By Candice Coleman

Spring has sprung, and all kinds of eclectic eateries are popping up all over our St. Louis landscape—and for some, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree!

The Benevolent King dining room

It’s good to be king, especially if you’re a BENevolent one! Of course, we’re talking about the man with the Midas touch when it comes to eateries, Ben Poremba, who just opened the Moroccan-themed The Benevolent King in Maplewood.

The restaurant’s daily rotating menu, an ode to Chef Poremba’s mother, features an assortment of “snacks” and dinner plates that are an inventive departure from traditional Moroccan fare. Highlights include Shaved Veal Tongue (with golden raisins, capers and sumac), Shakshuka Wanna Be (stewed baby okra, chicken merguez, poached egg),  and Rose Water Custard (with figs, pistachio and coconut). 


One of the menu offerings at DD Mau

Trading a successful career in fashion for her true passion, cooking, Julie Truong recently opened DD Mau in Maryland Heights. Vietnamese for “to go quickly,” DD Mau is a fast-casual Vietnamese restaurant serving classically prepared grilled meats – like steak, pork, chicken, shrimp and tofu—on bao, banh mi and sliders, and in vermicelli and rice bowls, egg rolls, spring rolls…the list goes on and on.

While Truong credits her mom and grandma for inspiring her traditional mouth-watering dishes, the ingenuity is all hers.

“I think my concept will succeed because there is no other fast-casual cuisine in St. Louis that’s modern and different. We have many fast food and dine-in restaurants from all Asian cuisines, but there’s not one that’s Vietnamese. The menu is simple and refined, but stays true to its authentic recipes,” said Truong.

DD Mau is open Monday through Friday (10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and Saturday (11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.).


The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) is practically perking with excitement that Rise, the popular Grove coffeehouse, will make a second home in the Grand Center Arts District. Rise will operate CAM’s café, beginning Friday, May 11, to coincide with the museum’s Summer Exhibitions opening.

And if that’s not exciting enough, Rise and CAM were just featured in a recent Vogue article, “An Insider’s Guide to the Magic of St. Louis, Missouri.”

CAM executive director Lisa Melandri says of the new partnership, “We envision the museum as a gathering place, a community living room for the viewing of art. Rise fits perfectly with this concept. You realize Rise is focused on community the moment you enter. They also make really good coffee and scrumptious food.”

Speaking of food, Rise Café will offer toasts, sandwiches, lunch bowls and pastries, and will operate during museum hours. 


Good Fortune in Tower Grove

The new Good Fortune restaurant in the Tower Grove neighborhood recently opened its doors on Friday the 13th (April 13). Co-founded by Corey Smale (who co-founded Strange Donuts) and Ryan McDonald, the American-Chinese eatery will feature its own twist on the classics, including rangoons made with salt cod instead of crab. The restaurant even has in-house fermentation and a variety of tiki cocktails.


Breakfast menu offerings at The Shack

Popular breakfast/brunch destination The Shack Breakfast and Lunch is opening its fifth location in Creve Coeur on May 6. You might recall The Shack recently debuted its opened fourth location in O’Fallon, Missouri, just last month, with two more Shacks opening in Overland Park, Kansas, in early summer.

Owners (and proud Parkway West grads) Brant Baldanza and Jon Fogarty are also slated to open an eighth location in South County this spring. And, rumor has it that the dynamic duo is currently in Nashville scouting yet another location!