Sidney Street Cafe: Sophisticated Yet Cozy Neighborhood Dining in Benton Park
The story of Benton Park’s most notable restaurant can be told in two parts. Before 2003, owner Tom McKinley spent 16 years creating a destination restaurant in a beautifully restored building on a quiet residential street. He sold the business at the height of its popularity to ambitious young chef Kevin Nashan, his wife, Mina, and his brother Chris. Under the new team, Sidney Street Cafe retained its romantic reputation while expanding into new culinary territory.
Nashan grew up in the restaurant business in New Mexico—his grandfather opened a Mexican eatery there in 1972—and spent his entire adult life in professional kitchens across America, from the Deep South to the Midwest and the Southwest to the Northeast. Sidney Street’s menu reflects these influences, along with sparks of ideas from his time in Europe. In 2017, the James Beard Foundation took notice, awarding Nashan with its Best Chef: Midwest award.
With that notoriety, a third story could have emerged, with Sidney Street launching into an elitist dining stratosphere. But it hasn’t lost its local roots. Neighbors continue to stop in at the bar, families celebrate special occasions and newcomers discover favorites like lobster turnovers, smoked sweetbreads, steak encrusted in wasabi or rabbit porchetta with barley risotto.
2000 Sidney St.
While you’re in the neighborhood …
Peacemaker Lobster & Crab
Tying the North Atlantic and Gulf coasts together, restaurateur Kevin Nashan’s Peacemaker impresses with its raw bar, gumbo and lobster rolls.
1831 Sidney St.
Yemanja Brasil Restaurante
At this cozy corner restaurant named for a sea goddess, the kitchen specializes in seafood alongside traditional Brazilian stews, sauces and empanadas.
2900 Missouri Ave.
Ernesto’s Wine Bar
Wine-lovers have kept this Benton Park gem a secret for more than 10 years. The wine bar‘s namesake, Ernest Hemingway, would approve.
2730 McNair Ave.
Photography courtesy of Carmen Troesser.