photo courtesy of Ben Poremba
Earlier this month restaurateur Ben Poremba released a bombshell announcement that has the culinary community abuzz. In case you missed it, Poremba plans to move three of his renowned restaurants—Olio, Elaia, and Nixta—from Botanical Heights to the burgeoning Delmar Maker District, located between Kingshighway and Union.
It’s hard to ignore the reality that one neighborhood’s good fortune is another’s loss, especially in a city the size of St. Louis. The closure of these popular establishments in Botanical Heights, especially by the visionary who is credited for a major role the neighborhood’s renaissance, must be devastating.
Poremba states that his inability to purchase the properties that house Olio and Elaia sparked the move. More details can be found in the press release at the end of this post.
Though the closures of the three restaurants in Botanical Heights are scheduled for the end the year, the exact location for Olio and Elaia on Delmar is still under wraps. Doug Auer, co-developer of Delmar Maker District and co-founder of Third Degree Glass Factory confirmed that Nixta, featuring Mexican cuisine, will join several other businesses in Maker’s Locale (seen under construction above, earlier post here), which is located just west of Third Degree Glass Factory and east of Union. Maker’s Locale is slated to open sometime this Fall.
Not mentioned in the press release is that Poremba already has a presence on Delmar, having opened Deli Devine in Delmar DevINe, Build-a-Bear Maxine Clark’s transformative renovation of the old St. Luke’s Hospital, which debuted in May. (The September issue of CWEA Griffin will feature Bob Duffy’s interview with Maxine Clark about her project on Delmar.)
The entry to the Deli Devine, above, is on the east side of the building at Delmar and Belt Ave. There is a small parking lot adjacent to the entry.
The menu features Classic Deli Sandwiches, soups, salads, kugels and knishes, Reubens (corned beef, pastrami, turkey, salmon, veggie), and special Deli Devine Sandwiches, including Frieda Premba and Herta Peltzman (shaved beets, cole slaw, sliced tomato, garlic pickle, Swiss cheese), $14.75. There is, of course, a large selection of Open-Faced Bagel and Devine Bagel Sandwiches.
The Deli also includes a wonderfully-stocked Market, similar to Poremba’s AO&Co. Market and Cafe in Botanical Heights. Both AO&Co. and La Patisserie Chouquette, another Poremba endeavor, will remain in Botanical Heights.
There are ready-to-go meals—Baked Shells, Ben’s Mom’s Vegan Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, etc.—in multiple refrigerator cases and a freezer section, as well as a large selection of breads; plain, onion & dill schmears; soups and desserts.
It’s encouraging that so many businesses are moving to the Delmar Maker District, and that those looking for a taste of New York-style Jewish deli fare can visit Poremba’s Deli Devine several blocks west.
Deli Devine, 5501 Delmar Blvd at Belt, (314) 987-DELI, Hours: Deli, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Market, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Saturday.
Poremba’s press release on his decision to move Olio, Elaia, and Nixta follows: