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Issue: 1149 Date: 8/30/2012
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Cheshire hotel's restaurants to begin opening in October

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        The recently reborn Cheshire hotel is getting ready to open two new restaurants, a cigar club and a take-out market in its renovated digs at 6300 Clayton Road in Richmond Heights.

        Here's what's coming:

        The Restaurant at The Cheshire. The hotel's flagship restaurant will seat up to 168 people and will focus on wood-roasted meats and seafood along with nostalgic items from the old Cheshire's menu, such as prime rib and rotisserie chicken. Open daily for dinner. Projected opening: Oct. 29.

        Basso. This modern American-Italian restaurant, located in the hotel's lower level, will feature homemade pizzas and pastas. A bar is located in the center of the space, with seating for 174 available throughout. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Projected opening: Late November.

        The Smoking Room. This small, intimate, members-only cigar lounge will have a selection of scotch and wine to pair with stogies. Members will each receive a key to let themselves into the no-sign club. Projected opening: Late December.

        The Market. Coffee, pastries, deli items and wine will be the main elements of this small sit-down and to-go shop located on the east side of The Cheshire. Projected opening: Late December.

        "It's exciting for us to hear from so many people who want to know about what's next for The Cheshire," says Stephen O'Loughlin, president of the hotel's ownership group, Lodging Hospitality Management. "Everybody we've run into has either gotten married there or engaged there or had a rehearsal dinner there. So they're very interested in what's happening. Our manager told me he'll get five calls in a row from people wanting to know when the restaurants are opening."

        O'Loughlin's company bought the Cheshire Inn in December 2010 for $4 million from longtime owners the Apted family. Early reports speculated that LHM might partner with restaurateurs Thom Sehnert (Annie Gunn's) or Vince Bommarito (Tony's) to open an eatery in the hotel. Instead, the management company chose to own and operate the restaurants itself.

        The company spent at least $12 million to build the Restaurant, Basso and Market, according to a February report in the St. Louis Business Journal. The cigar lounge had not been announced at that point.

        The restaurants' menus and designs are a collaboration between Atlanta-based consulting firm Concentrics and St. Louis chef Rex Hale, who leads the kitchen at 360 in the Ballpark Hilton, another LHM property.

        (BY EVAN S. BENN, Post-Dispatch Food Critic. Evan S. Benn is the the Post-Dispatch's food critic and beer columnist. He is the author of the 2011 book "Brew in the Lou: St. Louis' Beer Culture - Past, Present and Future," available here. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.)

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