Best Restaurant to Die in the Past Year - 2012
Monarch - CLOSED
Monarch isn't dead. Not really. And not simply because owners Aaron Teitelbaum and Jeff Orbin have retained its Maplewood address as a special-events venue. No, as long as so many of the talents who once called Monarch home continue to be major players on the St. Louis food scene, the spirit of Monarch will remain very much alive. The many fans of acclaimed executive chef Josh Galliano eagerly await his next move; in the meantime, he teases us with one-day-only, Southern-themed pop-up restaurants. Behind the bar Monarch hosted such master mixologists as Ted Kilgore, now of Taste; Nate Selsor, now of DeMun Oyster Bar; and TJ Vytlacil, now of Blood & Sand. Teitelbaum and Orbin have revitalized the original Balaban's location as Herbie's Vintage 72, once again the place for the Central West End's gilded set to see and be seen. And let's not forget that Monarch sommelier Chris Hoel left the restaurant for a position at perhaps the nation's greatest restaurant, the French Laundry. (He now works for a Napa Valley wine merchant.) That one restaurant could nurture so many talents over a decade — a lifetime in restaurant years? That's cause for celebration, not mourning.