CoMo restaurant roundup: A whole lotta shakin’ going on

The big news today in the #CoMo restaurant world is Les Bourgeois announcing Josh Smith as their new executive chef (in a jpg file, for some reason). My initial reaction is that this is a very, very good move, both for him and for Les Bourgeois. Josh has proven his charcuterie and pasta chops in his time at Sycamore Restaurant. Look for him to build on that out at Rocheport now. My fingers are crossed for an honest-to-goodness Italian-focused destination.

The challenge facing Josh, as one local chef has told me, is that the Les B gig is one of the toughest in town. Not only do you have to back up your niche as a destination restaurant for the locals night in and night out, you also “have to keep the tour bus crowd happy too.” That would be a tough row to hoe for anyone, but Josh may well be up to it.

No word yet on where departing chef Aaron Wells-Morgan may end up.

Cafe Poland is open as of last week. The menu looks fantastic. Though small, it’s brimming with eastern European classics available nowhere else in town. You might want to get in there quick, however, as the owners told me they basically went broke just opening the place. Not a good position to be in, but if the coffee’s any indicator, it’s going to be good however long it lasts.

Thip Thai has replaced confusing, underwhelming Crazy Noodle at 904 E. Broadway. Based admittedly on just one visit Thip seems like the real deal, with a solid larb appetizer and a potent, balanced green curry. I’m eager to return. (Pronunciation note: Until informed otherwise, assume “Thip” is pronounced with a hard “t.” Thai is funky like that.)

I am told that The Oak Room has been long-delayed by the Tiger Hotel owners’ focus on renovating their hotel rooms first before moving onto the restaurant itself (as well as neighboring businesses objecting to trash-chute-to-dumpster demolition). However, with the finishing touches being put on the bottom floors of the hotel – crews worked top to bottom – they’re ready to hit the future steak-and-seafood spot. Chef Patrick Wilson will slide over from the catering/Vault foodservice and run the kitchen. There are talks of opening late spring or early summer (yes, haha, of this year).


Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

4 thoughts

  1. Les Bourgeois is the toughest gig in town for the sole reason that the management is so volatile. Josh should do well though, his wife Corrina, basically grew up in the Bistro starting out in high school and eventually becoming assistant manager of the restaurant years ago. Josh is going to be great on this big stage!

  2. We were at Cafe Poland for pirogis and bean soup with kielbasa – very good food, and friendly folks. And a fair number of customers, so we can hope they’ll make it.

  3. I tried to go to Cafe Poland but they were closed Friday at 7:00 pm. According to their sign, they are only open M-F, 9-5. Are they going to expand their hours?

  4. Chef Aaron Wells-Morgan is doing some amazing things at Grand Street Cafe in Kansas City. You can check out pictures of his beautiful new food at his Instagram account @crosschefkc

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