Grove to Grave

Gut Check

Ladue landmark Busch's Grove is closing. The restaurant's last day of business will be Saturday, May 24. Restaurant officials declined to comment further. What's next for the 111-year-old restaurant, which owner Lester Miller reopened three years ago after an eye-popping, multimillion-dollar renovation? Rumors that Vince Bommarito, owner of downtown institution, Tony's, may play a role appear to have some basis in fact. When I called Bommarito on Friday, he confirmed he is negotiating a deal of some sort involving the property. However, he told me that, at this time, there is nothing more to the story than that. Stay tuned.

Though Belleville lies outside my usual beat, a new restaurant there has St. Louis ties: Seven (7 South High Street) features a "Creole-bistro" menu from Blake Brokaw, a driving force in the resurgence of Washington Avenue (Tangerine and the Hungry Buddha, among others). The owners include Luke Reynolds (owner of Molly's in Soulard), Brian Besse and Stephen Kezirian (formerly of the Lafayette Pub) and Ted Quinn.

Closer to home, Steve Werner and Mike Johnson (Boogaloo and Roxane, among others) are turning the space formerly occupied by Sofia Bistro (7401 Pershing Avenue) into a "family-friendly restaurant and pizzeria focusing on Italian and Mediterranean cuisine," according to the sign posted on the restaurant's door. Look for a June opening.

Another accolade for a St. Louis chef — even if most of us, including yours truly, can't gain access to his restaurant: The Maitres Cuisiniers de France has named St. Louis Club executive chef Pierre Chambrin its "Chef of the Year" for 2008. Chambrin was scheduled to be presented with the award, dubbed the "Silver Toque," at a ceremony in Boston last Saturday. Chambrin is one of the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France's 304 master chefs. He has served as the executive chef at the White House, no less, as well as the Washington, D.C., restaurant Maison Blanche.

Are you opening a new restaurant? Know of a place that has closed? Something else for me to chew on? Drop me line at [email protected]. And be sure to check this column's virtual doppelganger for daily updates at

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