St. Louis Restaurant Openings and Closings: February 2022

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click to enlarge Spoonful, a Korean dessert cafe, opened this month in West County. - Vu Phong
Vu Phong
Spoonful, a Korean dessert cafe, opened this month in West County.

While we typically like to deliver the bad news after celebrating the good, there is no way around it this month: February delivered a couple of real heartbreakers. West End Grill & Pub, the longtime eclectic restaurant on the eastern edge of the Central West End, served its last guests on Super Bowl Sunday. A neighborhood mainstay owned by St. Louis theater personality William Roth, WEGAP, as it was called by its regulars, was not simply beloved for what it was but for the fact that it served as a connection to the long-shuttered institution Duff's (Roth was heavily involved in Duff's, and WEGAP's consulting chef, Jimmy Voss, was Duff's executive chef for years). Saying goodbye to WEGAP was hard enough; saying goodbye to Duff's a second time was rough.

Another iconic restaurant, University City's De Palm Tree, also closed its doors, a casualty of the TIF-funded progress known as The Markets at Olive development, which will be anchored by a Costco. Owner Easton Romer hopes to reopen somewhere, sometime, though he is taking his time to make sure it's right. Add to this the loss of Soulard Coffee Garden, the historic neighborhood's daytime mainstay, and the weight of the loss is real, if not tempered by the fact that Goshen Coffee will be setting up shop in Soulard Coffee Garden's space.

There were some notably glimmers this month, however. Pho Long, another Jeffrey Plaza refugee, reopened just down the road, giving us hope that the same will happen for the other businesses displaced by the development. Mad Mexica, a deeply personal exploration of owner Ron Buechele's paternal heritage, opened inside the Mad Art Gallery and promises to offer an exciting menu of Mexican dishes. Clara B's Kitchen Table, the beloved food truck, put down roots in Belleville as a brick and mortar (the truck continues to operate as well), and Spoonful Desserts, a Korean dessert cafe and coffee shop, brings the delightfully fluffy, snow-like treat bingsu to St. Louis.

Did we miss anything? Leave a note in the comments.

Openings
801 Local, Frontenac
Clara B's Kitchen Table, Belleville, IL
Mad Mexica, Soulard
Pho Long (moved), University City
Spoonful Desserts, West St. Louis County

Closings
Bellacino's Pizza & Grinders, Southampton
Center Ice Brewery, Downtown
De Palm Tree, University City
Dough Joe's Artisan Bagels, Doughnuts & Coffee, food truck
Soulard Coffee Garden, Soulard
West End Grill & Pub, Central West End


We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected]

About The Author

Cheryl Baehr

Cheryl Baehr is the dining editor and restaurant critic for the Riverfront Times and an international woman of mystery. Follow her on the socials at @cherylabaehr
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