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Side Dish 

Downtown goings-on in the food business

With the onset of March, there are some interesting doings going on downtown, just in time for next month's influx of Cardinal fanatics.

One of the big imminent restaurant openings is the St. Louis Fish Market, an ambitious endeavor near the northern part of Laclede's Landing (OK, not technically "downtown," but it should be). The general theme seems to be "If it swims, we serve it," with a sprawling menu featuring smoked seafood, fried seafood, steamed seafood, grilled seafood, stewed seafood, seafood salads and raw seafood (including sushi) -- and, of course, a smattering of chicken, steaks and chops for the carnivores.

The executive chef is John Greever, who traces his close-to-30-year career to roots on Laclede's Landing, and the general manager is Rob Armbruster, formerly of the Pittsburgh Fish Market, one of two sister restaurants to the St. Louis Fish Market (the other being in San Diego). The restaurant is located at 901 N. First St., and the phone number is 314-621-4612.

Farther west, a longtime waiter from Gian-Tony's on the Hill is venturing forth and opening his own restaurant, Procopio's, at 1115 Pine St., next to Mickey's. A little Italian, a little Continental, and only lunch to start with. Call 314-588-8555. Given the relative dearth of restaurants west of about Ninth Street, this is a very interesting addition.

And from the Loft District, the area's elder statesman, Blake Brokaw, sent us a note announcing that his funky, whimsical Tangerine (1405 Washington Ave., 314-621-7335) will host the Food Network April 3 for a taping as part of a "best of" show on American vegetarian restaurants. Never one to sit still for long, Brokaw says that he has yet again tweaked his menu, rendering it strictly vegetarian.

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