Michael and Tara Gallina Pave the Way for New Restaurant Vicia
It didn’t take long for chefs Michael and Tara Gallina to make a mark on our city’s ever-growing food scene after their arrival late last year. The duo’s Rooster and the Hen gave us some memorable farm-fresh dishes in pop-up dinners around the city that ultimately led to their own restaurant, Vicia, coming soon to the Central West End.
In the 14 years since Michael has lived in his hometown of St. Louis, he’s noticed how much the dining scene has revolutionized.
“The level with which chefs are cooking here is inspiring and really encouraged us that the time was right to come back,” he says. “From the high-end restaurants to the bakeries and butcher shops, there is a really exciting energy and a lot of talented people working in St. Louis.”
With both Michael and Tara working for James Beard award-winning Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, the transition to the Midwest was huge. Ultimately, Michael notes they are striving to build their St. Louis restaurant as a place that truly reflects who they are and the culinary knowledge they have gained along the way.
Vicia is coming along well since the announcement was made in June to open in the 2,500-square-foot space in the Cortex Innovation Community in the Central West End. The restaurant’s design details are already worked out with their design and architect team, so all that’s left is piecing everything together.
If you’ve experienced any of Rooster and the Hen’s meals around town, it’s evident the Gallinas have a passion for quality ingredients and collaborating with local chefs like Kevin Nashan, Chris Bolyard and Gerard Craft. The plan for Vicia is to source locally as much as possible, but for those ingredients that may not be quite within city reach, there will be quality products from farms and companies nationwide that are growing and raising food the right way.
“The cuisine at Vicia will be driven by the best of what’s available at the moment and sourced from farmers, fisherman, and artisans that we have relationships with in the Midwest region and beyond,” he says.
Whether visiting weekly at the markets or driving out to visit their farms, the Gallinas value the relationships they have build so far that are “really passionate about growing food with care and respect for the land.”
As for the types of food to expect at Vicia, the plan is keep things exciting. The menu will stay the same conceptually, but it will change with the seasons. When asked about what ingredients to be excited for upon opening time, the duo mentioned they are particularly excited to get to celebrate the last glimpse of summer ingredients—tomatoes and corn—but also for the first flush of root vegetables and winter squash to start popping up.
“We plan to change the menu as much as possible and look forward to providing a new experience each time you come back to dine at Vicia.”
The restaurant is expected to open later this fall.
4260 Forest Park Ave., Central West End
Vicia’s tomato tartine photo by Katlyn Moncada