Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Neighborly Traditions

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Neighborly Traditions

Article excerpt

Jeff Thompson's voice swells with pride as he talks about Yesterdays, which he describes as the only white-tablecloth restaurant in the Warrenton area. "We think we've filled a real need for folks out here."

Thompson and Ed Pilla opened Yesterdays restaurant in December 1991. They had worked together at the nearby Innsbrook Resort and Confer-ence Center and were next-door neighbors in Warrenton, which is about 60 miles west of downtown St. Louis on Inter-state 70.

"We always talked about opening a restaurant, and when we found out this old furniture store on Main Street was going out of business, we bought the building," Thomp-son said.

Two years later, after asking local residents what kind of restaurant they would patronize, they opened Yes-terdays. In that survey, they learned that residents appreciated history, architecture and wanted a moderately priced, upscale restaurant.

They retained the building's ambience by painting the tin ceiling, refinishing the hardwood floor and furnishing the restaurant with period furniture.

Yesterdays specializes in steak, seafood and pasta. It offers an a la carte Sunday brunch, which features a tempting dessert bar complimentary with any entree. Alone, the dessert bar costs $5.95. Favorites include caramel custard, gooey butter cake, strawberry shortcake, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, fruit, cheese and "whatever else we feel like making that morning," he said.

Thompson, a former executive chef, supervises menu selections and concocts specials for the regular clientele. "There are quite a few people who eat here at lunch and dinner," he said. "We definitely aren't just a special-occasion place."

***** SEAFOOD-STUFFED GRILLED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS

1 large portobello mushroom cap (about 6 ounces)

Seasoned butter (see recipe)

2 tablespoons clarified butter (see note)

1/2 cup chopped leeks

1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms caps, diced

1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic

1 teaspoon pesto (purchased or homemade)

1/4 pound tiny shrimp (70 to 90 per pound), peeled and deveined (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup small bay scallops

1/2 cup imitation crab meat, chopped

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Chopped parsley, for garnish

Whole cooked crayfish, for garnish

Fresh dill sprig, for garnish

Spread portobello cap with seasoned butter. …

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