The Charlotte, NC,-based company operates eight restaurants across the country as BlackFinn American Saloon including in Dallas, Chicago and Detroit. The first BlackFinn American Grille, its sister restaurant, opened in 2010 in Jacksonville, FL. A second grill will open in Houston, TX this fall just before the opening of the Galleria location.
BlackFinn acquired all 20,000 square feet of space formerly occupied by the Mark Shale clothing store at the Galleria. The restaurant will be housed in 9,500 square feet of the space, and the remaining room might be used for private functions. BlackFinn's 425-seat restaurant will bring with it 125 new jobs.
Mark Szymanski, BlackFinn's director of culinary operations, plans to furnish the restaurant's pantry with food from local vendors and sustainable farms. Szymanski left Morton’s restaurant group in 2009 after 10 years to oversee the growth of BlackFinn’s culinary program. The prospect of working with BlackFinn and its evolving menus—specific to its respective locations—was exciting, Szymanski said.
Despite its name, BlackFinn focuses not only on seafood but also on using fresh ingredients. The local executive chef will be Jeffrey Lathrop, who worked for at the Galleria until 2005 before rounding out his skill in hotel kitchens.
BlackFinn's Galleria location will have a design different than that found at its other restaurants. Within each BlackFinn restaurant are four distinct settings:
- The Dining Room will be distinguished, warm and inviting. It offers the full menu with pairings from BlackFinn's award-winning wine list.
- The Grille Room serves fresh-squeezed signature cocktails in comfortable surroundings that are conducive to a quick lunch or a relaxing dinner.
- The Saloon, as its name implies, offers a casual and relaxed atmosphere. For those on a working lunch, the saloon offers Wi-Fi, and electrical outlets at each booth and throughout the bar. In the evening, watch one of its many large high-definition TVs that come complete with a swanky audio system. In addition to serving lunch and dinner, The Saloon offers full bar service, a late dinner menu and entertainment until 2 a.m.
- The word on the street is that The Patio is the best place to eat at BlackFinn. Karen McCooey of Persona Designs along with her husband, Richard, designed the restaurant. McCooey wants the design to be a surprise (Clayton-Richmond Heights Patch has heard it will be coastal and romantic).
"The best part of uncovering a design is seeing the surprise and joy on a client's face," McCooey said. So for now, we know the patio will feature a full bar with the entire BlackFinn menu, including weekend brunch. Enjoy the open-air design, comfortable outdoor setting and live acoustic music with family and friends on weekend evenings.
BlackFinn spokesperson Sammy Eanes provided the scoop on menu favorites and new additions. The menu will keep the classic Queen City Chicken, composed of bacon-crusted chicken cutlets stuffed with sweet sausage accompanied with sweet potato mash and fresh asparagus. Another favorite on BlackFinn menus is the Iron Skillet Mac and Cheese and Cheese Surf or Turf. The mac and cheese is made with a specialty blend of cheeses, cavatappi pasta and toasted bread crumbs. The surf version is served with lobster, and the turf with barbecued pulled pork.
The Galleria menu, like that at other BlackFinn locations, offers classic American fare. The restaurant will include lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. St. Louis signature dishes have not been chosen just yet.