St. Louis is a place full of incredible food, interesting businesses, some of the nation's best breweries and some of the country's most creative people. Meet St. Louis is the podcast taking you behind the scenes with the brewers, chefs, entrepreneurs, and artists who make St. Louis more than just the Arch.
Episode 184: Chef Bernie Lee and Akar
Bernie Lee started working in restaurants as a teenager.
He immigrated to the US from Malaysia and wanted to open a restaurant that reminded him of the fusion of flavors he grew up with.
His first restaurant was 609 Lounge and Restaurant in the Delmar Loop, and then opened Hiro Asian Kitchen in Downtown. All of those experiences led him to eventually open Akar in Clayton.
The tiny 12-seat restaurant is located on Wydown in what Lee describes as a “little magical corner.”
We sat down with Lee to talk about cooking from the heart and the lessons he learned from his mother and grandmother. We talk about travel and menu inspiration and the joy of invoking a memory through food. Akar features elevated Malaysian cuisine and is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner.
Episode 183: Mother's Day with Nick and Ann Bognar
Ann Bognar opened Nippon Tei in West County more than two decades ago. Her son Nick grew up watching her in the kitchen at home and at the restaurant.
Nick took the lessons learned from his family restaurant and opened Indo in the Botanical Heights neighborhood and now the mother-son duo will venture into a new restaurant Sado.
The Bognars will bring modern Japanese cuisine and sushi to the Hill neighborhood later this fall. In honor of Mother’s Day we sat down with the Bognars to talk about lessons learned inside kitchen, legacy, and the power of family.
Nippon Tei will remain open through the fall until Sado opens in the former Giovanni’s location on the Hill.
Episode 182: Crazy Bowls and Wraps
Crazy Bowls and Wraps has been serving up healthy eats, things like kale and quinoa, way before they were ever trendy.
And many people don’t realize the fast-casual spot is local to St. Louis.
Keith and Gail Kitsis first opened their restaurant in 1994 and they’ve grown and expanded to 16 locations across the St. Louis metro area. Keith joined us on the podcast along with Kim Reitzner, the director of operations, to talk about building a business in the ever-changing landscape of fast-casual landscape.
They credit their attention to detail and bringing options for various lifestyle choices like Whole 30 and Paleo with their success and longevity in the region. Now they hope to bring the concept to other places in the country.
Episode 181: Pharaoh's Donuts
Waking up to the smell of donuts has been a reality for Syeeda Morris since she was a child. Her dad Amon Aziz started the beloved Pharaoh's Donuts in 1994. Now they have two locations, one in Downtown and one in the Central West End and they’re scoping out a third spot.
Glazed is the top seller but for Syeeda it’s the ones that take a little decorating that strike her fancy. She finds calm and peace in baking and decorating and is expanding beyond the donuts that Pharaoh's is so well known for.
We sat down with her inside their busy downtown location to talk about expanding to other baked goods, early wake-up calls and the power of passing down a legacy, one donut at a time.
Episode 180: Heavy Riff Brewing
This week on the Meet St. Louis Podcast, we head to Dogtown and visit one of the fastest-growing breweries in the region.
Rick Hagen and Greg Meyer built their brewery on a simple idea: Who doesn't want to own a brewery?
From there, they added their love of music, adorning their one-of-a-kind space with original concert posters that could rival a record store.
All the while, they were making exceptional beer that not only made them leaders of the pack in the competitive beer town of St. Louis, but won them national awards.
Rick and Greg sat down with Meet St. Louis to talk about what it takes to build and believe in a brewery, and where you take it once you succeed (yes, they are expanding).
Here's the story of how a group of friends made their dreams came true, and how they made some of the city's best beer along the way.
Sit back, plug in, and enjoy!
Episode 179: World Chess Hall of Fame
St. Louis is one of those cities where you can always discover something new. That’s what this week’s episode was all about.
Many of us have seen the giant chess piece in the Central West End. In fact, did you know it’s the world’s largest? How that came to be is just one of the stories Shannon Bailey, curator of the World Chess Hall of Fame, shared with us on the episode.
Chess has put St. Louis on the map, making it a destination for the world’s best chess players, but also just those interested in the game.
The WCHOF is celebrating 10 years in St. Louis this year and Bailey takes us on the journey of how it came to be in the Gateway City. And even if you’re not a fan of chess, keep listening because this is about art, culture and bringing people to St. Louis to experience everything our city has to offer.
The current exhibit, Mind, Art, Experience: 10 Years of Chess and Culture in Saint Louis celebrates all 50 exhibitions since the opening in 2011. It runs from now until July 17.
Felt like I was chatting with a friend!
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Alexis. She is personable, friendly and keeps the convo going like you’re chatting with a friend. I always love listening to her episodes. She always chooses interesting local businesses and that’s what this city needs. Thanks for always supporting local!
The host Alexis is such a superior interviewer! She has a big smile in her voice welcoming every guest and asking the questions I would like to know about! She keeps the conversation going and heads it into a perfectly timed interview! I love listening to this St. Louis podcast!
Martin Casas comic store
Sorry don’t have name of episode handy. Just wanted to say very informative. Good insight on several topics. Interviewer well prepared and polished.