Público, the long-awaited, much-anticipated Mexican- and Latin American-inspired gastropub from St. Louis restaurateur Mike Randolph, is slated to open tonight, March 4, in the Delmar Loop.

The official opening date was still in doubt as recently as a few days ago, pending a "laundry list of final health inspections," according to manager Jack Noecker, and a successful invitation-only soft opening. But tonight is now officially the night.

Located near Randolph’s Neapolitan pizzeria The Good Pie, the menu at Público is concentrated on five categories: crudo; platos pequenos, aka small plates; tacos; arepas, or leavened corn cakes; and a la parrilla, or grilled entrées, with many ingredients prepared in the restaurant’s custom-made wood-burning hearth.

Standout small plates range from grilled baby octopus with green olive mojo and country ham to beets three ways (roasted, pickled and raw) with white chocolate mole. Tacos are made with from-scratch corn or flour tortillas, with fillings like marinated pork shoulder, roasted pineapple, guajillo chiles and charred onion salsa, while arepas are topped with ingredients like avocado, queso fresco, avocado salsa and cilantro.

The space, which was previously a hair salon, has been undergoing extensive renovations since July. There are 55 seats total, including a small chef's table in front of the open kitchen in the restaurant's rear. Five booths line the entry wall, alongside a large rectangular bar with seats on three of its sides. The bar's base is lit from within by a lightbox, and a steel canopy swoops overhead. The overall look is cool and modern.

If you can’t slide into one the sleek booths for a long stay, snag a seat at the glossy dark wood bar and order one of Público’s house cocktails – we suggest the Blown a Wish with mezcal, Cointreau, cherry liqueur, vermouth and hibiscus liqueur, or the Night on Fire with El Dorado 12 Year Old rum, Creole shrubb, Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters and cava.

Público, 6679 Delmar Blvd., Delmar Loop, University City, Missouri, publicostl.com

With additional reporting by Sarah Fenske

Editor's note: This post was originally published as a sneak peek on Feb. 26, but it was edited and updated after publication to reflect a revised opening date.


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