St. Louis is the New Startup Frontier

In 2013, when I was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, I flew to St. Louis to learn about the city’s budding startup scene. The city, like the rest of the U.S., was stuck in a decades-long entrepreneurial slump that had left its economy dependent on a handful of big, staid corporations — corporations that were pulling up stakes to head overseas at a rate that alarmed local leaders. (The city’s iconic brewer, Anheuser-Busch, had been sold to a Belgian conglomerate five years earlier.) But an informal coalition of local business leaders, wealthy investors and ambitious 20-somethings weretrying to spark an entrepreneurial revival in the Arch City. They had launched a fund to invest in local ventures, created entrepreneurship clubs at local universities, and converted part of a massive downtown office building into an unlikely startup hub.

I was impressed by the group’s enthusiasm but skeptical of its prospects. Countless cities had tried similar strategies — “incubators,” “accelerators,” venture funds, tax breaks — in an effort to capture some of Silicon Valley’s elusive magic. Few had succeeded.

But maybe my skepticism was misplaced. Data from the Census Bureau released last week showed that in 2014, 9.7 percent of the businesses in the St. Louis metro area were startups less than a year old, up three percentage points from 2009. Only Elizabethtown, Kentucky, saw a bigger increase during that period. In just five years, St. Louis rolled back 15 years of decline in its local startup rate.

The news is grimmer in the country as a whole. The national startup rate fell in 2014 for the second straight year, to 8 percent. The rate at which Americans start businesses has been falling for more than three decades, and while the decline has slowed in recent years, it has shown no sign of reversing. The trend worries economists because new businesses play a vital role in creating jobs, improving productivity and spurring economic growth; some researchers believe the decline in entrepreneurship, and in other measures of economic dynamism such as labor mobility, could be part of the reason the U.S. has experienced such a slow bounceback from the past two recessions.


Over the long term, the decline in entrepreneurship has been strikingly universal, cutting across industries and regions. But as the St. Louis example shows, some areas are seeing signs of progress. From 2009 to 2014, the startup rate rose in about a third of U.S. metro areas and 12 of the 50 states, with Missouri leading the way. Three of the five most-improved cities were in Missouri — St. Louis, Springfield and St. Joseph — and Kansas City was number 12.

1 Elizabethtown, KY 179 9.0% +4.3
2 St. Louis, MO-IL 4,876 9.7 +3.0
3 Bowling Green, KY 217 9.1 +2.5
4 Springfield, MO 826 9.6 +2.0
5 St. Joseph, MO-KS 171 7.5 +1.8
6 Odessa, TX 220 7.5 +1.5
7 Victoria, TX 145 6.1 +1.3
8 Manhattan, KS 132 6.1 +1.3
9 Tallahassee, FL 528 7.9 +1.2
10 Bismarck, ND 224 7.3 +1.2
11 San Angelo, TX 180 8.0 +1.2
12 Kansas City, MO-KS 3,027 8.4 +1.1
13 Redding, CA 203 6.2 +1.1
14 Lexington-Fayette, KY 681 7.5 +1.1
15 Columbus, IN 71 4.9 +1.1
16 Naples-Marco Island, FL 834 9.9 +0.9
17 Burlington-South Burlington, VT 341 6.5 +0.9
18 Pine Bluff, AR 67 5.1 +0.9
19 State College, PA 152 5.9 +0.9
20 Racine, WI 178 5.7 +0.9
Metro areas with fastest-growing rate of new startups, 2014

New businesses are less than one year old.

On the one hand, it isn’t surprising to see Missouri making progress. Both the state’s public and private sectors have been unusually aggressive in promoting entrepreneurship. The state has its own investment fund, theMissouri Technology Corporation, which invests in local businesses; the fund, together with newly formed private investment groups, have helped the state emerge as a regional leader in startup financing. The Kauffman Foundation — a prominent nonprofit that researches and promotes entrepreneurship — is based in Kansas City.

But it’s hard to know whether those efforts — or those of local boosters in St. Louis — are what’s making a difference. That’s partly because the limited data on entrepreneurship makes it hard to study the impact of government policies. Reliable data on business creation and destruction, even at the national level, has only been available for the past few years; until relatively recently, economists didn’t even know that the startup rate was declining. Even now, the measures are crude, making it hard to distinguish a fast-growing startup from a local mom-and-pop store.

