Gut Check: Kaldi's cops coffee kudos

Catching up on news from the past few weeks: In its November issue (look for actress January "Betty Draper" Jones on the cover), GQ magazine names St. Louis' own Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Company one of the ten best places for coffee in the United States. Kaldi's illustrious company on the list, compiled by Oliver Strand, includes such nationally well-known coffee purveyors as Intelligentsia of Chicago and Los Angeles and Stumptown of Portland (Oregon), Seattle and New York City. The item about Kaldi's notes its reputation for roasting coffee and its Espresso 700 blend.

Balaban's Wine Cellar & Tapas Bar, slated to open this month at 1772 Clarkson Road in Chesterfield, has named Kevin Sthair chef. Sthair previously served as sous chef at the original Balaban's, thus giving the new restaurant another tie to the Central West End institution. The new Balaban's is owned by Steve McIntyre, who bought the original restaurant from Herbie Balaban and owned it for much of the next twenty years, and Brian Underwood. Sthair, a St. Louis native, graduated from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona. Locally, he has worked at Araka and Kreis'.

As McIntyre described it in this column two weeks ago, the new Balaban's will feature reimagined versions of classic Balaban's dishes, as well as significant carryout meal and retail wine components.

President Obama-approved pizza restaurant Pi has opened its second location at 10935 Manchester Road (formerly Two Nice Guys and Trattoria Two). The new Pi is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Call 314-966-8080 for more information. Now the countdown for the third Pi, opening around the end of this year at the former Sapphire Pan-Asian address at the intersection of Euclid and McPherson avenues in the Central West End, can begin in earnest.

Looks like Union Station has claimed another victim: Beechwood Bistro by Sage, the offshoot of Soulard's Sage, appears to be closed. The restaurant has been closed during its usual operating hours, and the phone number (314-621-1161) has been disconnected. Beechwood Bistro opened in early March of this year, featuring many of the same dishes as Sage, which debuted in the summer of 2007. Also shuttered downtown is Crepes in the City, which opened in October 2008 at 500 North 14th Street.

Are you opening a new restaurant? Know of a place that has closed? Something else for Ian to chew on? E-mail ian.froeb@riverfronttimes.com. And check out this column's virtual doppelganger here.

 
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