A new boutique hotel recently debuted downtown, complete with a full-service restaurant serving all day parts. The Last Kitchen at The Last Hotel held a soft opening on June 28, under the direction of chef Evy Swoboda. The concept’s name is a reference to the building’s past life as the iconic International Shoe Co. building – a “last” is the wood mold cobblers used to make shoes.
As reported by Feast last year, Swoboda previously served as the chef de cuisine of Pastaria for five years and partnered with The Last Hotel’s developer and co-owner, Tim Dixon, after serving as his culinary ambassador in St. Louis. In addition to The Last Kitchen, which will host a grand opening on July 26, The Last Hotel will also roll out a rooftop bar and lounge as well as The Pantry, a store stocked with local and housemade goods.
“We’re striving to make this a total St. Louis experience for locals and also travelers, so they can come to one place and really feel what the community is like,” Swoboda says. “We want this experience to be more of a restaurant with a rooftop and rooms than a hotel with a restaurant.”
ESG Architecture based out of Minneapolis developed the design to coincide with the historical building’s neoclassical and Art Deco-style details, resulting in what Dixon describes as “a contemporary space with approachability and function” to go along with the “casual high touch” food and beverage concepts. To develop The Last Kitchen’s menu, Swoboda drew inspiration from a tour of five cities along the Mississippi River.
“We spent a lot of time researching what a total St. Louis experience would be since we’re a giant melting pot in the Midwest that’s an intersection of so many different influences,” says Swoboda, who staged in kitchens from Minneapolis to New Orleans. “I’m telling the story of the Mississippi River, taking nods from the North and South and putting a St. Louis twist to them.”
The from-scratch kitchen features a seasonally influenced menu and an in-house butcher to fully make use of all of its thoughtfully sourced ingredients. For her hand-rolled pastas, Swoboda utilizes heritage wheat milled by Double Star Farms. Her garlic noodles consist of tagliatelle pasta with olive oil, fermented black garlic, chile flakes and Parmesan.
Another highlight from the menu is boudin toasted ravioli with wild boar and rice sausage, served with comeback remoulade. The bar menu’s best-selling item so far is its BuffaLOU Chicken Cracklin Nachos with gorgonzola, celery, crème fraîche and The Last Pantry BuffaLOU hot sauce.
For breakfast, offerings include bacon cut to order to your desired thickness and signature dishes such as ricotta pancakes with candied walnuts, honey butter, StilL 630 bourbon-infused maple syrup and your choice of blueberries or dark chocolate chips.
From the beverage list, choose from draft and bottled beer, wine by the glass or bottle, and pre-Prohibition inspired cocktails such as the Ladie’s Companion with exclusive StilL 630 Two-Step Gin, hot sauce, tomato juice, lemon and Worcestershire sauce, garnished with a salt and pepper rim and celery.
The Last Kitchen is open daily from 6:30am to midnight. A late-night happy hour is available from 11pm to midnight, and the bar is open until 2am Friday and Saturday.
The Last Kitchen at The Last Hotel, 1501 Washington Ave., Downtown, St. Louis, Missouri, thelasthotelstl.com