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Q • Could you ask Juniper if they would share their hot pimento cheese dip recipe? It’s evil-good. — Jane Henderson

A • Pimento cheese, that Southern staple of school lunch boxes, church potlucks, family reunions and holiday celebrations got a stunning makeover at Juniper. Their take on the classic combination of cheeses, mayo and pimentos comes to the table hot, creamy and ready to slather on warm flatbread and share with friends.

In the hands of the culinary team at Juniper, this ultimate comfort food transforms the classic spread from bland to bold, served hot, not cold, and therein lies the genius of this modern Southern kitchen and bar. Tweaks of ingredients, preparation and presentation add to the enjoyment of many Southern classics at Juniper.

The dip comes to the table in an appealing presentation. It’s served on a board, bubbling in a double-handled cast iron server, surrounded with a seasonal assortment of house-made pickles, and a soft grilled flatbread.

There’s rich flavor undertone from the roasted peppers and smoked paprika and a touch of heat from the Crystal Hot Sauce. An unexpected shot of pickle juice, from house-fermented pickles, balances out the richness in the melted cheddar cheeses.

“The classic pimento cheese is often served cold, but served warm? It’s more comforting,” owner John Perkins says.

Executive Chef Glenister Wells agrees. “We do the classics but with our own spin,” Wells says. “We’re known for our fried chicken,” Wells says, “and we serve our version of chicken and waffles at brunch, using hoecakes instead of waffles. It’s served with hot (as in heat) honey and warm maple syrup.”

Their fried chicken is legendary. Juniper brines it for 24 hours, then soaks the pieces in buttermilk with a dash of hot sauce before they get dredged, fried and topped with Maldon sea salt flakes.

In summer and early fall, the Juniper kitchen is awash in vegetables and fruits from local farmers. “It’s easy to be a chef this time of year,” Wells says. “The true Southern kitchen is driven by the garden. The veggie side of our menu is much more extensive in summer. We’re in tomato and corn season now. We’ve got a vegan creamed corn on the menu now — no cream, no butter, just the corn off the cob, the corn milk and a little olive oil — it’s delicious.

“Melons and peaches are great now. For me, a slice of cold watermelon is the perfect dessert,” he says.

At Juniper, the food isn’t the only thing that’s Southern. “The most important thing is to offer our customers the true hospitality you would expect to experience when you traveled south.”


Juniper

4101 Laclede Avenue

314-329-7696; junipereats.com

To request a recipe • Would you like to request a recipe from a restaurant that is still open in the St. Louis area? Send your request along with your full name and the city you live in to reciperequest@post-dispatch.com.


See recipes from the top restaurants in St. Louis

To request recipe • Would you like to request a recipe from a restaurant that is still open in the St. Louis area? Send your request along with your full name and the city you live in to reciperequest@post-dispatch.com.