Gerard Craft | St. Louis Public Radio

Gerard Craft

Clockwise from bottom, Gerard Craft, Dave Bailey, Kevin Nashan, Nick Luedde
Ashley Gieseking | Sauce Magazine

What makes us choose favorite restaurants?

On the latest edition of Sound Bites, Sauce Magazine’s art director Meera Nagarajan explained that diners look for consistency. In other words, we want to know that when we go to a restaurant, we’re going to have a positive, delicious experience.

In Sauce Magazine’s annual Reader’s Choice Poll, St. Louisans identified the top four restaurateurs in the area:

Carmen Troesser | Sauce Magazine

Two St. Louis chefs are finalists in the James Beard Foundation Awards in the category of Best Chef: Midwest.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

James Beard Award-winning chef Gerard Craft is known for some of St. Louis’ most beloved restaurants which produce cutting-edge and taste-bud-tingling food. So when restaurateurs heard his newest venture was going fast-casual, they did a double-take.

Despite the initial shock, the restaurant has opened to lines out the door:

Carmen Troesser, Sauce Magazine

Sometimes when you enter Pastaria in Clayton during prep hours you can hear singer Executive Chef Ashley Shelton, 28, belting out a tune or two. You may also receive a Kool-Aid refresher or piece of candy to “keep the flow going” and put a smile on the other cooks’ faces.

Chef Gerard Craft
(photo provided/used with permission)

Earlier this month, Gerard Craft became the first chef from St. Louis to win the James Beard Foundation’s award for “Best Chef: Midwest.” Craft is the executive chef and owner of Niche Food Group in St. Louis. The business includes Niche, Brasserie, Taste, and Pastaria.

Craft had received nominations in past years, but chefs in bigger cities, he said, are most often chosen for the award.

“I think it’s tougher in St. Louis [to win the award],” he explained. “St. Louis historically hasn’t gotten a ton of exposure, especially in the food world.”