Downtown St. Louis has a new destination for Southern-inspired seafood and comfort food. Kitchen 4AM debuted on Oct. 25, cooking up a dinner menu full of “fine casual” offerings and Sunday brunch.

The concept comes from executive chef and owner Jason Jackson, an Atlanta-born, Chicago-raised graduate of the Institute of Culinary Arts In Illinois at Robert Morris University. Jackson moved to the St. Louis area in 2016 and served as an operating partner of a Firehouse Subs franchise in St. Charles, Missouri, before stepping back to start his own catering company, Kitchen 4AM Xquisite Eatz & Catering, in 2018.

“A lot of our preparation like our marinades, sous vide and brining processes all start at 4 a.m.,” says Jackson, explaining the origin of the brand’s name. After starting an Instagram account for his company, he quickly gained an enthusiastic following and continued to do corporate catering, parties and in-home private dining services.

With his new restaurant, Jackson hopes to offer a venue for his followers to enjoy his gourmet cooking. Kitchen 4AM fills the space previously occupied by chef Bernie Lee’s Hiro Asian Kitchen, with seats for around 78 guests. Jackson credits Lee for helping him get him into the space, which coincided Lee’s move to Clayton where he opened his new restaurant, Akar.

According to Jackson, the turnkey space didn’t require much to get up and running and even maintains some of Lee’s former decor. However, some personal touches were added to the interior, including a green photo wall for the entrance lobby, some newly painted accent walls and floors, reupholstery for the booths and Nipsey Hussle art for the dining area.

The dinner menu begins with small bites including Cajun Thai duck wings and crab fries with seasoned fries, Cajun queso, Old Bay and crab. Salad options include a fall salad with an apple medley, candied pecans, dried cranberry and feta on a bed of mixed greens.

Entrees include best-sellers such as Jerk lamb chops with marinated French lamb chops, garlic mashed potatoes and charred broccolini. Another popular pick is the 4AM pasta with onions, peppers, spinach, garlic, linguine, regular or Cajun alfredo and your choice of chicken, shrimp, salmon or “Ocean’s Delight” — a lobster tail and sautéed shrimp.

“We like to think that we provide a different style of food that’s hard to find in St. Louis,” Jackson says. “It’s exquisite Cajun comfort food in a very family-oriented place.”

Another highlight from the menu is the honey whiskey chicken with corn and garlic mashed potatoes; the sauce was Jackson’s late father’s barbecue sauce recipe. Jackson will soon roll out an entree in his honor: the AO ribeye.

A liquor license for the business is pending. Once obtained, Jackson intends to offer specialty craft cocktails, a lengthy wine list and draft beer. Brunch is now available on Sundays, featuring specialties including shrimp and grits as well as chicken and waffles.

“This is a place where people from all backgrounds can feel welcome. You can get great food and just be in a very social but calming environment,” Jackson says.

Kitchen 4AM is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kitchen 4AM, 1405 Washington Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, 314.300.8422, kitchen4am.com

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