Episode 184: Chef Bernie Lee and Akar

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 11:42 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Bernie Lee started working in restaurants as a teenager.

He immigrated to the US from Malaysia and wanted to open a restaurant that reminded him of the fusion of flavors he grew up with.

His first restaurant was 609 Lounge and Restaurant in the Delmar Loop, and then opened Hiro Asian Kitchen in Downtown. All of those experiences led him to eventually open Akar in Clayton.

The tiny 12-seat restaurant is located on Wydown in what Lee describes as a “little magical corner.”

We sat down with Lee to talk about cooking from the heart and the lessons he learned from his mother and grandmother. We talk about travel and menu inspiration and the joy of invoking a memory through food. Akar features elevated Malaysian cuisine and is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner.