By Sarah Fenske on Tue, Sep 26, 2023 |
One week ago, Eclipse (6177 Delmar Boulevard) was closed for business during peak dinner hours — a surprising thing for a hotel restaurant.
But general manager Jake Westcott says it wasn’t a sign of trouble ahead; instead, he says, the restaurant inside the Moonrise Hotel is coming out of a period of transition and into a new era.
Westcott says the hotel recently parted ways with chef Donald “DC” Cross, who was brought in to reopen the Delmar Loop mainstay in 2021. Cross’ menu was originally “American with a Caribbean twist,” he says, but over time, Cross began leaning more into Caribbean flavors, which wasn’t necessarily what hotel guests wanted.
“It does appeal more to a foodie than someone looking to go to a hotel restaurant,” Westcott says. When management pushed for a different direction, he says, it became clear that the parties would need to part ways.
Last week, the restaurant’s new chef arrived in St. Louis. Heather Robertson is a graduate of the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and a restaurant veteran.
“Over the course of my career I have worked in many different establishments from resort lifestyle restaurants to stand alone restaurants across the U.S.,” she explains by email. “With hard work, dedication, and my fair share of blood, sweat, and tears I was able to spend my career fighting my way up from a prep cook to executive chef. Taking my love for classic dishes, all that I’ve learned while working, and my drive to create my own twists to all that I have to offer, I am excited to embark on my next journey at the Moonrise Hotel.”
Robertson’s menu is now up and running, and it has all the new American classics that hotel guests might anticipate, from calamari and buffalo wings as appetizers to a New York strip or ribeye as an entree, along with a catch of the day, a burger, a vegetarian risotto and a bourbon-glazed salmon. “It’s American dishes with different twists,” Westcott says.
The hotel lost a few line cooks with Cross’ departure — that’s why the kitchen had to unceremoniously close last week, Westcott says — and hours remain reduced. While there’s daily breakfast service, the kitchen is currently closed after 11 a.m. on Sunday and Monday, and there’s no food service at all for the rooftop bar.
However, Westcott says the kitchen hopes to get to daily dinner service from 5 to 10 p.m. by mid-October, as well as weekend brunch until 2 p.m. It also plans to offer food service every day at the rooftop bar from 5 p.m. to midnight — and extend bar service on the rooftop from the current close at midnight until 1:30 a.m.
Westcott is hoping people will come give the new Eclipse a look.
“The food is a lot different from what it was, and we’re going to focus on improving service,” he says.