Juniper Matt Daughaday

Matt Daughaday is the new chef at Juniper in the Central West End. 

The famous bacon fat cornbread is back.

Matt Daughaday of the acclaimed Reeds American Table, which closed its doors in Maplewood, Missouri, this past summer, has taken the reins at Juniper in the Central West End. 

Owner John Perkins says former Juniper chef Glenister Wells moved to Chicago this past spring and around that time, Perkins reached out to Daughaday about joining the team at Juniper. 

"It seemed like it was a good fit, and opportunity was there. He decided to take it, so [we're] pretty excited about that," he says. 

Daughaday has already introduced a few specials to the Southern-inflected menu, including his famous bacon fat-fried cornbread, here topped with chicken liver mousse, maple-sorghum molasses syrup and thyme; Daughaday says that some other favorites from his past menus, like his brown butter Hollandaise sauce, may also make appearances at the restaurant in the future, but he is particularly excited to use Juniper's wood-fired grill. At the first restaurant he ever worked at in California, he learned to play with wood-fired flavors, and he's looking forward to using those flavors again at Juniper. 

Perkins says that over the next few weeks, Daughaday will be revamping Juniper's brunch and lunch menus. The restaurant's winter menu will also debut soon, which Daughaday will have a large part in creating, but Daughaday himself says that the spring menu is where he will really take the reins. 

His first official menu, the restaurant's prix fixe Valentine's Day menu, will feature she-crab soup, cheerwine sorbet and a choice of a New York strip, skate wing or vegetarian pot pie for dinner, all with a brownie sundae for dessert. Perkins says the menu is a sneak peak of what Daughaday is "bringing to the table."

"We're all really excited to get this going," Perkins says. 

Daughaday says the team has been super welcoming, and that he's excited to work with the young, energetic cooks at Juniper. 

"The fact that they already have a good core team to work with is awesome," he says. 

Editor's Note: This post has been updated to include the correct menu for Juniper's Valentine's Day dinner and comments from Matt Daughaday. 

Juniper, 4101 Laclede Ave., Central West End, St. Louis, Missouri,