Best Local Chef - 2006
As we testify to the beyond-impressive run of seductive and successful restaurants Mike Johnson has had a hand in, we must also bid him a farewell of sorts. This spring he debuted his double-whammy concept of side-by-side restaurants in downtown Clayton, contemporary-global spot Mira and frisky French caf? Roxane (for the latter, see "Best Place for Late-Night Dining"). The do-pay-a-visit duo added two more notches to Johnson's apron strings, already riddled with winning and witty endeavors including classic tapas joint BARcelona, Greek-tapas hotspot Momos, Cajun-Creole-Cuban bo?te Boogaloo (see "Best Place to Swing") and dessert caf? Cyrano's. With so many pots simmering, Johnson still finds time to man the literal stoves at his many establishments at least a few nights a week. He's also been in on writing up the menus, designing the d?cors, and managing both front and back of each house. Johnson's next project is to expand the BARcelona brand to Indianapolis, and we wish him the best. But we wish all the better for his next St. Louis undertakingand we have a hunch we're gonna like it.