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Pi Cubed: Obama's favorite pizza joint pushes back opening of second location 

In last week's column I noted that the deep-dish pizza restaurant Pi (6144 Delmar Boulevard) was slated to open its second location at 10935 Manchester Road in Kirkwood on Wednesday, September 9. After the issue went to press, I heard from owner Chris Sommers that the opening had been pushed back a few weeks to October. No big deal — just the usual complications of opening a new restaurant.

Meanwhile, one of the worst-kept recent secrets in the restaurant biz was that Pi was planning a third location at 4753 McPherson Avenue in the Central West End. Why was this a secret? Well, there was the little matter of that address being occupied by Sapphire Pan-Asian. That restaurant closed Saturday, September 12. Look for the third Pi early next year.

Gut Check has introduced several new features over the past few weeks. Here's a small taste:

In the Novice Foodie, Kelli Best-Oliver chronicles her attempts to become a full-fledged gourmand. In this edition, inspired by the film Julie & Julia, she's making beef bourguignon: "I browned the beef chunks in the bacon fat in small batches. This took FOREVER. This was also when I realized that it didn't feel like fall was on the way. Somehow it was muggy and hot on this, the day I needed to slave over a hot stove, and I was sweating like a whore in church. I could feel the potential zits rubbing their pimple-hands under my skin, just waiting to emerge triumphantly. Lovely."

Alissa Nelson writes Farmers' Market Share, offering tips and recipes for your weekly farmers'-market haul: "Okra is one of the most beautiful plants in a summer garden. Its flowers make it look like an exotic plant imported from a gorgeous tropical isle...Red okra is so pretty that I've even seen it used for landscaping.

"Unfortunately, okra is also a much-maligned Southern food item, to the point where most people can't conceive of it as anything other than fried. Its problem is obvious: the slime. It's like Ghostbusters all up on your cutting board. And while the twelve-year-old science-fair participant in me wants to think up alternative uses for it as an industrial lubricant, it doesn't make for the tastiest eating. The flavor is bland, to be kind. It's so bland that I totally abandoned trying to write up the quick gumbo I made this week because I couldn't figure out how to save it from its flavor vacuum."

Are you opening a new restaurant? Know of a place that has closed? Something else for Ian to chew on? E-mail And check out this column's virtual doppelganger here.

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