Metro-East News

New menu debuts at 4204 taproom; new owners reopen The Wine Tap in Belleville

Craft Cocktails

4204 Brewing Co. debuts craft cocktails topped with beer this fall along with a new food menu featuring upscale pub food and more.
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4204 Brewing Co. debuts craft cocktails topped with beer this fall along with a new food menu featuring upscale pub food and more.

4204 Main Street Brewing Co. can’t stop, won’t stop.

The growing brewery’s taproom location in west Belleville could soon become a destination for lunch and craft cocktails now that new food and drink options are on the menu.

“We are a brewery, but we wanted to make sure we offered different items for everybody,” 4204 spokeswoman Rebecca Wuest said. “We have a full bar, craft cocktails and our craft beer selection.”

Craft beer and cocktails come together on the new menu. The Bahama Mama, for example, is a sweet tropical drink topped with 4204’s Blood Orange Radler, a light lager blended with house made malt soda and blood orange puree. It’s the bartender’s twist on the classic drink.

The brewery’s expanded menu at the taproom includes fried bologna, Philly cheesesteak and daily $10 deals served with beer.

Later this fall, customers will be able to stop by the brewery’s taproom for lunch, but the new menu items will be available sooner.

Monday is steak night at the taproom, “T” stands for tacos on Tuesdays, Wednesday is all about shrimp, beef nachos will be available Thursdays, Friday customers can come in for fish, ribs are served on Saturday and wings on Sunday.

Fried green beans, chicken fajita nachos and loaded sidewinder fries topped with cheese sauce, seasoned taco meat sour cream, jalapenos and pico are on the new menu that Wuest describes as “upscale pub food.’”

As for fall beer, the brewery has teamed up with Eckert’s to bring a new pumpkin beer to the menu. The beer will only be available at the taphouse location later this month.

4204 Main Street Brewing Co. has hired new brewers as they start to ramp up production.

New owners reopen The Wine Tap in Belleville

The wait is over for fans of The Wine Tap in downtown Belleville.

Dan Fogarty-Hayden and his wife, Robbie, have purchased the popular bar and restaurant at 223 E. Main St. and after a month of renovations, the couple reopened the business Tuesday. The Wine Tap was established in 2008 and has been part of the growing downtown Belleville restaurant scene since then.

The couple decided to keep The Wine Tap as the name of their new venture and they will keep the wood-fired, brick oven for their pizzas.

But they have added their own tastes to the menu, which features 12-inch pizzas plunged into the brick oven for a short time because the oven’s temperature ranges from 700 to 900 degrees. There are eight designed pizzas or you can create your set of own toppings.

The menu has small plates like jalapeño poppers, bacon wrapped dates and a sizzling brie dip. It also has three salads and homemade soups developed by Robbie.

“These are my recipes for the most part and most of them are his personal favorites,” Robbie said of her husband. “We kind of just went with things that we know and love and make in our own home.”

The couple said they developed the menu in consultation with Dan’s friend, Ryan Stupka, who is a chef in St. Louis.

“We are making fresh, house-made dough every single day as well as house-made bread,” Robbie said.

While The Wine Tap name will remain, the Fogarty-Haydens will serve wine by the bottle and glass instead of through a keg and tap system. They expect to have 10 reds and 10 whites by the glass and 15 to 20 each of reds and whites by the bottle. A full bar with craft beers and classic and specialty cocktails also will be offered.

Since early August, the restaurant has undergone an update with new lighting and the walls being repainted.

Robbie said the goal was to play up the “building’s beautiful architecture” and all of hard work Allison Babcock and Dave Nagel put into the space before they opened The Wine Tap 10 years ago.

“We wanted to create the perfect date night experience or night out with a group of friends in a very cozy, relaxed environment,” she said.

FDA issues warning about liquid nitrogen treats

For now, two retailers in Fairview Heights plan to keep “Dragon’s Breath” on the menu, even though the Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers about the dangers of the dessert.

The treat is prepared by pouring liquid nitrogen over fruit-flavored cereal, causing it to freeze instantly. A smokey vapor seeps from the mouth and nose of the consumer as they eat it.

But its freezing temperature can cause damage in the mouth and internal organs, the FDA warns.

“Liquid nitrogen, although non-toxic, can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidentally ingested due to the extremely low temperatures it can maintain,” said an FDA warning issued Aug. 30. “Inhaling the vapor released by a food or drink prepared by adding liquid nitrogen immediately before consumption may also cause breathing difficulty, especially among individuals with asthma.”

Before the FDA issued its warning, Snow Factory Minus and Nitro Dragon, both vendors in St. Clair Square, displayed warning signs about the product.

“Liquid Nitrogen can be dangerous,” a warning sign at Snow Factory Minus states. “Please do not touch or ingest nitrogen liquid.”

Snow Factory Roll Ice Cream recently opened in Fairview Heights. BND Reporter Cara Anthony and mall patrons try dragon's breath, a liquid nitrogen dessert, for the first time.

The sign at the ice cream shop also tells customers to stab the Dragon’s Breath with the provided stick and dip the cereal in the provided strawberry syrup before eating it.

The treat is popular at state and county fairs nation wide. Some vendors suggest blowing on the cereal three times before eating it.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Snow Factory co-owner Jing Liu said she hadn’t heard about the warning but planned to consult the other managers about continuing sales of the product.

Nitro Dragon, a kiosk on the lower level of the mall, also sells the product. When asked if sales would continue, the company referenced its warning sign, which advises parents to stay with their children during consumption.

One more thing...

Charles Schwab has opened a new office in Edwardsville.

Located at 1001 Century Drive, the new Edwardsville location is part of a franchising initiative Schwab announced in early 2011, according to a news release from the investment firm.

Timothy J. Wayman, a financial services professional with 13 years of experience, will run the office. He’s a graduate of Greenville University where he received an undergraduate degree in business management and psychology.

He later attended the University of North Texas, where he earned a graduate degree in finance.

For more information about the new office , call 618-307-7000.

Do you have a tip? Send me an email at Of course, I’m available to chat on Twitter @CaraRAnthony, and if you really want to go old school, call me on my landline at 618-239-2471