Arts leaders sing enthusiastically about favorite restaurants

BY PATRICIA CORRIGAN, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

St. Louis is a great restaurant town, serving arts patrons and arts leaders alike. We asked movers and shakers in the arts community where and what they like to eat. Here are their responses. 

Warning: Reading this article will make you hungry.

 

Gene Dobbs Bradford

President and CEO – Jazz St. Louis

 

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What is your favorite romantic restaurant?

Brasserie By Niche has a simple yet sophisticated atmosphere that reminds me of my honeymoon in Paris. The lighting and ambiance are perfect for a couple that is falling in love. And the roast chicken with shiitake mushrooms, bread and jus is absolutely my favorite thing to eat. Pair it with their excellent frites, and you have the meal I would ask for if it I knew it was my last day on earth.

 

What do you eat at your favorite breakfast or brunch spot? 

My daughter Mireille and I have a ritual of going out to breakfast on Saturday before running our weekly errands. Mireille is a connoisseur of hash browns, and her favorite place is a St. Louis landmark: Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. My personal favorite is their pecan pancakes. With some butter and syrup, they are like cakey pralines. I can’t get enough!

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Joe Hanrahan

Artistic director and co-founder – The Midnight Company

 

What is your favorite romantic restaurant? 

For my wife and me, it was always Duff’s, and its closing was a heartbreaker. Now my favorite is Frazer’s. Similar vibe, longtime servers and owners, an extensive menu, with many, many specials. They do any fish great, but their signature dish for me is Salmon Frazer, with horseradish sauce and red beans and rice on the side.

 

What is your favorite neighborhood restaurant?

I live in South County, where I’ve long professed any good restaurant with the guts goes there to die. Years ago, I called Phil’s and Jack’s (barbecue joints on Gravois) the Tony’s and Anthony’s of South County. They’re closed. Joanie’s, the pizza place from Soulard, opened a second restaurant out here. It was great for six months. Then it closed. It was replaced by Gia’s, another not-bad pizza place from Illinois.

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Ron Himes

Artistic director – The Black Rep

 

Where do you like to eat before or after a performance? 

Herbie’s in the Central West End is always so very accommodating, getting you in and out before the curtain. Sean Gallagher, the manager, also is willing to make sure we can eat after the show on short notice. A great place to eat, drink and to occasionally catch the Midnight Company. (Author’s note: Herbie’s is moving to Clayton in October.) 

 

What is your favorite romantic restaurant? 

Fleur de Lilies. It’s Cajun, and I love good Cajun. The brunch is wonderful – the Bananas Foster French Toast, the shrimp and grits, the mimosas and my wife’s smile.

 

What is your favorite neighborhood restaurant?

Evangeline’s. The Broiled Crab Parmesan — the butter, the lime and the French bread. Yum! [Also] the Mussels Sauvignon with the red wine tomato bouillon. I usually start with the Cafe Orleans, which is a baby spinach salad with black walnuts, mandarin oranges and feta – and always a couple of French 75s. 

 

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Deanna Jent

Artistic director – Mustard Seed Theatre

 

Where do you like to eat before or after a performance? 

Preshow, I love Seedz Cafe in the DeMun neighborhood. Everything is vegan and delicious. Their desserts and wines always put me in a good mood.

 

If you like to linger in a coffee shop alone or with friends, where do you go? 

My coffee shop “office” is Foundation Grounds in Maplewood. I get the Live Free or Chai tea with almond milk and a molasses cookie. For lunch, I love the Goddess salad. My day at “the office” usually ends with a short walk up the street to Kakao Chocolate.

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Jack Lane

Executive producer – Stage St. Louis

 

Where do you like to eat before or after a performance? 

The place to eat before or after a Stages show is One 19 North. It’s an incredible small-plates, big-taste restaurant in downtown Kirkwood with an impeccable staff. I always order the smoked gouda grits and the New Orleans BBQ shrimp. The trick is to put the shrimp right on top of the grits – the perfect flavor combo.

 

If you like to linger in a coffee shop alone or with friends, where do you go? 

My favorite place to grab a coffee is the Kaldi’s inside the Des Peres Schnucks. Incredible baristas, always freshly brewed coffee, scrumptious pastries – what’s not to love? It also helps that I drive past it whether headed to the Stages office or to the Robert G. Reim Theatre for a performance. It’s kinda my hangout!

 

Where do you head for a good, reasonably priced meal? 

Next door to the Stages office in Chesterfield is a place called Scarecrow. You are sure to get a great meal for an even greater price. My favorite thing on the menu is the bison burger. Add some melted cheddar and ketchup, and you’ve got one of the best burgers in town!

