Slay’s on Zaytoon


Another Slay opens shop downtown

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

With a father that was a state representative and a grandfather who was an alderman, it’s easy to assume that Mayor Francis Slay’s family business is politics.

It’s not.

Before Francis moved into Room 200, the Slays were far better known for their accomplishments in the kitchen than in elected office.

Slay cousins David and Lisa are both chefs – the latter who wears the toque at Remy’s in Clayton, the former whose restaurant empire spread to Los Angeles.

Slay brothers Michael and Raymond are also both experienced in the hospitality business.

The newest addition to the Slay culinary legacy comes from another mayoral cousin, Dennis, who, along with wife Nancy, earlier this year opened up Zaytoon, a Lebanese lunch stand that caters to downtown’s office dwellers. (The name means “olive” in Arabic; fittingly, it’s located at the intersection of 7th and Olive Streets.)

Zaytoon, which replaces a Mexican restaurant that had been at the location previously, offers traditional Middle Eastern fare with a twist. The menu includes Mediterranean staples such as shawarma and falafel, along with crossover items such as a “Bavarian ham” sandwich and the “Zaytoon Poor Boy” wrap.

Enjoying the cuisine on Monday was none other than mayoral pop and 23rd Ward Committeeman Francis R. Slay, who, of course, has run the banquet hall at St. Raymond’s Church for many years.

The new eatery is just a few blocks from City Hall, making it easy for the mayor not only to support family, but also downtown, which has been a priority of the Slay administration.

But don’t reserve a table for hizzoner just yet – the famously health conscious mayor is known to favor protein shakes and apples over hummus and fried chickpeas.

It’s very hard for me to leave work for lunch…but if I could I’d go to here.  Has anyone been??

Balaban’s will open for ONE more night


From Deb Peterson’s column:

OF LATE NIGHTS AND CIGARETTES: There’s good news for those who get misty-eyed when the name Cafe Balaban surfaces — plans have been firmed up to revisit the site of so much revelry and glory in the ’70s and ’80s. When Balaban’s closed in January, many of those who spent a wasted night or three at the CWE bar and eatery didn’t get to say au revoir. Now, thanks to a crew who may have epitomized those days — Pete and Donna Rothschild, Kim and Sharon Tucci, Paul Zemitzsch, Lou Hamilton and Alderman Lyda Krewson — Balaban’s will be open June 27 for one night only. Original staff, bartenders and music will set the mood. Proceeds from the evening will go to Mayor Francis Slay‘s re-election effort. Among those on the guest list: Karen Devine, David Guempel, Sean Gallagher, David Moore, John Sullivan, Lee Redel, Madt Mallinckrodt, Steve McIntyre and Bryan Young.

It’s amazing what you can do when you have lots of cash.