Our knowledge is improving, however. Earlier this month, the Census Bureau, in a joint effort with the Kauffman Foundation, released the firstAnnual Survey of Entrepreneurs, which provides new information on America’s businesses and the people who found them. The report’s most valuable insights will come in future years, as trends become clear, but even the first year’s data contains interesting nuggets. For example, by far the largest share of new businesses in Missouri — nearly a third — are in health care, an area the state has actively promoted. Also interesting: Women own a higher share of startups in Missouri than in any other state. That could be a hint that one way to help turn America’s entrepreneurial slump around is to help more women to start businesses.

“What we’re seeing is a lot more gender and ethnic diversity in our newer businesses than we had in our older businesses,” Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, herself a former entrepreneur, said in an interview. “This is the kind of information that is really vital for policymakers.” Armed with better data, perhaps leaders in both the public and private sectors will at last crack the code for promoting entrepreneurship — and reverse the startup slump in the process.

Hunger in America

Here’s some welcome news: Fewer Americans, and particularly fewer children, are going hungry. According to data released by the Agriculture Department this week, 15.8 million U.S. households, or 12.7 percent, experienced “food insecurity” at some point in 2015, meaning their access to food was limited by financial or other constraints. That’s a big improvement from 2014, when 14 percent of households were food insecure, and from 2011, when the food insecurity rate neared 15 percent in the wake of the Great Recession. The share of households that experienced actual hunger — what the government calls “very low food security” — fell too, though not quite as quickly. Children went hungry in 274,000 households at some point during the year.

Hunger rose during the recession and has been slow to decline in the recovery. The issue has at times become a political cudgel — just Google “Obama” and “food stamps,” or, better yet, don’t — but this week’s report shows the pace of improvement is finally starting to accelerate. That’s just the latest sign that with unemployment falling below 5 percent, the economic recovery is starting to reach some of the most vulnerable American households.

Slower growth

The jobs report earlier this month showed that U.S. employers added 151,000 jobs in August, a solid though somewhat disappointing number. But on Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that pretty much all of those jobs will effectively disappear from the data when it revises its numbers early next year.

Hold on, Jack Welch, don’t go trumpeting any conspiracy theories quite yet. The announcement was part of a standard annual process of “benchmark revisions.” The monthly jobs figures are based on a survey of businesses, which is the only way to make estimates available in a timely manner. But the government also collects a much more precise count of the jobs in the economy via state unemployment insurance records. Every year, it reconciles the survey-based numbers with the more reliable unemployment records and makes whatever adjustments are necessary.

This year’s adjustment is relatively small by historical standards. According to a preliminary estimate from the BLS, there were 150,000 fewer jobs in the U.S. as of March than previously believed. That’s a downward revision of 0.1 percent, smaller than the 0.3 percent average adjustment over the past decade and much too small to change our understanding of how the economy as a whole is doing. By far the biggest revision, on a percentage basis, came in the mining sector, which isn’t surprising; the oil and gas industry, which is part of the mining sector, has been extremely volatile in the past year due to tumbling oil prices. That kind of volatility can be hard to track in real time.

The week ahead

Hiring is up and unemployment is down, but as of 2014, Americans still weren’t making any more money: Median household income has beenessentially flat since the recession ended in 2009. This week, we’ll learn whether 2015 was the year that finally began to change. On Tuesday, the Census Bureau will release its annual report on income and poverty in the U.S. and the individual states.

It’s likely the report will show at least some increase in household income in 2015. Sentier Research, a private firm working with publicly available government data, estimates median incomes began to rise in mid-2014 and are now essentially back to where they when the recession began nearly nine years ago, after adjusting for inflation. Even if Sentier is right, however, it is unlikely that the poverty rate is anywhere close to its prerecession level. The U.S. poverty rate was 14.8 percent in 2014, up from 12.5 percent in 2007.


Scott Patterson, John W. Miller and Chuin-Wei Yap of The Wall Street Journal tell the remarkable tale of a Chinese billionaire who stockpiled 77 billion beer cans’ worth of aluminum in the Mexican desert.

Inequality is up in the U.S. — that’s well-known. But the picture looks different from one state to the next. Quoctrung Bui of The New York Times charts the trends and finds some interesting patterns.

