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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.