Article By Julia M. Johnson
St. Louis-area meeting professionals have long relied on the Chase Park Plaza Hotel to host events of memorable elegance. Now, there’s a new option at the iconic midtown property: The Preston, a ground-floor restaurant offering private gathering space, a bar, and an inviting main dining room. It’s named for Preston Bradshaw, founder of the Chase, and has become known as a refreshing and rejuvenating alternative on the small-group meeting and event space scene.
Formerly known as Eau Bistro, the restaurant space reopened in February 2016 and already has made a name for its tempting, shareable small-plate offerings, desserts and other dishes. The Preston focuses on breakfast, brunch and dinner, and strives to be the difference between simply taking in a meal and dining on a full sensory experience.
One with the space
It’s easy to feel part of the action when you’re eating and meeting at The Preston, which can hold a total of about 120 people. The restaurant is set up with the kitchen in view, so your guests’ eyes and noses can experience more of the culinary process before their taste buds take part. “The kitchen itself is entertainment built in,” says Lea Luchetti, the Chase’s director of branding and assets.
If your group requires a bit of comfortable seclusion, The Preston offers its Wine Room, a private dining space on the north side of the restaurant. It’s available to parties of six or more, and can hold up to 40. About 28 can be seated at a long table in the midst of the room.
Company parties, networking events, holiday gatherings, and business dinners and presentations work well in this space. The restaurant can put together special beverage packages for groups, and there are customizable prix fixe and a la carte menu options as well.
A menu of choice
Chef de cuisine Collin Smelser has worked with Chase executive chef Kyle Lipetzky to develop innovative dishes for The Preston, and pastry chef David Laufer has been busy crafting desserts and breads your guests will want to experience.
The dinner menu includes intriguing selections such as charred octopus and browned butter gnocchi; kung pao calamari; and carrot and goat cheese agnolotti, a filled pasta. The breakfast and brunch menus offer enticing hot and cold buffet delicacies, cheeses, charcuterie (cured meats), seafood, omelets, waffles, French toast and more.
“We’ve designed the menu so you can order a range of small dishes, which come out one by one as you’re dining,” Smelser says. “So you’re not confined to a single entrée, or a limited party menu. People always want to try new and different things.”
Comments coming in
Groups, guests, and local culinary voices are paying rapt attention to the menu at The Preston. Jonathan Carli of St. Louis Town & Style magazine has described its desserts as well worth sampling. “Give some serious consideration to indulging,” he says of the restaurant’s post-meal fare in a June 2016 review for the magazine. The Chase’s director of sales and marketing, David Hume, says the property has a full on-site bakery operation that supplies myriad delectables to The Preston.
Catherine Neville, editor of Feast magazine, has praised The Preston’s handcrafted cocktails and small-plate dishes in recent radio segments, and other publications such as St. Louis magazine have voiced their approval as well. Guest feedback has included such effusions as, “The drinks, the food, the service – everything was phenomenal,” and “Amazing, well thought-out food that’s fresh and vibrant.”
The other great thing about The Preston is simply that it’s part of the Chase, an exquisite St. Louis mecca for meetings, events, luxury lodging and recreation. If you’re gathering a group in one of the Chase’s other spaces, you’ll want to consider wining and dining them Preston-style while you’re there.
Now that you know what’s new at The Preston and the Chase, book a gathering, and add a feather to your cap. Your guests’ experiences will be well worth remembering, and repeating.