Ben McArthur and Chloe Yates certainly have their hands full these days.

Fresh off their work developing an evening menu for Brennan's Work & Leisure in Midtown, the two chefs have launched a new pop-up series and, to boot, purchased the Frankly Sausages food truck.

Their pop-up series, Magnolia, will host monthly Southern-inspired dinners at OSP Tap Haus in Oakville, Missouri, where Yates (also known as "The Pin-Up Chef") formerly worked as chef and kitchen manager. McArthur, meanwhile, formerly worked at J McArthur's an American Kitchen and Taco Buddha. Yates says the pair hope to use the pop-up series as a testing ground for an eventual brick-and-mortar restaurant.

"Southern food is what I do," she says. "Ben lived in North Carolina for several years and also fell in love with Southern food, so we thought it would be awesome to do a mix of what we both do."

To that end, the first Magnolia dinner on Mon., June 10 featured Southern-inspired starters including cornmeal-dusted fried green tomatoes served with comeback sauce, pimento cheese croquettes rolled in bacon dust and served with pickled green tomato jam and Yates' award-winning pimento mac 'n' cheese made with local Hot Charlie's Hot Sauce. "Some people had met me when I won a mac 'n' cheese cook-off at Alpha Brewing Co. and specifically requested the mac 'n' cheese be on the menu at the pop up," Yates says.

Larger plates included ham and cheese on a housemade biscuit, a smash burger with bourbon-bacon jam and a hot fried chicken taco with Alabama white sauce. The night's blue plate special was fried catfish served with hush puppies, pickled ramp tartar sauce and a choice of side. Rounding out the menu were a few desserts including strawberry shortcake, peach cobbler and banana pudding.

Each pop-up dinner will also feature beer pairings from local breweries; the first event, for instance, spotlighted 4204 Main Street Brewing Co. and Civil Life Brewing Co. "I think that’s what this industry is about: supporting one another and watching each other grow because there’s plenty of room in St. Louis for all of us," Yates says. "Getting to do things together is so exciting because you get to do things you wouldn’t normally do on a day-to-day basis."

While Yates and McArthur were planning the first Magnolia pop up, they stumbled upon the news that the owners of Frankly Sausages were selling the popular food truck. They made the call and, the next thing they knew, had purchased the truck. "This has all happened pretty quickly," Yates says with a laugh. "But I admire Ben’s talent and his food tremendously; he’s an exceptional person to work with." Yates says the pair plans to keep the truck's same beloved menu of handmade sausages and hand-cut fries while also adding new dishes, such as a chicken sandwich and burger, to the mix. Frankly Sausages' schedule will be posted soon on the food truck's social media accounts and website as well as on @thepinupchefstl social media. 

"[We] couldn't be more excited to have Chloe and Ben carry on the Frankly name," former Frankly owners Jamie and Bill Cawthon said in a statement. "We have the absolute best fans, and have poured our hearts into this truck and brand for the past three years. We're absolutely thrilled to tell you we've left it in the very best hands possible. We cannot wait to see how the brand will evolve, expand and flourish under their talents." 

As for Magnolia, the next pop-up dinner is set for Mon., July 22 at OSP Tap Haus at 4pm, with the kitchen opening at 5pm.

OSP Tap Haus, 6346 Telegraph Road, 314.293.9642, Oakville, Missouri, osptaphaus.com

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