After five years at Pastaria, chef de cuisine Evy Swoboda is leaving to helm a kitchen of her own.
The as-yet-unnamed restaurant will be located inside forthcoming boutique hotel, The Last Hotel, slated to open next year at 1501 Washington Ave. in Downtown St. Louis. Swodoba’s new position stemmed from an existing business relationship with developer Tim Dixon, notable for his work at The Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“I’ve been his culinary ambassador for the past two and a half years," Swoboda says. "Since [Dixon] bought the [former] shoe factory [building], I’ve been showing him around St. Louis to see the city’s culture, along with the architecture and design teams [for the hotel]. He hired me as the chef for the restaurant and I’m helping to build the kitchen."
The hotel will be located in the historic, 10-story International Shoe Co. building, first constructed in 1909 and designed by architect Theodore C. Link, who also designed Union Station. In addition to the restaurant, the 143-room hotel will include a large banquet hall and rooftop pool with a bar and grill.
Swoboda says the restaurant will be a celebration of the history of Downtown St. Louis. “We want it to be a total St. Louis experience," she says. "When you walk in, every detail will have something to do with the history of the [former] shoe factory and the city.”
Still in the early planning stages of the restaurant concept and menu, Swoboda says she's excited to partner with Urban Harvest STL'S Food Roof farm in Downtown St. Louis to source fresh and seasonal fare for the menu. “There’s a seven-story walkway that connects the urban garden to the City Museum, which they will turn into a greenhouse,” she says. "We’ll incorporate a lot of herbs and edible flowers [from the Food Roof]. We don’t have a menu set yet, but everything will be farm-to-table and local."
Swodoba's tenure at Pastaria will also be reflected in the menu, although she's quick to say that the restaurant won't be focused exclusively on Italian fare.
“People keep asking me if I’m going to do Italian food," she says with a laugh. "There will definitely be handmade pasta on the menu, and a pizza oven – I’m obsessed with Italian food – but the menu won’t be strictly Italian. Everything will be inspired from seasonal local ingredients.”
Swoboda says The Last is targeting a March 2019 grand opening. More as we learn it.
The Last Hotel, 1501 Washington Ave., Downtown, St. Louis, Missouri