Gerard Craft | St. Louis Public Radio

Gerard Craft

Michael Rozier
Michael Rozier

As an assistant professor of health management and policy at St. Louis University, Michael Rozier is used to thinking a lot about matters of public health — and finding plenty of reasons for hope. His research focuses on the shift toward preventative health care efforts, as well as how ethical and moral rhetoric can advance health care policy. But last week, with COVID-19 case numbers in the U.S. suggesting any end to the pandemic is still a long way off, he took to Twitter to offer some less-than-optimistic predictions.

“Sadly, I'm becoming convinced that #COVID is not far from taking on the characteristics of #gunviolence,” Rozier tweeted. “[The U.S.] will endure much higher, persistent negative effects from something that other countries have solved; we'll normalize it and convince ourselves nothing can be done.” The tweet was off the cuff, but it quickly gained traction online, with both those in agreement and those who found it too pessimistic weighing in.

Taken on 5-12 when Crown Candy reopened for curbside pickup after staying closed for a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Bars and restaurants in St. Louis and St. Louis County will be among the first wave of businesses allowed to reopen their doors to customers on Monday, after local stay-at-home orders expire.

That includes Ice & Fuel in Kirkwood, a sports bar and grill, which has been closed for about a month while the owners deep cleaned the restaurant and fixed up the outdoor patio. Manager Korie Harris said they tried curbside pickup for a few weeks but realized their workers could make more money with unemployment benefits.

But now that the restaurant has a shot at dine-in business, too, she’s added everyone back to the payroll. 

Taken on the day before stl regional officials called for restaurants and bars to stop dine-in service (03-16-20)
Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Less than two weeks after St. Louis County health officials announced the first local case of coronavirus, the restaurant and bar industry completely changed. 

Regional government officials last week called for restaurants and bars to halt dine-in service, a move aimed to force social distancing as the number of cases in Missouri climbed past 20.

Only those that offer delivery, takeout or curbside pickup can remain open.

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.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 6, 2009 - The St. Louis food scene got a little more delicious, in notoriety at least, when three local chefs were named as Midwest semi-finalists for the James Beard Foundation awards last month.

Finalists for the awards, often called the Oscars of the food world, won't be named until March 23 at www.jbfawards.com . Winners will be announced May 3 and 4.