Friday, October 10, 2008

Giving St. Louis a Wedgie (& Munchie a new hang)

My friend Munchie, pictured above, a barbecue specialist and merchant of secrets, has met many bars he didn't like, but he has never heard of a bar near his house on the near South Side that he didn't visit, at least once, and usually often. With Munchie in mind, and in a spirit of public service, I relay to you news of a tavern restaurant venue opening shared with me by a young man with the cool name of Tyson Blanquart.

The place name is, in my view, not quite as cool. It's named The Wedge, after the little wedge of land where it's located, at the juncture of Virginia, Bates and Compton. My girl Toyy lived near that wedge when we were making Blind Cat Black, so I know it well. I also know what a "wedgie" is, which would have killed that name early in the brainstorm, if my money were on the line.

But Tyson Blanquart and his mates are in that enormous category of people who do their own thing, regardless of how people in my middle school referred to the phenomenon of unexpectedly uplifting an uncool person's underwater deep up into their nether regions.

There is also an upstairs venue in the space, named the Iggy Ziggy Room, another name that doesn't get out of my pitch meeting, but it wasn't my pitch meeting.

The food: pizza, calzones, salads, soups. The dough: made fresh in the kitchen. The ingredients: fresh and local. (I'll add: "planned to be fresh and local." I've seen too many restaurants wing it in a pinch and use literally any ingredient they could get their hands on. That's the business.) The menu consultant: Blake Brokaw (of Tangerine, Chocolate Bar, Hungry Buddha).

The help: "some of the best bar and wait staffers from around town, including some folks from late, great Hi Pointe Café, as well as from other notable eateries and fine drinking establishments" (i.e., other places that bit the dust).

The opening: Friday, October 17. Lunch at 11 a.m., food through 11 p.m., with a limited late-nite menu through close at 1:30 a.m.

The entertainment: "local hard rock favorites" GoldTooth at 10 p.m. in the Izzy Ziggy Getting Jiggy With It Room, with DJ Elemental Child spinning in the dining room from 8 p.m. (Admission to the Iggy Ziggy Miss Piggy Room is $8, with a $2 surcharge for those under 21; it's an 18+ venue.)

Good stuff coming up: Lola van Ella and her punk rock burlesque troupe (otherwise known as "the derriere beyond compare" gets a Wedgie).

"It's never going to be a dull night at The Wedge," Tyson says, which makes this weary and not young man oat the laptop here wonder whether or not Tyson has ever had an everyday relationship with a tavern restaurant venue. There are always dull nights.

The address: 442 Bates Street. The phone: 314-351-1200. The email handle: The Space of My: The Dot of Com:

The photo of Munchie by me.

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