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Vicia, the buzzy St. Louis restaurant project of husband-and-wife team Michael and Tara Gallina, opens today in the Cortex Innovation District at 4260 Forest Park Avenue, also home to TechShop.
The Gallinas are alums of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, New York, where Michael was chef de cuisine and Tara worked in the front of the house. While they were there, Blue Hill earned an award for Outstanding Restaurant in America from the James Beard Foundation, and a ranking on the San Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants in the World list.The couple left Tarrytown in fall of 2015 to return to Michael’s hometown of St. Louis. The couple has hosted a series of sold-out pop-up dinners under the name Rooster and the Hen, in an effort to interact with their new community.
“We’re proud of what we’ve done and what we’ve learned, so we wanted to share it with more people, bring it back home, and communicate it to a new audience,” said Michael. “I wake up every day thinking, ‘Why can’t one of the next best restaurants in the country be in St. Louis?”
Just in Time
Vicia brings high-caliber cuisine and a happy hour spot to Cortex just in time for the district’s upcoming expansion.
The restaurant will offer a frequently changing a la carte menu, driven by the best of what’s available at the moment. The goal is to create an element of surprise, and a restaurant experience that constantly feels fresh and innovative–fitting for a restaurant in the heart of an innovation district.
“We want people to return often, and feel free to dine in different ways each time,” said Michael. “We hope to be a destination where you can indulge in a special dining experience one night, and share a quick meal on another.”
Vicia will offer a quick service lunch that features a traditional menu of salads, grain bowls, tartines, and soups. For dinner, it becomes full service, focusing on creative offerings in the form of small plates, shared dishes and inventive entrees. Both menus will rely heavily on the kitchen’s wood fire grill and are “vegetable-forward,” with proteins taking a supplemental role.
The 2,500-square-foot restaurant and bar, will seat 54 inside, with room for 34 in the outside seating area. Housed in a mostly glass space with a glass-enclosed kitchen, the restaurant makes use of natural elements such as wood, stone, and metal throughout. This includes custom-made white oak tables from St. Louis artisan Martin Goebel of Martin Goebel Design and a piece from St. Louis-based artist Andrew Millner.
“From the moment we first visited the Cortex community we knew something really big was happening here,” said Tara. “Its dedication to innovation and creativity mimics the way we view food and dining, and the growth planned for the area captured our imagination. We are excited to call Cortex home and create something truly unique in St. Louis.”
Located at 4260 Forest Park Avenue, Vicia will serve lunch Monday-Friday from 11:00am- 1:30pm. Dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30pm-9:30pm. For more information visit: viciarestaurant.com.