Ben Poremba

  • Blogs

    November 24, 2014

    The 9 Best Southern Restaurants in St. Louis

    Sometimes we all just need a little soul with our meal. Whether it's some Cajun-spiced seafood, perfectly crisped fried chicken, buttery biscuits or any number of barbecue recipes, Southern cuisine is unlike any other and sometimes all that will satisfy -- perhaps best paired with a single barrel bo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 17, 2014

    What is St. Louis' Most Underrated Fried Chicken?

    Fried chicken is definitely having a moment. Of course, it has been a staple of American cuisine (especially Southern cooking) for years, but it's enjoying a bit of celebrity. Hell, Ben Poremba just opened an entire restaurant devoted to the dish. John Perkins and Josh Galliano take it to the next l ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 3, 2014

    St. Louis Restaurant Openings & Closings: October 2014

    The weather wasn't the only good thing about October 2014. Several hotly anticipated restaurants opened their doors, like barbecue companion Sugarfire Pie and Ben Poremba's latest, Old Standard. By our count, we lost only three restaurants and they were all part of a chain. Let us know anything we m ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 31, 2014

    Old Standard Fried Chicken's New Comfort Food Restaurant in Botanical Heights

    Old Standard Fried Chicken (1621 Tower Grove Avenue; 314-899-9000) opened in Botanical Heights on October 20, joining a league of concepts headed by chef Ben Poremba that includes Olio, Elaia, Salume Beddu and La Patisserie Chouquette. The self-proclaimed "chicken shack" features comfort food starri ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 20, 2014

    Chef Chat: Hiro Asian Kitchen's Bernie Lee Is Proud of His Roots

    Hiro Asian Kitchen (1405 Washington Avenue; 314-241-4476) owner Bernie Lee had been dreaming of opening a restaurant on Washington Avenue for years. The cosmopolitan feel of the street, the bustling energy and the neighborhood vibe all made the spot on the corner of Fourteenth Street and Washington ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 17, 2014

    Now Open: Truffles Butchery, Peacock Loop Diner, Pizzeoli and More

    There have been a slew of restaurant openings this week and even more to come before October is over. In case you missed it, here are a few new places you might want to check out this weekend. See also: The Corner Cup Plans New Menu and Expansion in Dogtown

  • Blogs

    September 25, 2014

    The 10 Best Mediterranean Restaurants in St. Louis

    The next time you get a taste for flavors reminiscent of the turquoise waters and sun-bathed beaches of the Mediterranean, you don't have to travel very far. St. Louis has a wealth of restaurants that feature the cuisines of Greece, Morocco, Italy, Turkey, France and Spain, offering seafood, lamb, b ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 12, 2014

    A Look Inside United Provisions' New Restaurant, the Dining District

    In early August Gut Check got a sneak peek at United Provisions (6241 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-833-5699), the international-grocery store from the family behind Jay's International Food Company and Global Food Market. A month later the hybrid grocer and prepared-foods vendor has its s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 11, 2014

    White Box Eatery's New Breakfast, Lunch and Brunch Restaurant in Clayton

    Brunch lovers have a new go-to spot in Clayton with the opening of Whitebox Eatery (176 Carondelet Plaza; 314-862-2802). As reported by Gut Check in July, the concept comes from Modesto Tapas' co-owner Brendan Marsden along with chef John Hoffman (formerly of Oceano), and Jamie Hardesty of Vincent V ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 18, 2014

    Chef Chat: Lassaad Jeliti Is Spare No Rib's Resident Mathematician

    Barbecue and tacos together under one roof may not seem to add up, but mathematician turned restaurateur Lassaad Jeliti found the common denominator. "It's all street food," he said back in March of his inspiration for Spare No Rib (2200 Gravois Avenue; 314-202-8244). Obviously, he was on to somethi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 8, 2014

    Sneak Peek Inside United Provisions, Delmar Loop's New Grocery and Dining Complex

    Gut Check took a moment to walk through United Provisions (6241 Delmar Boulevard, University City), the new market and dining complex on the ground floor of Washington University's swank new dorms in the Delmar Loop this morning. It was nothing if not impressive in both its scale and the breadth of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 31, 2014

    Zagat Gives St. Louis Some Love with Must-Visit List

    International food guidebook Zagat has really been giving St. Louis some love lately. A few weeks ago it named the new restaurant Spare No Rib as one of the fifteen hottest barbecue joints in the country. Now Zagat has released a guide to the hottest restaurants and bars in our fair city. It's prett ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 10, 2014

