First Look: Black Mountain Wine House in the Central West End of St. Louis
Black Mountain Wine House will open at 354-356 N. Boyle Ave. in the Central West End on Tuesday, March 28. Located in the former West End Grill & Pub, the bar and restaurant is an extension of Black Mountain Wine House’s original location in Brooklyn, New York.
Co-owners Joe Baker and Tyler Maganzini (who also owns the original location of Black Mountain Wine House) have converted the space into a rustic oasis, warmed by a fireplace near the entrances and filled with furniture, stained glass pieces and other decorations uncovered at antique malls, picked up at farms, or purchased online. Maganzini and Baker had the impressive back bar custom-built, while reclaimed wood is used extensively throughout the space to establish that cozy feel. “With the fire going, all the candles lit, all these lights dimmed, it’s very much a warm, cozy feel,” Maganzini said.
Black Mountain Wine House extends across three spaces. The main entrance leads into the restaurant and bar room, with an open kitchen at the back of the space. To the left of that space is a lounge with additional seating, which can be closed off by a large barn door. The lounge space connects to the Gaslight Theater and will double as a waiting area for Gaslight patrons before shows and during intermissions.
From the lounge, another door leads customers into what will eventually be Black Mountain’s wine shop and private dining room, with a single table seating six to eight diners. Baker and Maganzini said they will focus on walk-in business, but this table will be the only space at Black Mountain Wine House that will be set aside for reservations. The wine shop will open at a later date, Baker said, to allow time for the restaurant and bar team to hit their stride. Similarly, as the bar settles in, Baker and Maganzini plan to add patio seating on the street.
The bar will serve about 20 wines by the glass, and a large selection of bottled wines. Baker and Maganzini are planning to offer as many wines as they can source in half-bottle measures, estimating that selection could range anywhere between eight to 15 bottles. The wine list will feature a lot of single varietals, Maganzini said, with sparkling options, orange wines and rosés featured.
The food here is largely a reflection of the menu at Black Mountain Wine House’s Brooklyn location, although the St. Louis location benefits from both a larger kitchen space, as well as a hood. Maganzini said the extra space and cooking facilities give the St. Louis location scope to do a few things that can’t be done in his New York location, but he’s confident the recipes that have become favorites among his Brooklyn regulars will be similarly welcomed by the St. Louis crowd.
One of the highlights is the Black Mountain mac and cheese, which is hearty comfort food for these cold, wet days of late March. The mac and cheese is made with cremini and button mushrooms grilled in olive oil and thyme, bechamel sauce, and topped with breadcrumbs and truffle salt, a rich dish served with a sublime garlic bread. The white bean crostini are another veteran from the Brooklyn menu, though the St. Louis version changes things up with a delicious fennel salad. The goat cheese tart is exactly as the name suggests, a slab of goat cheese layered with roasted beets – and it’s gluten-free, thanks to an Idaho potato “crust.” The menu also includes pork meatballs served in a spicy marinara sauce, charcuterie plates, a B.L.A.T. (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) and pressed sandwiches.
Two items not featured on the Brooklyn menu are the T&J Salad and the poutine. The salad is a combination of romaine, radicchio, celery and spiced pistachios, with a Green Goddess dressing. “It’s basically based off what we like to eat as salad,” Baker said. “It’s an homage to our flavor profile,” Maganzini said. The poutine is a tribute to Baker’s Canadian roots, made with cheese curds sourced from Marcoot Jersey Creamery. “The big thing with the curd is that it is able to hold up to the gravy and the heat,” Baker said. “One wants them, in my opinion, to have a bite, but still gooey.”
Most dishes are conducive to sharing around the table or can equally be enjoyed by one (depending on your appetite). “The idea really is simple comfort food,” Baker said. “We’re not using tweezers back there. We want people to feel comfortable.” It's been the job of chef Justin Newsom to bring the menu to life. Newsom’s career has included stints at restaurants like Rose’s Luxury and Beuchert’s Saloon in Washington, D.C., and he said he’s particularly proud of the poutine at Black Mountain Wine House. “That one is solely ours; me and Joe worked to develop that one,” he said. “And the meatballs – Tyler’s family is from northern Italy and mine is from southern Italy, so we get along.” Maganzini said Newsom will take on responsibility for creating specials for Black Mountain Wine House. “We’d like to do some things like cassoulet or braised oxtail, things that pair well with wine,” Maganzini said.
Black Mountain Wine House will be open seven days a week: the kitchen is open from 3 to 11 p.m. Monday to Friday, noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday. The bar is licensed until 2 a.m., but Maganzini and Baker are curious to observe how a typical night shapes up. “Drinking goes until Joe leaves,” Maganzini laughed. “It’s going to be a very cozy neighborhood wine bar, but it’s not going to be rowdy.”
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