2020 Best New Restaurants // No. 3 Perennial on Lockwood
If you ever wondered what would happen if a far-flung South City craft brewery and an upscale American restaurant in the suburbs joined forces, Perennial on Lockwood is your answer. By partnering with the team behind Olive + Oak and building out a beautiful new space in the old Auto Beauty Specialists complex in downtown Webster Groves, Perennial Artisan Ales has taken the best of both brands and produced a formidable new identity: an inviting, modern brewpub full of magical food and dapper charm.
Perennial on Lockwood’s aesthetic achieves the perfect urban-rustic balance. Sleek, dark wood, glass, mirror and leather give the dining room an old-school pub feel; comically large refurbished speakers whisper folk-rock tunes into every corner of the space. Next door, a stunning, sunlit galley offers diners shelter from the elements while still giving them room to breathe. The space is cozy and accessible, offering a sanctuary for beer nerds, families looking for a satisfying meal and everyone in between – it’s the ethos of Webster Groves in the form of a restaurant.
Executive chef Evan Buchholz’s confident menu is full of powerful flavors and creative, refreshing execution, reminding us that food doesn’t have to be an afterthought at breweries. The autumn panzanella, with its tender roasted squash and beets, pretzel croutons and brown butter-goat cheese, made for a truly great salad; the whipped feta starter recalled sister restaurant The Clover and the Bee’s elegance without feeling lifted. The onion rings with “umami sauce” found an awesome nexus of fried, tangy and creamy. The veggie melt managed a vibrant current between its bitter braised greens, roasted cauliflower and creamy Thousand Island dressing, while the crispy chicken thigh with Sichuan spice offered a showstopping punch to the taste buds. (Luckily, we had a table full of beer.) It’s not even that this is great brewery food – it’s just great food, period. This is the kind of place you’re always excited to go, even if you just ate there.
We already knew Perennial’s beer was excellent, but Perennial on Lockwood is taking it to the next level. The hits are here, from the Southside Blonde and the Saison de Lis to their Pils, but what’s really exciting is the fact that Perennial will be doing new and experimental beers exclusively for this location; at any given time, anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of the beer selection will be made on site. Head brewer Chris Kinast is running that program, and he plans to indulge his wildest dreams: sessionable Belgian beers, new hazy IPAs, malt-forward pub beers and more. We can’t wait to see what he does.
Perennial on Lockwood is much more than a beer-drinker’s paradise; it’s a thoughtful marriage of two already-great institutions that offers plenty of room to grow. They couldn’t have found a better starting point.