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Frances Levine

President – Missouri History Museum

 

When friends visit from out of town, where do you take them for a meal?

Peacemaker Lobster & Crab. Kevin and Chris Nashan, the owners, have Santa Fe connections, like mine. They also have yummy specials, though sometimes we’ll split a lobster roll. I also like Sidney Street Café or Salt and Smoke, where they have great side dishes.

 

What is your favorite neighborhood hangout?

For a great salad and a good glass of wine, I go to Katie’s Pizza. They have interesting seasonal salads. And the DeMun Oyster Bar makes the world’s best crabcakes and terrific cocktails.

 

What’s your favorite new place?

Parigi in Clayton. It’s very sophisticated and you can get a nice meal there.

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Denny Reagan

President and CEO – The Muny

 

Where do you head for a good, reasonably priced meal? 

Bartolino’s Osteria is my “go to“ restaurant, especially for lunch. It’s not far from the Muny, parking is easy and, if I’m meeting someone, it’s handy to both highways. The lunch menu is reasonably priced, and there are always several entrees, sandwiches or salads that sound good. One of my favorite things is the Bartolino’s salad with house dressing and a tuna steak. In fact, it’s sounding pretty good right now. Is it lunchtime?

 

Where do you like to eat before or after a performance? 

 I don’t want to sound self-serving (pun intended), but the Culver Pavilion at the Muny is the ideal place for dinner before the show. For $23, there is an extensive salad buffet plus a well-prepared and nicely varied selection of entrées, dessert and a soft drink. You can arrive early, grab a great parking space and then stroll over to the theater. Perfect!

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Paul K. Reuter

Executive director – Sheldon Arts

Foundation

 

What’s your favorite bakery?

I am German-American and so I grew up with more than my share of doughnuts and pastries, a tradition that I both celebrate and try to control. For me, Federhofer’s Bakery on Gravois in Affton is the best – try the strawberry stollen to go to German-American heaven!

 

What is your favorite neighborhood restaurant?

Our adopted daughter is Mexican-American, and we have cooked and enjoyed our share of Mexican dinners. We live fairly near Hacienda on Manchester, and it’s one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants. I love their mole and have sought out that magical sauce on many trips, especially to the Southwest.

 

Where do you head for a good, reasonably priced meal? 

You can enjoy both good, healthy food and long conversations at Aya Sofia on Chippewa. The Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine is delicious, and we always ask for one of the curtained booths.

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David Robertson

Music director and conductor – 

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

 

Where do you like to eat before or after a performance? 

Conducting an orchestra for 90 minutes to two hours or more means I don’t want to get hungry, but I also don’t want to feel post-meal lethargy that would under normal circumstances call for a delightful nap. Usually, I eat at home before a concert, but a Jimmy John’s No.9 (Italian Night Club) or No.11 (Country Club) fit the bill.

 

When friends visit from out of town, where do you take them for a meal?

They really are artists with cuisine at Blood and Sand. I rarely suggest to guests what to have there because it’s a place to be adventurous and be surprised. The focus is on sharing excellent food, wine, conversation and good feelings with friends.

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Kathleen Sitzer

Artistic director, New Jewish Theatre

 

Where do you like to eat before or after a performance? 

Cardwell’s on the Plaza is a regular go-to place — for lunch, before a movie or just for a lovely meal. They have a great bowl of onion soup. And I love the goat cheese torte.

 

What’s your favorite new place? 

We love ethnic restaurants, and Mango Peruvian Cuisine downtown is great. They have great pisco sours — the national Peruvian drink. Try the ceviche.

 

What’s your favorite romantic restaurant?

Anything Zoe Robinson touches is gold. I love the intersection of Wydown and Hanley in Clayton, where she has I Fratellini and Bar Les Freres. They are both fantastic, and either one makes a great romantic getaway for a meal. At I Fratellini, I love the zucchini carpaccio appetizer. 

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Steve Woolf 

Artistic director, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

 

Where do you like to eat before or after a performance? 

Brasserie by Niche on Laclede. The chicken that comes in the skillet with just some mushrooms and a fair amount of butter (or is it goose fat?) is just fantastic. 

 

What do you look forward to at your favorite breakfast or brunch spot? 

At the White Box in Clayton, the egg dishes and biscuits are swell. Also, Kingside in the Central West End has excellent pancakes.

 

When you need a cake for a special occasion, where do you order it?

Cravings in Webster Groves.