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Gut Check: Monarch migration 

Another week, another round of changes at some of the city's top restaurants.

The big news is that Josh Galliano is leaving his position as chef de cuisine at An American Place to become the executive chef at Monarch. Galliano replaces Brian Hale, who is now leading the culinary team at the Chase Park Plaza.

Galliano is the second big-name acquisition for the Maplewood restaurant. Earlier this summer Monarch hired Matt McGuire, of King Louie's fame, to be its new general manager. McGuire is already in place; Galliano begins September 22. No word yet on who will replace Galliano as Larry Forgione's top lieutenant at An American Place.

Speaking of Monarch, co-owners Aaron Teitelbaum and Jeff Orbin, along with a third partner, Gabe Grossberg, plan to reinvent the shuttered Balaban's as Herbie's, a tribute to the original owner. Look for a fall opening.

Meanwhile, Justin Keimon is no longer the executive chef at Franco, Riverfront Times readers' and editors' choice for the best new restaurant of 2007. Owner Tom Schmidt tells me that the restaurant's two sous chefs have taken over the kitchen indefinitely.

The annual Taste of St. Louis event will take place Friday, September 26, through Sunday, September 28, at 12th and Market streets downtown. Participating restaurants include: Asia, B&T Pizza, Baileys' Chocolate Bar, Baladas Bistro, Bamboo Bistro, Beso Mexican Grill & Cantina, Brandt's, Burger Bar, Capri, Clark Street Grill, the Drunken Fish, Everest Café, F15teen, Growlers Pub, Harvest, House of Savoy, Joanie's Pizzeria, Joseph's, La Gra, LoRusso's Cucina, the Melting Pot, Mike Shannon's, Monarch, Noodles & Company, Onesto, the Pasta House Co., Portabella, Rooster, Roxane, Royal Chinese BBQ, Stoney River Legendary Steaks, Tigín Irish Pub and Vito's.

Taste of St. Louis also features live music — including, in an apparent pitch to the middle schooler in my heart, Soul Asylum — visual and performing arts and even zoo animals from Grant's Farm. The main event is the St. Louis Bread Co. Top Chef competition, pitting chefs from six St. Louis-area restaurants against one another in an Iron Chef-type battle. At press time, those six chefs had yet to be determined.

Are you opening a new restaurant? Know of a place that has closed? Something else for Ian to chew on? E-mail ian.froeb@riverfronttimes.com. And check out this column's virtual doppelganger at http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/gutcheck.

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