    10 Places to Take (and Impress) Your Visiting Foodie

    Many have said that St. Louisans have an inferiority complex about our fair city, but there's nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to the culinary clout in our kitchens. St. Louis is increasingly being recognized nationally for its chefs and burgeoning restaurant scene. What better way to help ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 18, 2014

    Gerard Craft, Kevin Nashan James Beard Award Foundation Finalists

    The finalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards were announced this morning in Chicago. St. Louis had a number of chefs (and a restaurant) in the semifinals, and so far we're not completely empty-handed. Gerard Craft of Niche and Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe are finalists for Best Chef: Mi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 19, 2014

    Lewis, Nashan, Galliano Among 2014 James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalists

    The semifinalists for the annual James Beard Foundation Awards were announced Wednesday morning and we're happy to report that several St. Louis chefs made the cut. Of course, 2013 finalist Gerard Craft of Niche was on the list for Best Chef: Midwest, as well as 2013 semifinalist Kevin Nashan of Sid ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 2, 2014

    5 Restaurants We're Looking Forward to in 2014

    2013 is going to be hard to top. Some of the best restaurants in years debuted -- the St. Louis dining scene is going strong. There are a slew of new projects we're looking forward to in 2014, both from all-stars like Ben Poremba and newcomers like the father-and-son-team behind a Festus brewery. Le ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 8, 2013

    The Ten Best Food Events in St. Louis This Weekend: November 8 to 10

    There's something for every food lover this weekend, whether its beer, cupcakes, po' boys, or Indian food. Celebrate Diwali at the St. Louis County Library or celebrate New Orleans at the Best of BOB Festival at Broadway Oyster Bar. Check out the rest of our food-related recommendations after the ju ... More >>

  • Dining

    November 7, 2013
  • Blogs

    October 31, 2013

    Ben Poremba Adds Fried Chicken to His Flock

    There must be something going around -- restauranteur Ben Poremba is the latest to announce an expansion to his food empire. Following Olio, Elaia, and Salume Beddu and La Patisserie Choquette for his company Bengelina Hospitality Group will be a restaurant focusing on fried chicken, which Poremba, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 9, 2013

    Elaia and Olio, Niche Make Bon Appetit's List of the 50 Best New Restaurants

    Bon Appetit magazine has released its 50 nominees for the best new restaurant in the country, and two of our own made the cut. Elaia and Olio (1634 Tower Grove Avenue; 314-932-1088) and Niche (7734 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-773-7755). Both have been praised here in town, but it's nice to see S ... More >>

  • Dining

    June 6, 2013
  • Blogs

    April 2, 2013

    New Favorites, Old Friends: An Updated Guide to Restaurants in Lindenwood Park

    St. Louis' neighborhoods are gems in their own right: full of history, great people and, as far as Gut Check is concerned, fantastic food. Each week we'll take you into a specific neighborhood and point you in the direction of the best places to grab some bites.

  • Blogs

    March 21, 2013

    Eric Heath Destroys a Giant Vase and Bans Death Metal in His Kitchen: A Q&A with the Cleveland-Heath Chef

    This is part two of Gut Check's Chef's Choice profile of Eric Heath of Cleveland-Heath. Read part one, a profile of Heath, here. Part three, a recipe from Heath, will be available on Friday. For years Eric Heath and Jenny Cleveland planned to open a restaurant together. But when they found the pe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 18, 2013

    Olio's Octopus Salad: One of 100 St. Louis Dishes You Must Eat Right Now

    The Gut Check One Hundred is our accounting of the 100 dishes in St. Louis that you must eat right now. These are the best dishes at the newest restaurants and the newest dishes at the best restaurants. These are the 100 dishes that define St. Louis dining in 2013. Our list culminates this fall when ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 26, 2013

    Openings: La Patisserie Chouquette, Tucanos Brazilian Grill, the Market at the Cheshire

    After reporting multiple restaurant closings to begin this week, Gut Check is happy to provide news of openings immediate and imminent: - La Pâtisserie Chouquette (1626 Tower Grove Avenue; 314-932-7935) opened this morning in the city's Botanical Heights neighborhood. Owner Simone Faure was previo ... More >>

  • Dining

    February 7, 2013
  • Blogs

    February 6, 2013

    Elaia and Olio: Review Slideshow

    Ben Poremba's twinned restaurant concept of Elaia and Olio (1634 Tower Grove Avenue; 314-932-1088) is as bold an addition to the dining scene as St. Louis has seen in years. It is also one of the best. My review of Elaia and Olio is now available online.

