STL Now: Spring Re-Awakening

Changes abound at three local restaurants.

 

In many of the best St. Louis restaurants, menus are evolving, focuses are shifting and spaces are getting spruced up as chefs and owners spread their creative wings to bring diners the best experience possible. If you haven’t been to your favorite local eatery in a while, you might be in for a brand new experience.

Truffles has been a Ladue mainstay for years, but the concept was in need of a jumpstart. Enter chef John Griffiths, who came on board last fall and officially launched the new and improved menu last month. He’s shifted the focus to modern Italian, and has taken advantage of the best seasonal, local ingredients. He’s also offered up house-made delights like salumi and cheeses, and the desserts are being conjured up in-house as well (9202 Clayton Rd., Ladue, 314.567.9100).

Boogaloo in Maplewood has started smoking its meat in house. General manager Justin Reed said the restaurant recently bought a smoker, and is using it to crank out offerings like pulled pork, chicken, baby back ribs and salmon, among others. These items have found their way to a new “From The Smoker” section on the menu. While Reed says Boogaloo isn’t about to become a barbecue joint—it’ll remain proudly Cubano, Creole and Caribe—the freedom of being able to go out back and smoke their own meat has added a new dimension to what can be done in the kitchen. In addition to the menu changes, the interior sports some fresh fi nishes, too (7344 Manchester Rd., Maplewood, 314.645.4803).

Another evolution is underway at Franco in Soulard. As a sous chef, Chris Williams helped open the restaurant, and after spending a few years traipsing around the globe, he’s back in the kitchen there. This time, he’s running the show. As executive chef, Williams hasn’t abandoned Franco’s rustic French roots, but instead is accenting them with his own unique touches, including some international flavors he picked up in his travels. The menu is constantly changing based on the season and what’s available (1535 S. 8th St., Soulard, 314.436.2500).

 

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Boogaloo

Boogaloo

 

Photo credit: Photos by Alex Galindo

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