Leadership: Executive chef and founder Gerard Craft; Director of Human Resources Kate Woolverton; Corporate Executive Chef Michael Petres
HQ: St. Louis
Systemwide sales: Not provided
Concepts: Brasserie By Niche; Taste; Sardella; Pastaria - St. Louis; Pastaria – Nashville; Cinder House at the Four Seasons St. Louis; and BrassWELL inside of Rockwell Beer Co. brewery.
Executive chef and founder Gerard Craft came to St. Louis to join a food scene that was growing — “not fully established” — and to be among great chefs “that aren’t scared to try new things because they don’t have to pay some of the terrifying rents found in other cities,” said the James Beard Award-winning chef.
For Craft, a growing restaurant scene also allowed him to mold a new meaning of “hospitality.”
“About six years ago we began a serious effort to change the way we interacted in the restaurants and started to make giving hospitality to each other an even more important value than giving it to guests,” said Craft. “We have made efforts to make life easier for new mothers and fathers, hopefully making having a family seem possible in an industry where we work so hard.”
The hard work has paid off.
Brasserie By Niche, Taste, Sardella, Pastaria are local favorites. Now the group is looking to branch outside the St. Louis market. Two years ago, Niche opened an outpost of Pastaria in Nashville, Tenn.
“Our goal with Pastaria is to bring affordable, classic, Italian food, from lesser-known regions of Italy, to a wider audience. We will see where we end up next,” he said.
Craft has also proven that Niche can make a menu for the most casual or formal of spaces within St. Louis: The group operates a brasserie inside the local brewery Rockwell Beer Co., as well as the South American-inspired, wood-fired Cinder House in the swank Four Season's Hotel in St. Louis.