State and local governments aren’t the only ones that spend public dollars to build private sports stadiums — the federal government does, too. And it’s every bit as bad an idea as it sounds, according to new research from Ted Gayer, Austin J. Drukker and Alexander K. Gold of the Brookings Institution.

Derek Thompson of The Atlantic interviews Economist columnist Ryan Avent about his new book on how technology is reshaping the global labor force.

Article courtesy of Ben Casselman at FiveThirtyEight, see the original story here.

The Right Way to Build a Tech City

Startups should know what differentiates their product from others. Building around an unique strength, a facet that’s difficult to emulate, offers small companies a chance to gain critical mass. New companies should focus on a strength and own one particular piece of their market. Startups that fail to do this can quickly become commodities.

The same can be said for cities and regions looking to make themselves into destinations for tech. Simply trying to emulate the Bay Area and its vast net of tech-related disciplines makes for an impossible task. As I wrote about Chicago and its tech ecosystem recently, there’s more to getting true traction than simply giving startups places to work. Just as a startup needs to do one thing exceedingly well before it tackles other missions, cities should take the same tack and concentrate on one sector of tech to make their own.

I recently was in St. Louis and, while there, I talked to some of its VCs, startups and people who run its incubator and accelerator spaces. Just like anywhere, there exist startups doing all sorts of things in the St. Louis area, but many of the most interesting companies have coalesced around the bioscience space. This isn’t by chance. The city’s tech players have seized on some of the area’s inherent strengths in healthcare and biotech. Washington University, which has one of the top medical schools in the country, is constantly throwing off ideas and graduates who have new ideas in the space. DuPont’s bioscience arm is based here, as is Monsanto, the king of engineered macro-crops. And perhaps most important in all of this, St. Louis was the site of a major set of layoffs by Pfizer in 2010.

St. Louis' Biogenerator Labs and accelerator. Courtesy: Biogenerator.

St. Louis’ Biogenerator Labs and accelerator. Courtesy: Biogenerator.

 While the prospect of one of the leading pharma companies in the world cutting 600 well-paying jobs—those belonging to Ph.D.s and researchers—might seem dismal, it proved to be a fire-starter for St. Louis. It’s rare that so much ready talent gets dumped into a single job market at once. Eric Gulve, the president of Biogenerator, a unique incubator focused on biotech in St. Louis, saw opportunity and hazard in Pfizer’s layoffs.

The hazard: If the St. Louis community couldn’t find jobs for these people, they would be forced to leave the area, depriving the metro of elite brains that Midwestern cities like St. Louis can sometimes struggle to attract. The opportunity, as Gulve saw it: “These people had been in biotech for years and had great ideas, far better than first-time entrepreneurs coming from outside the industry.”

Gulve asked Pfizer if, before the last day of work, he could come in and present to employees about what working a startup is like and what the landscape was like for funding and founders. Pfizer, which wanted to find new roles for its employees as much as Gulve did, said yes. Gulve came in and gave his presentation to Pfizer employees on-site, and then took five in-person meetings the same day. Biogenerator ended up funding four groups from those meetings, one of which turned into Confluence Life Sciences, which now employs 35 in St. Louis.

At the same time, Gulve was hustling to complete a new building and set of labs for Biogenerator. He wanted it ready to catch some fo the fallout of the Pfizer layoffs. A pilot set of labs opened in the fall of 2010, just a few months after Pfizer made its cuts. The 5,600-square-feet of space was filled within 18 months. Biogenerator used that success to raise a total of $145 million and fund 54 companies that have attracted another $250 million in outside capital. The incubator, part of the Cortex Innovation Community, has also added another 12,400 square feet of lab space.

“If you have layoffs in a city and you don’t have this kind of infrastructure in place, you’re not able to take advantage,” explains David Smoller, a partner at St. Louis’ Cultivation Capital who holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology and has been part of several biotech exits. “A lot of the best intellect in the area is now at these biotech startups.”

The lab space is free for Biogenerator companies—and many of them stay there for years after their initial funding, even after finding traction and hiring a significant number of employees. Lab equipment—stuff like mass spectrometers and automated robotic arms for preparing large numbers of samples—is expensive. Small companies can’t afford to finance a lab all their own—but they also don’t need the lab every hour of the day. This allows several startups to easily share the same lab equipment. It’s a unique infrastructure for rearing biotech companies for which St. Louis has found a niche.

