Gringo taco restaurant eyes spring opening in Central West End

2012-10-15T06:00:00Z 2012-10-24T17:09:29Z Gringo taco restaurant eyes spring opening in Central West EndBY EVAN S. BENN Post-Dispatch Food Critic ebenn@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8348 stltoday.com

The owners of Pi Pizzeria are working on a new restaurant for St. Louis, but it won't have pizza on the menu.

Chris Sommers and Frank Uible say their latest concept, Gringo, will focus on tacos. They plan to open Gringo in the spring at 398 North Euclid Avenue in the Central West End, across the street from one of their five St. Louis-area Pi locations.

Gringo's future home is the current space of Rothschild's Antiques, which real estate developer Pete Rothschild has operated at Euclid and McPherson avenues since 1969. Rothschild is not exiting the antiques business; Sommers says an announcement is coming soon about Rothschild's Antique's next phase.

Expect a "Baja-surfer-hippie vibe" for the decor, Uible says, and a menu centered around tacos at about $4 a pop. Gringo's tacos will be more substantial than traditional street tacos, with meats being cooked sous-vide — a low-and-slow cooking technique that Sommers says will keep proteins consistently tender.  

Pi corporate chef Steven Caravelli is creating the menu, while general manager Coby Arzola (formerly of Chuy's and Agave) and district manager Dan Shashack (formerly of Acenar in San Antonio, Texas) are adding their takes on Mexican food, beer and cocktails.

Gringo will have seating for about 100 people in its 3,000-square-foot space, with plans to include a first-floor ping-pong lounge.

"We have coveted this space since our original site selection for Pi," Sommers says. "While it's never housed a restaurant, we feel it's the best restaurant space in St. Louis. Our buildout will accentuate the bones of the building and celebrate the massive windows. We are thrilled that our favorite corner in St. Louis will house the next chapter for our restaurant group."

Gringo will be posting updates on Facebook, Twitter and at gringo-stl.com.

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.

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