Dinner and a show may never be the same after this week’s Greater St Louis Restaurant Week, Oct 12 –21, which coincides with the opening engagement of Ringing Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ "Dragon" and Circus Flora’s first dinner theater production, "A Celtic Night Circus: Tír na nÓg." It’s an unforgettable opportunity to experience the ultimate sensory experience only the circus and St Louis’ finest chefs can serve up.
To kick off the ultimate dinner and a show concept, members of the Greater St. Louis Restaurant Association on Thursday treated the Ringing Brothers and Barnum & Bailey star pachyderms to a free lunch of elephant gourmet fare – apples, watermelon, lettuce and of course, artisan bread.
While the mostly vegan friendly menu was welcomed by Ringling’s biggest Big Top stars, diners during Restaurant Week can expect more variety. Local chefs from will offer pre-fixed, multi-course dinners (and lunches) that are priced right for guests to savor while helping a good cause. Ten percent of each pre-fixed dinner ordered during restaurant Week will benefit Operation Food Search’s Operation Backpack.
Operation Backpack provides backpacks filled with nutritious, kid-friendly foods on Fridays to help those children who may not have enough to eat over the weekend. Backpacks are returned on Mondays to be refilled for the following weekend. With an estimated 85 percent of St Louis Public School students who rely on free or reduced cast meal programs Operation Backpack helps fill the gap to help stave off hungry over the weekend.
While Ringling's "Dragon" closes Oct. 14, Circus Flora opens its premiere of "A Celtic Night," its first excursion in the dinner theater format on Oct. 18 on the grounds of Chesterfield Mall. Featured are performances from Circus Flora’s troop of circus stars with culinary mastery provided by chefs, Michele Coen-Racanelli and Vita Racanelli of Michele C. Catering, who developed the menu to reflect a Celtic theme.
The evening’s three-course menu features favorite Irish ingredients and libations to create such specialties as Bailey’s Irish Cream cheesecake, Irish potato rolls and chicken, which claims to be Amish instead of Irish and is finished with a whole grain mustard beer sauce made with red beer, a favored Irish style of beer. Dinners will be served under the Big Top with Cabernet-style seating.
While not connected with St Louis Restaurant Week, Circus Flora’s unique dinner with a circus production serves a cause. A portion of the proceeds of the will benefit its outreach program, Clowns on Call, which brings circus magic to children at Mercy Children’s Hospital and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.
"A Celtic Night Circus" is an extension of Circus Flora’s 2012 season and is part of the annual American arts Experience-St. Louis, a 17-day festival celebrating all mediums of American arts throughout the St. Louis region each October.