The city may have a chance to repeat the feat with 2,600 global layoffs just announced at Monsanto. It’s unclear where exactly those job cuts will take place around the world, but it’s likely that a few hundred will be in St. Louis. “Hopefully a subset of those people won’t want to retire,” says Sam Fiorello, chief operating officer of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. “They know the ag space in and out and we need to be ready to provide them support.”

Danforth has multiple missions, including the pursuit of agricultural solutions to mitigate hunger and disease across the world, but it’s also one the U.S. hubs for new companies focusing on the ag tech space. With labs, office space, mentors and a complete talent network, companies here can stay focused on their product.

Experimental plants being reared at the Danforth Center.

Experimental plants being reared at the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.

Fiorello, who was the chief of staff for Henrik Verfaillie when the latter was Monsanto’s CEO, has been grinding to create a complete program for nurturing ag tech companies and, just as important, a base of employees who can easily be plugged into growing ag ventures. “You can’t just build lab space and expect people to come,” he says. “It’s not a real estate play.”

The biggest pain point for Danforth’s companies has been finding skilled workers for the lab. To that end, Fiorello has worked with St. Louis Community College to create a plant science training program that now boasts a 98% job placement—the remaining 2% go on to get bachelor’s degrees. Danforth, now with two buildings and attracing ag-tech from around the world—including multinational companies from Germany and Israel—now houses 575 people with an addition on its main building that will make room for another 100.

The next project for Fiorello is yet another new building for Danforth that can help him catch Monsanto refugees. One company already using Danforth’s resources, Arvegenix, was founded by three former Monsanto employees who are developing hearty strains of Pennycress, a winter annual plant, as a revenue crop for during what’s normally a dormant period for North American farmers. The plant will provide animal feed as well as oil that can be used in biofuels. Arvigenix has raised $9 million and is now using the core lab at Danforth to develop its seed. Arvegenix has set up shop in St. Louis’ Helix Center biotech incubator, yet another local platform aimed at the space.

St. Louis, like Chicago, has a lot of work left to achieve its goals as a destination and long-term home for tech, but it has made the shrewd choice of identifying sectors where its infrastructure and intellectual capital already had a head start.

Article is courtesy Christoper Steiner at See the original article here.


Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

From national recognition of a hometown staple to the opening of new St. Peters chop house, here’s what went down last week, ICYMI…


1. The James Beard Foundation has announced the five recipients of its 2017 America’s Classics award, and one of St. Louis’ longtime favorites has landed on the list. Gioia’s Deli is the first St. Louis restaurant to receive the honor since the award’s inception in 1998.

2. The annual Good Food Awards were announced Jan. 20, and area chocolatier Kakao Chocolate has earned top honors in the confections category with its Norton Pâtés du Vin, a fruit gel made with Augusta Winery’s Norton.


3. Cork & Barrel Chop House and Spirits opened doors with brunch service this Sunday, Jan. 29. As The Scoop reported in June, the 7,000-square-foot restaurant is located at 7337 Mexico Road.

4. White Rooster Farmhouse Brewery is set to start brewing in Sparta, Illinois, in the near future. Co-owner Mike Deutschmann said the brewery should be up and running at 113 W. Jackson St., this spring.


5. New Day Gluten Free has a new home in Clayton. After closing their Ellisville location three months ago, co-owners Garrett and Kelly Beck have reopened their gluten-free, peanut-free restaurant and bakery at 7807 Clayton Road on Monday, Jan. 16.

6. Arlene Maminta Browne and Stanley Browne have announced their first non-Robust Wine Bar concept: Snax Gastrobar, set to open in early March.


7. Giovanni’s On The Hill at 5201 Shaw Ave., was damaged by fire on Wednesday, Jan. 26. Co-owner Carmelo Gabriele said no one was hurt, but the building did suffer substantial damage.

The Smokin’ Monkey food truck, which specialized in “barbecue with a tropical twist,” is officially off the road.

By Catherine Klene

Tags: ,

Stadia Ventures Announces Move into Cortex Innovation District

Stadia Ventures, the two-year-old sports-focused business development firm and accelerator that helps early stage sports startups connect with investors, brands and teams, today announced it is moving its headquarters into the CIC@4240 building in the Cortex Innovation District next month. Since Stadia started in 2015, its headquarters have been located in T-REX downtown.

