Clayton has a new spot to grab quick-service lunch created by two seasoned fine-dining chefs. Charred Crust debuted in August with a contemporary American menu of sourdough crust pizzas, salads, housemade pastas and sandwiches.
The concept comes from business partners Andrew Simon and James Flemming, who formerly served as the executive chef and executive sous chef at Scape, respectively. The new venture is the St. Louis natives’ first foray into restaurant ownership.
“We’ve never been big lunch guys and have always done dinner service, so we thought about how we could bring the flavor profile of refined dining to a lunch business,” Flemming says.
“Our goal is to be able to deliver that type of product in a casual setting,” Simon adds. “It’s contemporary American cuisine with a modern day twist where the charring comes into play. We both love the creative, artistic side of the industry and push it to the limit.”
Charred Crust fills the space previously occupied by Uptown Cafe. Extensive renovations resulted in a dining area with rustic and industrial touches. Family photos grace one wall while a detailed menu is available above the ordering counter.
The from-scratch menu begins with pizzas on housemade sourdough crust. Topping options include sausage and garlic with house sausage, charred tomato sauce, roasted garlic and fresh mozzarella; pineapple with charred tomato sauce and chipotle BellaVitano; and carbonara with charred béchamel, Parmesan-Reggiano, mushrooms, peas, pork belly and a sunny egg. A whole wheat dough is available on Wednesdays.
For something lighter, choose from salads such as a roasted chicken option with arugula, spinach, chicken, chipotle BellaVitano, cranberries, sunflower seeds and charred Parmesan vinaigrette. Housemade pastas include gnocchi with pickled red onion, spinach, Parmesan-Reggiano, black garlic cream and charred almond.
Sandwiches come on housemade breads such as garlic-Parmesan focaccia. A popular pick is a three-meat option with hot coppa, turkey, ham, Parmesan-Reggiano, charred giardiniera, romaine and smoked dijonnaise. Local ingredients are sourced for recipes when possible, from vendors such as Tony Family Farms and Ozark Mushrooms.
Side options include charred veggies, house fries, salt and vinegar root chips and fresh pineapple. To drink, choose from Pepsi products, Mississippi Mud Coffee and a selection of wine and beer.
“We want to give lunch crowds something they hopefully haven’t seen before when they think of lunch,” Flemming says. “We have a huge passion for this business and we hope that’s enough to entice people to come here and give it a shot.”
Charred Crust is open Monday through Friday from 11am to 4pm.
Charred Crust, 105 S. Meramec, Clayton, Missouri, 314.721.0393, charredcruststl.com