Dinner at the Loft team will open Scouts restaurant in Midtown St. Louis in late 2023

Scouts, a new restaurant concept by chef Elliott Brown, best known for the Dinner at the Loft pop-up series, will open at 3007 Olive St. in Midtown later this year.  

The restaurant is named both after Brown’s daughter Scout and in honor of Brown’s parents, Jeff and Mary Clarke, model scouts who own St. Louis-based Mother Model Management and will co-own the restaurant. Their new living space and office called Motherland will be next door to the restaurant. 

When guests dine at Scouts, Brown wants them to feel like they’re at someone’s home. The menu will be cocktail driven with various small plates. “It’s food you can snack on as you’re chatting around cocktails. We want a family-style atmosphere, but not family-style in the sense of big portions,” Brown said. 

Brown broadly described the food as New American cuisine but inspired by French and Italian cuisines, as well as his mother’s and grandmother’s Southern cooking. “You know what chicken and dumplings is, but you haven’t had it like this,” he said. The menu will be seasonally inspired and feature locally sourced ingredients. Some of the items that will likely be offered include: a housemade bread basket; mussels with Calabrian chile and preserved lemon; and grilled vegetable bolognese with housemade cavatelli.

Jordaryl Logan, who is also involved with Dinner at the Loft, will head up the bar program at Scouts. There will be a full bar along with specialty cocktails, some on draft, and a selection of wines and canned beer. There will also be shareable punch bowl cocktails served with ladles. 

Dinner at the Loft arose during the pandemic when they started by traveling to people’s homes, and eventually Brown began hosting in his own loft. “Basically, a bunch of strangers show up at my house and sit at my table,” Brown said. He added that the pop-up recently began hosting at venues such as Work & Leisure in Midtown. While the pop-up series likely won’t continue once Scouts opens, Brown is hoping to incorporate catering into their work, as well as the hospitable, intimate feel that Dinner at the Loft offers. 

Scouts will be housed in a building that’s been in Brown’s family for nearly 40 years. His great aunt once owned and operated a daycare for low-income families in the building, but it’s been empty for the last decade. Brown wants the space to feel like a hybrid between a home and a traditional restaurant with dim lighting, exposed brick and plenty of plants and wood. “We want it to be very warm and inviting and super cozy,” he said. Beyond standard tables and chairs, Brown envisions a few tables with banquette seating. The kitchen will be completely open and surrounded by 24 seats, enabling direct interaction with the chefs.  

They’ll have a patio in the back for about 20 people and a private dining room in the renovated garage space that will be open as a lounge area when not booked for a private event. The 4,000-square-foot space will accommodate about 100 guests in total. Scouts will offer dinner service Thursday through Monday, as well as weekend brunch. The opening date and hours will be announced on Instagram.