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Mussels from the West End Grill and Pub

Green Curry mussels, with green curry broth, coconut milk, chile paste, and fresh ginger, served at the West End Grill and Pub, 354 North Boyle, in St. Louis, Thursday, June 20, 2019. Photo by Hillary Levin,

Q • I’d love to have the recipe for the Green Curry Mussels at West End Grill and Pub. They are the best I’ve ever had. I even bring any leftover broth home to enjoy later! — Karen Klaus, St. Louis

A • At West End Grill and Pub, fresh mussels in a tasty green curry sauce rank high on the list of customers’ favorite menu items. “We’ve been open 11 years, and it’s been a fun ride,” owner and manager Neill Costello says. Except for those few months early this year when the popular neighborhood spot closed. A pending sale that would have kept the restaurant open fell through. That’s when customers got into the act.

After the grill closed in January, a group of neighborhood regulars met with owners Neill Costello and William Roth, two of the original four investors, to see if they could help. Thirteen people stepped up with money, others donated their time to help paint and refresh the space, and the restaurant reopened in mid-April.

If this story sounds like a “Hey, kids, let’s put on a show” solution, that’s right in keeping with an unusual facet of this restaurant. There’s an entrance to the Gaslight Theater upstairs through the middle of the main dining room.

As part of the new model, customers compiled a list of favorite menu items from the past. Costello, Roth and chef Logan Maus created the selective, smaller menu from the neighborhood’s suggestions.

The clientele responded, making intentional trips to their favorite neighborhood haunt to enjoy their best-loved dishes, including the mussels.

It’s not business-as-usual at WEGAP, the acronym customers use for the neighborhood spot. “I think WEGAP means ‘We give everyone a plate,’” Maus says. “Our cooking is from scratch. I love it all. My passion has always been Italian — I grew up in Italy near the border with Austria. Beyond our differences, food is something that brings people together. The mussels dish — people often put it in the center of the table and share.”

Sous chef Shawn Wallace, who specialized in Cajun cooking before arriving at WEGAP, agrees. “My dad hosts an annual shrimp boil. People bond over food.”

West End Grill and Pub goes beyond the faves menu at Snacky Hour. “We’re a better kind of happy hour,” Maus says. “We do wings every day, but they’re prepared differently each day — Southern style, Mexican, Asian — we switch it up. We have three specials each day, and good prices on beer and wine. People come in after work for small plates and relax.”

West End Grill and Pub

354 North Boyle Avenue

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