1 of 7
2 of 7
3 of 7
4 of 7
5 of 7
6 of 7
7 of 7
Editor's Note: Being able to clear even one small plie of scribblings off one's desk is an accomplishment. To that end, the inaugural edition of Loose Ends.
Eleven65 (1165 Technology Drive in O’Fallon, Mo) shuttered two weeks ago after less than six months of operation. A former J. Bucks restaurant, the free-standing building was huge—8000 SF and over 300 seats—and reviews had been mixed. One yellow flag: after announcing a May 2014 debut (reported by severial media, including Relish), the restaurant did not open its doors until late September. Eleven65’s Facebook page is no longer active, but the website is, complete with menu, for those curious to see what they missed. Attempts to reach out the owners have been unsuccessful.
The former location of Sage Urban American Grill is for sale (see left). In early February, Nancy Stiles of the RFT reported that the building's current tenant, Gustos 314 (1031 Lynch), had "closed indefinitely -- maybe even for good.” Earlier that month, SLM had chimed in with a favorable first glimpse, but Gustos 314 never gained traction, and closed before the two month mark. An employee of Mama Gusto’s, the successful sister restaurant in Lebanon, Ill., told Relish a broken water pipe had caused major damage and that was the reason for the closure. Owner Al Carfagno (featured in SLM's “Cheap Eats” cover feature in May 2013) has not been available to confirm that information.
The Richmond Heights location of St. Louis Bread Company (6701 Clayton Road, at right) is moving across the street to the former Applebee’s (6734 Clayton, at Big Bend), vacant since last July. One of the earliest and smallest local units in the chain, the move to the much larger, 5400 SF free-standing building will feature the BreadCo's newer bakery-cafe model, with a fireplace, cozy seating, floor-to-ceiling windows, and updated bakery cases. Just as significant, the new digs have quadruple the parking of the prior location. Although the corporate office has not announced a move-in date, renovations such as this typically take 90-120 days. At press time, the Applebee's building has been gutted, and the 10,000 tchotchkes on those walls (a rough guess) are but a memory.
If you haven’t noticed, Bocci Bar (16 N. Central) has been on hiatus for the winter, closed for renovations. Spring has sprung, and owner Frank Schmitz has announced a reopening date as well as a modification of the Bocci concept: Bocci Wine Bar will be a “no reservations, no fuss, small plates wine bar.” Why the switch-up? “Bocci Italian just wasn’t working,” Schmitz confessed. “It was being perceived as too formal, too regimented.” Schmitz also owns nearby BARcelona (34 N. Central), the über-popular tapas bar that's busy even when most other restaurants are not--the sidewalk tables stretching far up the street are testament to that. Schmitz agrees: "The casual, drop-in, high-energy places are what’s been working and what are still working.”
When asked if the rejiggered Bocci wouldn’t pull sales from his bread and butter bar, Schmitz said Bocci's menu and feel would be completely different. The lighting has been changed, cork panels have been added to several walls, and countertop wine refrigerators will guarantee the 35 glass wines offered (70 are available by the bottle) are served at optimum temperatures, something he’s amazed doesn't happen at all wine bars. A Coravin has been purchased for tapping the rare and vintage wines, and one day a week, a $20 bill buys a selection of 5-7 wines, plus appetizers. There will be a monthly dinners as well, focusing on the wines of one country. The rollaway wall of doors to Bocci Wine Bar will swing open April 5.
Corvid’s Café (5001 Mardel) opened Saturday in the former World Café space (below) in a densely-populated area at the corner of Hereford and Mardel. It’s owned by John and Cindy Panian, who wanted to name the restaurant after their daughter--nicknamed Magpie--but since a café already exists by that name, they opted for Corvid’s, after the family of birds that includes the magpie. Speaking of unusual names, the Panians go by the nickname-surname “Crabcake,” which makes sense when one realizes they own Crabcakes Creative, the catering company next door (5003 Mardel). So are crabcakes on the menu at Corvid’s? You betcha, along with pizzas, paninis, and a variety of stuffed baked potatoes. Presently, Corvid’s is open for lunch and dinner, and there’s no liquor license yet, but we're told that’s in the works, as well as menus for breakfast and dessert.