Salve Osteria Will Open Alongside the Gin Room on South Grand This May


click to enlarge Salve Osteria, a harvest-centric restaurant, is coming to South Grand this month. - DANE MCCRARAY ALL DAY PHOTOGRAPHY
Dane McCraray All Day Photography
Salve Osteria, a harvest-centric restaurant, is coming to South Grand this month.

The South Grand restaurant scene is about to get even more vibrant thanks to three well-regarded industry players. Salve Osteria (3200 South Grand Boulevard), a new restaurant from Natasha Bahrami, Michael Fricker and Matt Wynn, will bring an Italian, Spanish and Mediterranean-inspired menu to the restaurant space formerly occupied by Cafe Natasha's. The new restaurant will serve as a culinary complement to the Gin Room, which will continue operating in the space, creating an immersive food and beverage experience grounded in genuine hospitality.
Matt Wynn will lead the kitchen at Salve Osteria. - DANE MCCRARAY
Dane McCraray
Matt Wynn will lead the kitchen at Salve Osteria.

According to Bahrami and Fricker, Salve has been in the making for many years and is the culmination of their passion for a social way of eating and drinking that they have enjoyed on their extensive international travels. With their new concept, they hope to bring that experience to St. Louis diners by delivering a warm and inviting space that recreates the feel of being welcomed into someone's home.

"When we travel, it's all about the people and interactions we have," says Bahrami. "I just feel that the ultimate level of hospitality is when you are invited into someone's home or life and they are showing you their culture and their love through food. Usually, this comes with a story about how it means something to them. It's a wonderful thing, and what we are going to do is put our love into creating this platform, and Matt will put his love in creating this food."

Bahrami is no stranger to the sort of soulful food and hospitality that will characterize Salve. For her entire life, she has been helping to deliver just that with Cafe Natasha's, a beloved staple of the St. Louis food scene that closed this past April following the retirement of its matriarch (and her mother), Hamishe Bahrami. Bahrami took this restaurant foundation as a jumping off point for her own industry journey, becoming an internationally renowned spirits professional in the category of gin and running the Gin Room, which will continue operate in its existing location in concert with the forthcoming Salve.
Bahrami, Fricker and Wynn see the Gin Room and Salve as being intimately connected and designed to complement one another and grow together. Guests can expect an all-encompassing experience where food and drink go hand in hand from the moment you walk in the door. As Fricker explains, the plan is to create not simply a new restaurant and bar concept, but to bring a different sort of eating and drinking culture to St. Louis.

"We love Italian drinking culture where you start with an aperitivo and finish with a digestivo," Fricker says. "The experience will be inclusive of pre and post-dinner drinks; we will have an amaro cart that we bring around in order to demystify it and make it more approachable. Everything we want to do is guest experience-driven."
A cabbage salad, tossed with miso bagna cauda, will be on the menu at Salve Osteria. - DANE MCCRARAY ALL DAY PHOTOGRAPHY
Dane McCraray All Day Photography
A cabbage salad, tossed with miso bagna cauda, will be on the menu at Salve Osteria.

Bahrami and Fricker found the perfect partner with which to execute this vision in Wynn. A respected chef who has worked for such acclaimed restaurants as Niche, Sardella, Taste and Peno, Wynn has been looking forward to the opportunity to step out on his own in a way to reclaim all that he loves about food.

"I think if there is one important [question] a chef should ask themselves when they are creating a menu is whether or not myself and my staff would eat here on our day off," Wynn says. "If the answer is no, then there is probably no soul to it and you are in the wrong business. That's a question I always ask myself. These are dishes that I get excited about cooking for other people that I also love to eat myself rather than people-pleasing or creating some razzle dazzle that someone can take pictures of. If you do that, your soul goes away over a period of time. People are going to detect that, and the transparency of what you are doing will be revealed."

The three partners describe Salve's menu as "harvest-centric," with much focus on height-of-the-season produce. The menu will be comprised mostly of small plates that will allow for a shareable and multi-coursed European-style dining experience. The dishes are also designed to complement the Gin Room's cocktails and include such items as bacon fat carrots with blue cheese and pickled shallots, as well as a Caesar-inspired warm cabbage salad with miso bagna cauda. Bahrami will continue to oversee operations of both Salve and the Gin Room, while Fricker will curate the beverage program.
Fresh pasta will be one of the staples of Salve's menu. - DANE MCCRARAY ALL DAY PHOTOGRAPHY
Dane McCraray All Day Photography
Fresh pasta will be one of the staples of Salve's menu.


Bahrami, Fricker and Wynn are thrilled to be working together on Salve and note that the partnership has come together so organically because they share the same passion for food, drink and hospitality that they hope to translate to the guest experience. As Bahrami notes, the move is a big change for the restaurant space, but one that she believes in her soul will bring about a wonderful new chapter in the city's dining scene.

"Starting a restaurant from scratch is a little scary, but we have the know-how built over all these years," Bahrami says. "I am proud of what we have done with the Gin Room, but we have so much room to grow. With this new cuisine, it just perfectly pairs to allow both the kitchen and the bar program to explode and give each one every opportunity to express itself. They are going to grow with each other, and we are in it to grow together."



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