Loaded Elevated Nachos is now open at 1450 Beale Street in St. Charles. Loaded is a new concept from Brad Merten and Brandon Holzhueter, the team behind the frozen-cocktail bar Narwhal’s Crafted, and the restaurant is next to Narwhal’s location in the Streets of St. Charles development.
Merten tells Off the Menu the idea of focusing on nachos came up in Narwhal’s early days and stuck with him and Holzhueter.
“People obviously know nachos,” Merten says. “They're super popular — it’s like they have name-brand recognition — but we felt like they weren't being fully utilized.”
Specifically, Merten and Holzhueter saw an opening in the market for a concept that brought together a “chef-driven” approach to nachos and an efficient quick-service format.
You can turn any dish into nachos, Merten says, and be “really creative” with how you deliver it. As an example, he points to Loaded’s Jamaican Jerk nachos: tortilla chips and plantain chips (both jerk-seasoned) with jerk chicken, black beans, rice, a compressed-pineapple salsa, cheddar-jack cheese and a jerk crema.
Other nacho variations on Loaded's menu include Toasted Ravioli (breaded pasta chips, pork ragu, herb-whipped ricotta), Bar-B-Que Pork (potato chips, pulled pork, barbecue sauce, chipotle-cheddar cheese) and Banh Mi (wonton and tortilla chips, chile-ginger pork, a sambal-agave sauce, Sriracha aioli, and pickled carrot and daikon).
Nachos with tortilla chips, seasoned ground beef and chipotle-cheddar cheese sauce (called the Ol' Standby) are also available.
Daniel Sammons is Loaded’s executive chef. Sammons, who most recently cooked at Polite Society, joined the team in December, when Merten says the restaurant’s menu was about 90% set.
Sammons has helped turn Loaded’s menu from a concept into an operation that can be executed consistently every day, Merten says, and the team is banking on Sammons’ “creative vision” for the restaurant’s future growth.
“The menu we have today is not going to be the menu we have three months from now,” Merten says. “So it's going to be something that we continue to evolve and (we will) always be switching up.”
Merten says he and Holzheuter are already working on a second Loaded location, combined with another Narwhal’s Crafted, near downtown.
Loaded Elevated Nachos is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday and closed Monday. The phone number is 636-202-0841.