From Farm to Glass
St. Louis locavore movement goes beyond the kitchen and into the bar.
The farm-to-table concept continues to inspire restaurants to take advantage of what’s in their own backyard—and not just on the food menu. Prasino, which opened in St. Charles in late spring, is the latest eatery to emerge with a mission of pleasing the locavore in the kitchen and behind the bar.
Prasino means “green” in Greek, which explains this Illinois-based chain’s commitment to all things local, organic and sustainable—from its food purveyors to the vendors that supply the furniture. This dedication also extends to Prasino’s bar program, which features a variety of local ingredients and spirits.
“We [source things] that are as close as possible to us, which means fresher ingredients in our drinks,” says Beverage Director Todd Ekis. “We want to help out those farmers who are our neighbors. These smaller farms tend to care a lot more about their product than places that are mass producing their stuff.”
In addition to herbs and produce from area farms like Isadore Farm and Miller Farms, Prasino is sourcing its honey from hives at nearby Knudson Farms, and Ekis says he’ll soon be growing some herbs at the restaurant as well. The drinks on Prasino’s cocktail list are made with a variety of spirits from area producers like Spirits of St. Louis from Lafayette Square’s Square One Brewery & Distillery. The distillery’s Island Time Rum is featured prominently in Bootleggin’ Kill Devil, a tiki-inspired drink with velvet falernum, ginger beer and lime bitters. Offerings from regional favorites like Chicago’s North Shore Distillery, as well as organic spirits from the likes of Greenbar Collective out of California and Journeyman Distillery from Oregon appear in various concoctions. Prasino also shows local breweries a lot of love—the beer list is heavy with brews from Schlafly, 4 Hands, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Urban Chestnut, Six Row, O’Fallon Brewery, Cathedral Square, Charleville and Ferguson Brewing Company.
Ekis changes his menu seasonally and typically keeps eight to 10 drinks on the list, as well as regular rotating specials to take advantage of ingredients that might only be available for a short time. Since Prasino is also open for breakfast, there are six Bloody Mary variations, along with other AM standards like Bellinis and mimosas, what Ekis calls “day drinks.” These libations are a bit lighter for morning imbibing, like the airy Breakfast on The North Shore, featuring North Shore Sirene absinthe, house-made orgeat, cream, meringue and caramelized orange blossom water.
Prasino’s Summer Thyme
Photo credit: Christopher Gibbons