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Chicken Scratch and Sureste – two new concepts – are now open at St. Louis' City Foundry food hall
ST. LOUIS

Chicken Scratch and Sureste – two new concepts – are now open at St. Louis' City Foundry food hall

Two brand-new concepts are now calling the City Foundry food hall home. 

Chicken Scratch and Sureste both debuted inside the St. Louis food hall on Oct. 20, bringing the total of concepts at the foundry to 12. And for each of the chefs, it is their first time with a concept that is all their own. 

Chicken Scratch, from Niche Food Group alum Nate Hereford, focuses on rotisserie-style chicken served either on its own or on a sandwich.

"You're seeing in a lot of different major markets across America rotisserie-driven restaurants, and a lot of them go around chicken because that's where a lot of people are comfortable," Hereford says. "It's kind of cool just to try it out and start it out and start it up because people don't really know what they're missing."

If you want the full experience, enjoy a quarter, half or whole bird with pickles, lemon and your choice of side (seasonal vegetables, kale with Parmesan vinaigrette, jojo potatoes, macaroni salad or chips). Hereford says that each chicken is cured overnight with salt and sugar and rubbed with a blend of poultry-friendly herbs and seasonings before being cooked in the concept's rotisserie oven, where the birds get basted throughout the cooking process.

"It's pretty easy, but it takes time," he says. 

As for sandwiches, Chicken Scratch offers a crispy chicken sandwich made with fried chicken breast, dill pickles and shredded cabbage, but the other sandwiches showcase the rotisserie oven. The chicken salad sandwich is a great way to prevent food waste from spare chickens, and the chicken dip sandwich is Hereford's poultry spin on a French dip – pulled chicken warmed in jus served with marinated kale, Provolone, horseradish mustard and some "liquid gold" for dipping. 

The sauces are also worth exploring. Choose from the house "scratch" sauce (herbed buttermilk dressing), a housemade hot sauce or a horseradish mustard to dip chicken, potatoes or whatever else your heart desires. 

Across the hall, you'll find chef Alex Henry, best known for his executive chef stints at Nixta and Cleveland-Heath, behind the counter of his new concept, Sureste. Centered on southeastern Mexican cuisine – specifically, food from the Yucatán Peninsula – Sureste will specialize in tamales, ceviches and more, using ingredients that are as local as possible.  

"For the most part, trying to make Yucateco food with Midwestern ingredients is kind of what we're going for, and as a very farm-to-table thing," Henry says. "There's also some cool techniques in the cooking down there that I think would be interesting to share with the St. Louis community." 

Ceviches will constantly rotate at Sureste, along with a daily agua fresca – both horchata de coco and agua de jamaica will also always be available. Four tacos are on the menu; the cohinita pibil, for example, is stuffed with achiote- and citrus-roasted pork, citrus-macerated onion and ground habanero, and the toksel features toasted lima bean, pepitas and chive. You can also get the chilmole (turkey stewed in a burnt chile mole with hard boiled egg and pork meatball) in a taco or as a full entrée. 

"As we work our way through the pigs and the turkeys that we're getting in, different parts have different uses, so that part of the menu should change," Henry says. "So, there will be some staples, but a lot of the menu will be on a rotating basis." 

Sureste also offers three dips – a guacamole, a frijol colado (black bean, epazote, onion, lard) and sikil pak (pepitas, tomato, cilantro) – all served with tostadas. And the cafe de olla – a Mexican-spiced coffee – will be sure to get you going in the morning. 

Sureste is open for breakfast and lunch at City Foundry, and Chicken Scratch is open for lunch and dinner. 

City Foundry STL, 3700 Forest Park Ave., Midtown, St. Louis, Missouri, cityfoundrystl.com

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Assistant Editor

Kasey Carlson is the assistant editor of Feast Magazine. She loves to cook, is obsessed with plants and is on a quest to try every bao she can find.

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