the full story told. Have you thought about how the story you've printed could be hurtful to other people involved? It is irresponsible and immature to just delete the comments that don't agree with your very narrow view and understanding of this situation, but leave the ones praising someone who has left dozens of people jobless and is shirking responsibilities by skipping town.
But I suppose it doesn't matter because you'll probably just delete this comment too, just like all the others.

Sep 4, 2013 02:18 am
 Posted by  Vborage

Mosaic was a place that i really felt home. It was a magnificent part of my life and a privelage of a place to work. I know we werent given notice and it sucks but i dont want that putting any kind of damper on the amazing memories ive had there that i will remember for the rest of my life. Mosaic taught me how to have integrity in a workplace, it taught me responsibility, and most of all it connected me with many amazing people that i will feel close to for the rest of my life. I appreciate and cherish every experience i had there and wouldnt trade it for the world. Id like to thank claus for the opportunity as well as all of my co- workers for the amazing workplace they created.

-vance

Sep 4, 2013 07:43 am
 Posted by  skibum

This is a tale of two stories. Restaurants...good. Owner...bad

Claus Schmitz is not a good person. He has a history of playing money games to screw partners and other associated interests. After years of operating upside down, he can now run away under the veil of being with family.

Patrons can be sad. Employees should be mad but not surprised.

Sep 4, 2013 09:16 am
 Posted by  stlmagstaff

As a reminder, we reserve the right to remove any comments if necessary. Please be respectful and avoid profanity, offensive content, and personal attacks. —St. Louis Magazine staff

Sep 4, 2013 11:40 am
 Posted by  stlmagfan

As a former employee who has worked for Claus, all I have to say is Schadenfreude!

Sep 5, 2013 02:27 am
 Posted by  BBQ1

150 people do not have jobs now. Claus has more than likely skipped town. The employees at both locations had no notice that this would happen to them on the last day of the month, and it's fishy that the newspapers would report it on September 3rd. We hope he has some equity to pay the people he has screwed. We loved our neighbors, and we hope they'll come out ok.

Sep 5, 2013 09:04 am
 Posted by  Frank Schmitz

Frank Schmitz ·
BARcelona Tapas - Bocci Bar - COASTAL Bistro & Oyster Bar

As for the Gift Cards: I am working on a solution for all gift cards that were purchased from MOSAIC this year. The problem is that we have a different vendor for the cards and there may not be an electronic solution ( whats the balance on the card proof?) I'll keep working on it and will make an announcement as soon as I can.

As for all other comments: I'll hold my replies until the dust settles.

Sep 5, 2013 09:44 am
 Posted by  aa

This saddens me on many levels. Mosaic on Washington was my favorite restaurant in town. The Korean BBQ Pork in the baked apple caused me to need a moment to myself. ;) Simply phenomenal food. I had many firsts there and will very much miss that place. I'm saddened to hear of the irresponsibility of the owner not even letting his employees know of the closing. It doesn't sound like there was a death or illness that forced his hand to close suddenly. Unless we're not hearing the whole story, it's sad to have such little care for the employees who served faithfully for years.

Sep 7, 2013 03:50 am
 Posted by  mbonfanti3

I love that people will miss Mosaic, mostly because Mosaic's heart and soul was it's staff; servers, cooks, managers and Chef, Ben Lester. Claus hasn't been a part of Mosaic in years. We will miss our regulars, dearly. We will also miss our second family, each other. It all ended so abruptly and is very disheartening but we will remain friends.
-Maggie

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