Pot sticker restaurateur, NJT’s new season, cats on film

Jewish entrepreneur David Dresner is opening a global pot sticker restaurant called Crispy Edge next month in the Tower Grove neighborhood. The idea for the restaurant was inspired by his grandfather, who cultivated Dresner’s love of pot stickers.

Ellen Futterman, Editor

Edgy eatery

Crispy Edge, a new pot sticker restaurant owned and operated by local Jewish entrepreneur and Washington University graduate, David Dresner, will open in early April in the Tower Grove neighborhood.

Dresner, 30, who attends Central Reform Congregation (Rabbi Randy Fleisher was his counselor at Camp Thunderbird), said his love of pot stickers was cultivated by his grandfather, who made them regularly.

“For me, it’s almost cliché the affinity that Jews have for Chinese food,” said Dresner, who grew up in Glencoe, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. “The real story though has to do with my grandfather. As a little kid I was real close to him. When he had cancer (he died in 1999), he lost a lot of his taste buds, so he would make his favorite foods. He loved pot stickers. I was his sidekick. At an early age I was introduced to these Chinese dumplings by him making them.”

Dresner says his restaurant’s approach to pot stickers is global and uses ingredients that are locally sourced “with a wholesome conscious and responsible purveyors.” Expect to try pot stickers that are wholly unique, like a creamy cheese blintz version for breakfast, or a spicy Mediterranean lamb pot sticker in parsley dough, served with cucumber tzatziki sauce, at lunch or dinner.

The pot sticker restaurant will officially open at 4 p.m. Friday, April 6 with a grand opening party at Crispy Edge’s restaurant space, 4168 Juniata St. The space also houses a manufacturing facility to create and distribute pot stickers on the wholesale side. (Keep posted for a full profile about Dresner in the Light in the coming weeks.)

In addition to the new restaurant, Dresner owns and operates Sleeve a Message — which makes customized paper sleeves for coffee cups (sleeveamessage.com) — and its sister company, Coast a Message, which personalizes coasters (coastamessage.com). Both businesses are located in Brentwood.

For more information, go to crispyedge.com.

Next up for NJT

The New Jewish Theatre is making some big changes as it heads into its third decade, including the departure of current artistic director Kathleen Sitzer, who is retiring in June, as well as the addition of a “tikkun olam” play, which deals with the very Jewish issue of repairing the world. 

In addition, four of the five shows for the new 2018-19 season are regional premieres, and have been performed only a handful of times. Three of the five are comedies.

Shows for the new season will run for three weeks, with two of the weeks having Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday performances and the third week offering the option of a Friday performance rather than a Wednesday.

The season opens this fall (Oct. 3-22) with an adaptation of the book by celebrity Chef Rossi, “The Raging Skillet.” Rossi was a guest of the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival in 2015 and was a huge hit as she recalled growing up Orthodox with a mother who cooked everything in the microwave. In trying to separate herself from that history, Rossi ended up making a niche for herself in the New York catering world. The play will feature Sitzer portraying Rossi’s dead Jewish mother, as the NJT’s artistic director emeritus (Sitzer’s new title) gets back to her acting roots.

The next production (Nov. 28-Dec. 16) is David Javerbaum’s comedy “An Act of God.” In the play and after many millennia, and in just 90 minutes, God (assisted by His devoted angels) answers some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since Creation, including delivering a new and improved set of Commandments. 

Aaron Posner, who adapted Chekhov for the current season finale, is back (Jan. 23-Feb. 10) with a variation on Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.” His “District Merchants” is set among the African American and Jewish populations of an imagined time and place — post-Civil War Washington, D.C. — as it weaves a tale of money, merchandise, and mercy while exploring race, religion and power in an America that feels all too contemporary.

The tikkun olam production (March 27 – April 14) is Donald Margulies’ “Time Stands Still.” It revolves around Sarah, a photojournalist who just returned from covering the Iraq war after being injured by a roadside bomb, and her reporter boyfriend James who is swamped by guilt after having left Sarah alone in Iraq. Theirs is a partnership based on telling the toughest stories, and together, making a difference. But when their own story takes a sudden turn, the couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life. Can they stay together amidst unspoken betrayals and conflicting ideals? 

The season closer (May 15 – June 2) is a new comedy from last year’s Humana Festival of New Plays by Tasha Gordon-Solmon, “I Now Pronounce.” And yes, it is exactly what you think, a wedding — a Jewish one at that. After Adam and Nicole’s wedding culminates in an awkwardly timed fatality, the reception spins into mayhem and an increasingly strange evening. But there’s no stopping the festivities: the flower girls are running amok, the bridal party members are preoccupied with their own flailing relationships, and everyone needs to stop ordering the blue drinks. Comedies end in marriage. Tragedies end in death. This play begins with both.

Flex Pass memberships, a five-ticket package that can be used any way the ticket holder likes, and season tickets are available beginning May 1 for the five productions of the 2018-19 Season. Single tickets will be available beginning Aug. 15 for all shows through the box office, 314-442-3283, or online at newjewishtheatre.org.


Feline film stars 

I admit I’m not a cat lover but I appreciate that many Light readers are. So in the spirit of kindness and giving, this one’s for you.

Cinema St. Louis and Animal House Cat Rescue & Adoption Center have teamed up for the first edition of “Cat Clips: A Competition in Cuteness,” a new short-film contest and fundraising event. The deadline for submissions is March 16.

Selected clips will be screened on April 4 at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company in the Grove, 4465 Manchester Ave. ​A separate judging panel ​​will award a cash prize of $250 to the top clip of the evening​ ​and various prizes to second​-​ and third​-​place clips.

All proceeds will help support the “Help Us Heal” medical fund at Animal House. All films must be submitted using FilmFreeway with a secure online screener link. An entry fee of $10 is required. To enter and for more information, go to cinemastlouis.org/cat-clips.