Lovers of the arts have a new place to enjoy a glass of wine while throwing the local creative community a dime. The Dark Room, which now operates under the umbrella of the non-profit Kranzberg Arts Foundation, moved just around the corner from its former home into the renovated historic Grandel Theatre, opening on Feb. 22. The overhaul features expanded hours and revised menus including the addition of lunch and brunch.
While maintaining its established identity as a refined experience for both winos and photography fans alike, the concept seeks to pique the interest of neighborhood passerby with embellished offerings that accompany in-house programming. Enjoy exhibits and live entertainment alongside elegantly prepared eats and a large selection of drinks – all in a sleek setting of juxtaposing wood and steel textures dreamt up by SPACE Architecture + Design.
As reported by Feast in December, this is the first phase of the Grandel’s renovation, filling its lobby and common areas with the Dark Room concept. An outdoor patio and the Grandel’s central stage make up the next phase of the project.
According to executive director Chris Hansen, the new space allows 30 percent more seating than The Dark Room’s previous incarnation. The Dark Room originally debuted in 2014, closing on Jan. 28 to make the move. It now serves as the first full-service bar and restaurant inside a Kranzberg Arts Foundation venue.
“Relocating The Dark Room around the corner enables us to provide better patron amenities,” says Denise Mueller, who serves as the director of hospitality for the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. “We worked a lot on the infrastructure to provide an enhanced experience to our patrons. If you come here to have a glass of wine, you’re giving money directly back to an arts organization.”
In the kitchen, chef Samantha Pretto heads up the revised food menus, embellishing the previously established Mediterranean-inspired, wine-friendly offerings. Previous favorites such as meatballs and a weekly gnocchi program remain with plenty of new additions.
“I really felt the menu needed to fit the space. It’s beautiful in here. Beautiful food, beautiful mood – that’s one of the mottos I live by,” Pretto says. “I also tend to cater more to people with food allergies, so I introduced a few new bowls including vegan and vegetarian options.”
Lunch, available Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 4pm, includes a pick-two option featuring sandwiches, soups and salads. Choose from Italian beef, artisan grilled cheese, Italian wedding soup and more. Flatbreads are also available separately, such as one topped with spicy braised chicken, hot sauce, garlic, marinated onion, Parmesan, hot sauce and herbed creme fraiche.
Dinner options supplement that list with small plates, shared plates and entrees such as shrimp and grits and a chimichurri-beef bowl with beef confit over basmati rice with herbs, sweet peppers, roasted broccoli and chimichurri. Brunch is available from 10am to 3pm every Sunday, with items such as a smoked salmon Benedict and prosciutto flatbread.
At the bar, the beer program grew to include international offerings. Overall, the beverage list features more variety including specialty cocktails and 100 different wines.
The Dark Room’s current hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 1am as well as Sunday from 10am to 8pm. A grand opening event will take place on March 18.
The Dark Room, 3610 Grandel Square, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.776.9550, thedarkroomstl.com