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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Scarlett's Wine Bar Is Now Open in the Central West End

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2016 at 6:42 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE

If you think Sasha's is sexy, you ought to see her little sister.

The newest spot to open in the Central West End, Scarlett's Wine Bar (4253 Laclede Avenue), is the younger sibling to the much-loved Sasha's Wine Bar, which has locations on both Shaw Boulevard and DeMun. Co-owners Alan Richman and Rachel Jones also claim as their progeny the DeMun Oyster Bar — and they've imbued all four establishments with good looks and a vibe that's equally good for lingering over a bottle of wine or grabbing a bite to eat.

But Scarlett's has something altogether new, and we're not just talking about that gorgeous street-facing patio. It boasts a fancy pizza oven, imported from Healdsburg, California, and capable of roaring past 800 degrees.

And so instead of flatbread pizzas like at Sasha's, the pies Chef Nick Puccio is firing up here are the real thing, with those perfectly charred crust seldom seem outside Naples (or, OK, California). "The kitchen is definitely more robust," he says. "That oven is a game-changer." The dough is being made in-house, too.

The menu includes a half-dozen options for sandwiches or salads, as well as charcuterie boards, cheese plates and noshes including olives and hummus. If you want to really indulge, there's a grilled tenderloin steak or New Zealand lamb chops, though neither will set you back more than $24.

But you don't have to feel like dinner to be happy here. Scarlett's is a pizza place, yes, but it's no pizzeria. Like its sisters, it's first and foremost a wine bar. Manager Tim McAndrew says the menu features twenty bottles of red and twenty of white, along with nearly a dozen rosés and some sparkling options, too. You can peruse lengthy descriptions in the iPad-style menus — or just take a cue from the decor and order a bottle of the Scarlet Hexflame. A rosé from the Columbia Valley featuring a redhead on the label, several cases' worth are given prominent placement behind the bar. 

Tributes to wine are everywhere at Scarlett's: Long shelves of bottles provide a smart background to the tables in the back half of the room, which faces the open kitchen. In the front, old wine crates form a wooden mural on the walls, while mismatched mid-century lighting gives a soft glow. Even the back wall pays homage to wine: It's lined in old corks.

Beer lovers aren't out of luck, though. You can get Civil Life's American Brown Ale on tap, or Perennial's Hopfentea, or even a "gin botanical" from Seattle. There are another sixteen options in bottles, as well as a brief cocktail list. The idea is to be a bit more appealing to non-oenophiles than Sasha's. "Not everyone comes with a friend who also wants a glass of wine," McAndrew observes.

Jones and Richman have brought over service professionals from their other spots to run Scarlett's — both McAndrew and co-manager Logan Cochran are Sasha's veterans. Puccio, too, previously was chef at DeMun Oyster Bar and manager at Sasha's on Shaw.

It's a good thing they know the drill. After opening officially last Thursday, the weekend was anything but soft.

"By the final week before opening, we had dozens of people stopping by asking when we'd be opening," McAndrew says. "The excitement is definitely there."

Scarlett's will be open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to midnight on Sunday. The kitchen will open every night but Sunday until 1 a.m. "We like to be the neighborhood option for late-night food," McAndrew says. 

click to enlarge The space, a former gym (in front) and automotive repair (in back) is utterly transformed by its owners' uniquely stylish sensibility. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • The space, a former gym (in front) and automotive repair (in back) is utterly transformed by its owners' uniquely stylish sensibility.

Turn the page for more photos of Scarlett's.

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