  • Blogs

    February 5, 2013

    Review Preview: Elaia and Olio

    Before our tasting menu at Elaia (1634 Tower Grove Avenue; 314-932-1088) officially begins, before the first of twelve courses (or was it fourteen? my post-meal notes, chicken-scratch under ideal circumstances, suggest that at some point I entered a state of delirium, or left the space-time continuu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 17, 2013

    Schnucks Now Carries Salume Beddu's Locally Made Artisan Salumi

    Devotees of Salume Beddu's (3467 Hampton Avenue; 314-353-3100) cured meats have known for years the glories that reside within the humble walls of its south St. Louis location. Now the masses can join the salami soirée. The locally made artisan salumi is now available at a number of Schnucks store ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 30, 2012

    November 2012 Openings & Closings

    Another busy month for openings included Bar Les Freres, a cozy new French spot from Zoë Robinson Pidgeon; Elaia and Olio, the restaurant and wine bar from Ben Poremba; and a new home for Niche, Gerard Craft's flagship venture. Closings were few, though my colleague Liz Miller's farewell to Spanky ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 12, 2012

    First Look: Elaia and Olio

    The unassuming old (circa 1937) Standard Oil gas station at the corner of McRee and Tower Grove Avenues in the city's Botanical Heights neighborhood has received a new lease on life, thanks to chef Ben Poremba, one of the masterminds behind the acclaimed salumeria Salume Beddu. Poremba has renovate ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 7, 2012

    Eater "Heat Maps" St. Louis

    The national food-restaurant blogging empire Eater has yet to open up a St. Louis branch and give us local food-media types a serious case of agita. But the folks at Eater definitely have us on their radar, and they recently asked me to help assemble a "Heat Map" of St. Louis hottest new(ish) restau ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 2, 2012

    Olio Opens (Softly) Tonight in Botanical Heights

    Olio, the new wine bar from Ben Poremba of Salume Beddu, opens this evening at 1634 Tower Grove Avenue in the city's Botanical Heights (née McRee Town) neighborhood.

  • Blogs

    July 11, 2012

    Tidbits from Balaban's, Livery Company, Chouquette

    - Wine Spectator magazine's annual awards for restaurant wine lists should be out very soon -- the issue is dated August 31 -- but one area restaurant is already trumpeting its improved status. Balaban's Wine Cellar & Tapas Bar (1772 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield; 636-449-6700) announced this morning ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 27, 2011

    Top Ten Dishes 2011 #1: Pork Ribs at Salume Beddu

    I'm counting down my ten favorite dishes from the restaurants that I reviewed in 2011. Look for a slideshow featuring most of the winners on Wednesday, December 28.Jennifer SilverbergFrom left to right are Cary Exler and Salume Beddu co-owners Ben Poremba and Mark Sanfilippo.​An occasional special ... More >>

  • Dining

    May 26, 2011
  • Blogs

    May 26, 2011

    Forbes Calls Salume Beddu the Best in the Country

    Jennifer SilverbergA tasty spread at Salume Beddu​Yesterday lifestyle columnist Larry Olmsted of Forbes declared Salume Beddu the best salami in the country. "It's pretty crazy. We are both incredibly humbled by the article," Salume Beddu co-owner Mark Sanfilippo told Gut Check. "We just tr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 21, 2010

    Salume Beddu Salumeria Is Rolling in Dough!

    When Mark Sanfilippo and partner Ben Poremba opened their retail shop, Salume Beddu Salumeria, a few weeks back, local lovers of artisan-cured meats rejoiced. Sanfilippo, a St. Louis native who returned after ten years out west schooling himself, literally, in how the sausage is made, had earned pla ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 19, 2010

    Salume Beddu Salumificio and Salumeria to Open This Week

    Robin Wheeler​Although he's not sure which day, Mark Sanfilippo -- profiled in last week's Chef's Choice column on Gut Check -- confirms that Salume Beddu Salumificio and Salumeria, the storefront location of the two-year-old artisan meat company, will be open for business next week. The shop ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 14, 2010

    Chef's Choice: Mark Sanfilippo of Salume Beddu

    This is part one of Robin Wheeler's Chef's Choice interview with Mark Sanfilippo of Salume Beddu. Part two will be published tomorrow, and part three on Friday. Robin WheelerA man, a plan, a ham: Mark Sanfilippo of Salume Beddu​"I really appreciate obsessiveness in other people because I have ... More >>