“We’re thrilled to move into the Cortex district inside CIC and further engrain Stadia in the growing St. Louis startup ecosystem,” said Art Chou, Stadia Ventures co-founder and Managing Director. “T-REX and CIC play vital roles in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and we look forward to continuing to support both facilities, holding events such as our Spring 2017 Finalist Pitch Day event  at T-REX in late February.”

T-REX, which plays hosts to over a dozen entrepreneur support organizations, has been home to almost all of St. Louis’ startup accelerator programs. Prosper Women Entrpreneurs Startup Accelerator, SixThirty and SixThirty Cyber accelerators and the Purina PetCare Innovation Prize are based in T-REX, with the Yield Lab accelerator also having a T-REX office. Capital Innovators, previously headquartered in T-REX, moved to CIC@4240 in 2016 as part of a partnership with Maritz, Inc.

Tim Hayden and Art Chou of Stadia Ventures
Tim Hayden and Art Chou of Stadia Ventures

Stadia Ventures focuses on fostering connections between startups and its partners in the $150 billion sports business market including the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, ESPN, CBS Sports, Rawlings, Wilson, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Under Armour, the San Francisco 49ers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Philadelphia 76ers and others. Stadia just completed its third cohort.

“The Stadia Accelerator has been a game changer for our business,” said Joe Shuchat, founder and president of Winning Identity, a Stadia Ventures portfolio company and accelerator graduate. “The guest speakers they’ve brought in have been world class industry leaders. The advisory team has put us in a position to take our business to the next level.”

Cate Zone Chinese Cafe Now Open in University City

In University City’s pocket of Chinese businesses, a new restaurant features Dongbei-style cuisine. Cate Zone Chinese Cafe opened on Nov. 12 in the space previously occupied by J&W Bakery, offering authentic dishes from Northeast China. The menu features entrees, street-food style skewers, malatang or hotpot-like bowls and more.

The concept comes from co-owners Quincy Lin and Daniel Ma along with chef Yuming Han. Han has nearly 20 years of experience in Chinese cookery, including working in the kitchen at Joy Luck Buffet, where the trio originally met. Together, the team decided to debut their own take on Chinese cooking in St. Louis.

“Right now there are a lot of Chinese buffets and restaurants with Americanized Chinese food. Here, we do real Chinese food,” Ma says. “We want to change the way Americans think of it.”

According to Lin, the menu highlights traditional fare from his native Liaoning Province. With Cate Zone, he hopes to offer the local population of international students a taste of home. The kitchen sources ingredients from area Asian markets to create the menu of scratch-made meals. The largely savory offerings come in big enough portions for sharing, providing a perfect way to try a few different items while dining family-style.


A sweet dish features fried honey-glazed sweet potatoes topped with spun sugar.

Mabel Suen

The approximately 800-square-foot space got a complete revamp to bring its capacity to around 38 seats. The dining room features New York-subway themed wallpaper and photographs to evoke a youthful, modern feel for its primarily college-aged patrons. Adventurous diners who wander in, however, will find a trove of tasteful eats to enjoy. Where the menu is lacking in descriptions, a bounty of flavors make up for what’s lost in translation.

Introductory highlights, according to Lin, include a light and bright salad made up of artfully plated shredded cucumbers topped with carrots, cabbage, wood-ear mushroom, clear noodles, cilantro and a special sesame-tinged dressing. In the evenings, guests can choose from a list of grilled skewers seasoned liberally with cumin, hot pepper and sesame seeds – choose from lamb, beef tendon and brisket, chicken gizzards and more.

Another recommendation is northeastern China-style sweet-and-sour pork, which features thin strips of crispy breaded and fried pork coated in a sticky sauce garnished with ginger and green onion. Cumin-calamari fried rice comes studded with peas, carrots and scrambled egg. Additional selections include Szechuan spicy shrimp, twice-cooked pork and homemade wonton soup.

For a personalized experience, opt for malatang, or hot-pot style bowls that are made to order. Choose from 15 different ingredients including vegetables, sliced beef, tofu and fish balls from a fresh-food bar. For something sweet, Lin recommends honey crisp sweet potatoes – a deep-fried dessert topped with a brimming crown of spun sugar.

Cate Zone Chinese Cafe is currently open Monday through Friday from 11am to 3pm and 5 to 9pm as well as Saturday through Sunday from 11am to 9pm.

