K by Me

Kitchen K combines an ambitious menu with a stunning space -- and pulls it all off beautifully

While the food is self-assured and sometimes delightful, the ambiance may be even more of a draw. A place so damn huge -- 5,000 square feet, 22-foot-high ceilings -- can feel like a cafeteria, but Kitchen K is inviting, friendly, and somehow even intimate and cozy. There's a calm, organic feel to the space; most of the original structural elements -- exposed brick walls, exposed ductwork -- have been left intact. But as Kitchen K is the first restaurant to occupy this space, the layout's pièce de résistance is the custom-designed open kitchen, a gleaming, chrome-plated mini-metropolis of foodmaking that can be viewed from every seat on the floor -- including a long, diner-inspired lunch counter that literally puts the front of the house face-to-face with the back of the house.

Letter-perfect: At Kitchen K, restaurateur Pablo Weiss pairs a grand menu with an even grander space
Jennifer Silverberg
Letter-perfect: At Kitchen K, restaurateur Pablo Weiss pairs a grand menu with an even grander space

Location Info


Kitchen K

1000 Washington Ave.
St Louis, MO 63101-1263

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Downtown

Rocket Bar

2001 Locust St.
St Louis, MO 63103-1613

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - South Grand


Sweet potato fries $5.75
Eggplant and goat cheese melt $7.95
Coriander-encrusted mahi mahi $18.95
Blueberry crumb $4.50

314-241-9900. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri., noon-11 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun.

1000 Washington Avenue

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Papendick and Weiss give off the impression that their business plans are often make-it-up-as-you-go-along. The Side Door and Pablo's were both somewhat impromptu spin-offs of Hot Locust, which itself went through a short series of menu-concept changes back in the day. Kitchen K wasn't even originally their idea; the company that owns Merchandise Mart approached them about opening a restaurant on the ground floor. But sometimes true inspiration and artistry comes from unlikely sources -- like a chef who sculpts and who used to drive a New York City cab, a 115-year-old dry-goods warehouse made of stone or a song from a movie hardly anybody saw.

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