"We like to keep it exciting around here," chirped Arlene Browne, co-owner of Robust. I couldn't have said it any better myself...might as well be their mantra.
The wine bar/restaurant/wine store and general purveyor of good food and good times does many things right. One is having kept the intensity level up since they first opened the doors: the most recent add-on is today's announcement of Robust Catering. Eric Brenner, a renowned local chef and the former owner of Moxy (and also the man responsible for the New Orleans-inspired menu at the new Molly's), is leading the tangential offshoot.
Robust was heralded as SLM's Restaurant of the Year for 2008, and the momentum has not much changed. It's safe to say that with Brenner now on board, along with newly-installed GM Frank Romano, that the outlook for 2011 is rob ... uh, it looks really good. In Brenner's words, "We've got some amazing plans to rock the St. Louis scene."
Think about it: a loyal--and growing--clientele, 5 sommeliers on staff, mastery of the not-going-anywhere small plate niche, and now the talent and ability to take their show on the road, be it a blowout wedding reception to that mundane order for a few box lunches. Don't look now, but Stanley and Arlene Browne just drew even bigger ring around their empire. Long live the king and queen.