Cate Zone Chinese Cafe, 8148 Olive Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri, 314.738.9923

Accessibility To Food Trucks Is Often Lacking Due To Location Issues

More than two decades after the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed, the ongoing food truck revolution remains largely inaccessible to those of us who use wheelchairs. Not because of the tricks themselves, but because of where they park.

From a 2013 post — Foods trucks at Third Degree’s open house require lining up on grass — a challenge for some.

In early September a proposed food truck park was in the news:

St. Louis may soon get its first food truck park — a regular gathering spot for some of the area’s best-regarded mobile kitchens. The proposed site is on a stretch of South Vandeventer Avenue — not far from the popular Grove entertainment district — that officials hope to regenerate with new businesses.

Some planning remains, and the park’s developers have yet to choose the project’s name. But they have a site and hope to conduct a food truck pop-up event there this fall.

If plans work out, next spring a rotating assemblage of food trucks will begin to operate daily on what is now an overgrown lot next to the long-ago home of Liberty Bell Oil Co. The vacant building at 1430 South Vandeventer will be redone as the joint commissary for the food trucks. (Post-Dispatch)

My hope is if this moves forward it’ll be designed so everyone can patronize the food trucks. Often I can’t reach the trucks parked downtown at one of my favorite spots: Citygarden.

Even downtown many access problems exist. Just walk up right?

Even downtown many access problems exist. Just walk up right?

No, in this case the window isn't lined up with the walk shown in the previous picture.

No, in this case the window isn’t lined up with the walk shown in the previous picture.

Market next to Citygarden is a very narrow strip of concrete. Enough to stand on but not enough for a wheelchair.

Even when the window is lined up it can still be a challenge if there are others in line.

When I started blogging 12+ years ago I argued for more food carts to activate streets — food trucks weren’t a thing yet. I still wish food carts were more common because they trend to be easier to access in a wheelchair. But trucks have replaced carts so now we need to ensure the public can access them.

— Steve Patterson


COCA Announces $27M Expansion, Parking Garage in U-City

At its 30th anniversary celebration, the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) in University City announced plans for a $27M renovation and expansion to its home at 524 Trinity Avenue. COCA says more than $25M has been raised toward a $40M campaign which includes $13M toward its endowment and reserves.

Founded in 1986, COCA transformed the B’nai Amoona Synagogue, designed by notable architect Eric Mendelsohn and completed in 1950. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An 11K sf addition in 2004 created a new entrance and expanded capacity.

The newly announced expansion is planned to begin in 2018 and be completed late the following year. A new 450-seat theater will be built on the existing adjacent surface parking lot and require the removal of the 2004 addition. Other planned amenities include new studio, instructional, and community space.

A 200+ parking space will be constructed in conjunction with Washington University across Washington Avenue, replacing the approximately 80 existing COCA space, and 70 at 560. That garage will serve both buildings. 560 was completed in 1930 as the Shaare Emeth Temple. The building has seen a variety of uses since and was acquired by WUSTL in 2006.

These two buildings and others highlight a challenge noted in the National Register nomination form, “Since this part of University City already has a super abundance of institutional facilities and a shortage of parking spaces, the future of B’nai Amoona is in doubt.”

Indeed, it’s been a challenge to find new uses for some of University City’s institutional buildings. Today, City Hall occupies the “Women’s Magazine Building”, originally built as the headquarters of a publishing company. Next door, the Church of Scientology occupies the 1924 Assumption Greek Orthodox Church.

Today, the former Harvard Delmar School building is vacant, and the magazine press building, long the city’s police headquarters, has been vacated after being deemed unfit for use. The former school building at 721 Kingsland is now utilized by WUSTL’s Sam Fox School.

Mendelsohn, architect of B’nai Amoona Synagogue (COCA), left Germany in 1933 following the rise to power fo the Nazis. He eventually immigrated to the US in 1941.

According to the National Register nomination form, Mendelsohn had a friend in St. Louis for whom he had designed a store in Gleiwitz, Silesia, in 1922. Connections made via his friend led to showing his work, giving lectures, and then the B’nai Amoona commission. The building proved popular and led to commissions in Cleveland, Ohio (1946- 1952); Washington, D.C. (1948); Baltimore, Maryland (1948); Grand Rapids, Michigan (1948-1952); St. Paul, Minnesota (1950-54); and Dallas, Texas (1951).

