This Week's Dish: Edmonds' Evolution, Top Chef Burger Battle, Downtown Restaurant Week and more!

In Food

billygOpenings/Closings:

Sunday, July 28: Benton Park’s beloved Yemanja Brasil debuted its food truck, Brazil Express, at the Labor of Love music festival on Art Hill. Serving up their tasty empanadas, kabobs and many gluten-free and vegetarian options, Brazil Express will soon join the downtown food truck circuit. For now, you can check them out at Corporate Hill (I-270 and Manchester) on every Tuesday.

Tuesday, Aug. 6: Billy G’s Kirkwood quietly opened its doors last week and immediately began getting buzz on Facebook. Although their website is still in pre-opening mode, you can get the taste of their menu from the many social media posts about the restaurant’s delish dishes. Of note: the crab cakes, redfish, a seared tuna appetizer and the pizza. Billy G’s served dinner all last week and will add lunch service on Monday, Aug. 19. 131 W. Argonne, Kirkwood, 314.984.800

Sunday, Aug. 11: Local Harvest in Kirkwood officially closed on Sunday, just 10 months after its opening. An email from owners Maddie Earnest and Patrick Horine stated: “It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of our Kirkwood grocery and café location. We enjoyed our all too brief experience in Kirkwood, meeting new people, building new relationships, and planting the seed of local foods in a great community.” The Local Harvest grocery and restaurant locations in Tower Grove South and Downtown remain open.

Monday, Aug. 12: Mississippi Mud Coffee Roasters opens its coffeehouse today inside the new location of Art Saint Louis. The gallery-cafe hybrid is located in the Park Pacific Building and represents a new approach to enjoying art. Art Saint Louis re-imagined itself as an arts destination, adding contemporary and inviting furnishings from Niche Home Furnishings and a coffee bar and cafe run by Mississippi Mud Coffee Roasters. This unconventional gallery setting will allow patrons to sit and sip and socialize, surrounded by the art presented by the organization, enjoying art as part of their daily lives. 1223 Pine St., Downtown

Saturday, Aug. 31: Jim Edmonds’ 15 Steakhouse, at 1900 Locust St. in Downtown, will close its doors at the end of this month. The space will undergo renovation and re-emerge in October as The Precinct, a casual burger joint marketed to the police officials moving into the former Wells Fargo building nearby. And speaking of Jim Edmonds, he’s announced plans to open a new restaurant, Edmonds Parkside Grill, in the former Finale location in Clayton on the Park residential tower. Focusing on smoked meats, salads, sandwiches and ice-cold beer (with the help of a Chill-Rite 32 beer system), the restaurant will offer more affordable fare than 15 Steakhouse. Edmonds hopes to open Parkside by the end of the year.

Fall 2013: Vito’s, the popular Midtown Italian eatery, has announced plans to open a Chesterfield location this fall called Vito’s in the Valley. It will be located in the former Tratoria Branica spot at 138 Chesterfield Towne Centre. The menu will reflect the many dishes that have made Vito’s popular in the city and will include a few new items that will be exclusive to the new location.

Bites:

Sunday, Aug. 18: Join Sauce Magazine and ALIVE for the most intense grill-off St. Louis has ever known at Top Chef: The Ultimate Burger Challenge. The competition pits six local chefs against one another to amaze your taste buds. The $25 ticket price gets you six mini burgers prepared by the top chefs, two complimentary sponsored beverages (one beer and one cocktail) and live entertainment. The chefs: Zach Rice of 3 Monkeys; John Roman of Blueberry Hill; Mike Johnson of Sugarfire Smokehouse; Eric Brenner of Alumni St. Louis; Ian Craig of Sub Zero Vodka Bar; Matt Galati of The Dam. Top Chef: The Ultimate Burger Challenge tickets are available through EventBrite.

Sunday, Aug. 18: If you’re crazy for the Swayze, you’ve got to head to Highway 61 Roadhouse for a celebration of Patrick Swayze’s 61st birthday with the screening of “Road House” and free birthday cake for all who attend. Full kitchen and bar service will be available throughout the movie. There is no cover charge. 34 S. Old Orchard Ave., Webster Groves, 314. 968.0061

Monday, Aug. 19 through Sunday, Aug. 25: Downtown Restaurant Week is almost here, and this year’s line-up is the biggest yet. Nine new restaurants joined the roster for 2013, including Alumni Saint Louis, Angelo’s, Drunken Fish, Hiro Asian Kitchen, Prime 1000, Red Kitchen+Bar, Robust, Takaya New Asian and Three Sixty, bringing the total number of participating restaurants to 27. If it’s your first year at the event, here’s how it works: During the week of Aug. 19, make a reservation at any participating restaurant and mention you’re there for Downtown Restaurant Week. You’ll be offered a special menu of three courses for $25, plus an option to add a glass of wine, a beer or a special cocktail for $5 to $7 more. Participating restaurants and menus can be found at Downtown Restaurant Week’s website.

Thursday, Aug. 29: If you’ve always wanted to know more about sake, here’s your chance. Prasino’s Sushi & Sake event offers a six-course pairing menu featuring sake and sake cocktails. A sake expert is flying in from Japan just for this event and will deliver an educational segment on sushi and sake. The evening will feature Japanese-style utensils and table setup, and guests will be able to purchase the different sakes. You’ll also leave with ideas on how to host this style of dinner at home. 1520 S. Fifth St., St. Charles, 636.277.0202

Chris DiMercurio, executive chef at Vino Nadoz on The Boulevard and former staffer at Niche, has signed on with Element, the forthcoming Lafayette Square restaurant from Brian Hardesty. Considering every time Hardesty steps into a kitchen magic happens (Guerrilla Street Food, Terrene and even the short-lived Root, located inside Starr’s wine and spirits shop), there’s no question Element is destined to be a hit. And with DiMercurio pitching in, it’s a guarantee.

Congrats to Gerard Craft’s Niche and Ben Poremba’s Elaia and Olio for landing nominations for Bon Appetit’s Best Restaurants in America. You can check out the full list of columnist Andrew Knowlton’s 50 nominees. On Wednesday, Aug. 14, Bon Appetit will announce the second annual Hot 10 and Knowlton’s pick for America’s best new restaurant.

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