Design team for the $27M COCA theater and expansion project: Design Architect – Axi:Ome, Associate Design Architect, Architect of Record – Christner Inc., Structural Engineer – OES Inc., Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Engineer – Buro Happold, Lighting Design – Buro Happold, Civil Engineer – Engineering Design Source, Inc., Theater Consultant – Schuler Shook, Acoustic Consultant – Kirkegaard Associates, Audio Visual Consultant – Kirkegaard Associates, Construction Manager – Wilson TW Joint Venture.

Model and images (1980) from National Register nomination form:

Sneak Peek: Cork & Barrel Chop House and Spirits in St. Peters

Sneak Peek: Cork & Barrel Chop House and Spirits in St. Peters

January 27th 04:01pm, 2017


Cork & Barrel Chop House and Spirits opens doors with brunch service this Sunday, Jan. 29. As The Scoop reported in June, the 7,000-square-foot restaurant is located at 7337 Mexico Road.

Executive chef Lee Gustin worked with co-owners Joel and Jill Ragan to develop a menu focused on chop house cuts of beef and pork, smoked meats and twists on classic fare like nachos, flatbreads and sandwiches. Gustin, who has spent time in kitchens from Cedar Lake Cellars to the St. Louis Blues, uses a Big Green Egg, a ceramic charcoal grill, to smoke and sear many of the meats.

The main dining room seats 140 guests and features a large gas fireplace. A large patio offers additional seating in warmer months. A private dining room seats 20 for special events and connects to a private patio space with room for 40.

Cork & Barrel will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Here’s what to expect when it opens this Sunday:

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Photos by Michelle Volansky

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First Look: New Day Gluten Free in Clayton

First Look: New Day Gluten Free in Clayton

January 27th 02:01pm, 2017


New Day Gluten Free has a new home in Clayton. After closing their Ellisville location three months ago, co-owners Garrett and Kelly Beck have reopened their gluten-free, peanut-free restaurant and bakery at 7807 Clayton Road on Monday, Jan. 16.

Kelly Beck said the kitchen is twice as big as the Ellisville location, which makes it possible to hire more staff and expand its offerings. The menu is currently the same as the Ellisville location, though with the addition of a deep-fryer, Beck has added house-made chips and is developing recipes for gluten-free doughnuts.

The 3,800-square-foot space seats 40 inside and will seat an additional 25 when the weather warms. “It’s almost triple the seating we had in Ellisville,” Beck said. “We learned a lot at the other space, but [the new space] is what I always envisioned when we first started talking about opening a gluten-free cafe.”

New Day Gluten Free is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here’s what you’ll find when you visit the new space:

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Photos by Michelle Volansky

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The Scoop: Snax Gastrobar to open in former J McArthur’s space

J McArthur’s An American Kitchen opened doors July 10 at 3500 Watson Road in the Lindenwood Park neighborhood.

{ The future home of Snax Gastrobar }

Arlene Maminta Browne and Stanley Browne have announced their first non-Robust Wine Bar concept: Snax Gastrobar, set to open in early March, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

As The Scoop reported last month, the Brownes, who own both locations of Robust Wine Bar in Webster Groves and downtown St. Louis, announced in December that they would open a new restaurant in the space that once housed J McArthur’s An American Kitchen at 3500 Watson Road. J McArthur’s shuttered on Dec. 31 after a year-and-a-half in business.

While the term “gastropub” often indicates a substantial beer list, Arlene Maminta Browne said “gastrobar” is intended to reflect not only a large beer selection, but plenty of wines and classic cocktails as well. “We were in Chicago and talking about this concept,” she said. “And the name just came into my head.”

Browne said Robust executive chef Joseph L. Hemp V will oversee the development of an “upscale, humble food” menu. “He loves fine dining, but he has a real passion for this type of food,” she said, adding that no specific menu items have been decided upon yet. Hemp also has an ownership stake in the new restaurant.

Browne said there will be approximately 45 seats inside the space, 50 seats on the enclosed patio in front of the building and 25 seats on the back patio. Though the space does require some décor changes, Browne said no major renovations are needed. Initially, Snax will only be open for dinner, but lunch service is a possibility. Browne said it’s possible that other Snax locations may open up around town if the concept proves popular.

Photo by Michelle Volansky 

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