Bootleggin’ Tavern is relocating from downtown St. Louis to Forest Park Southeast this spring
Bootleggin’ Tavern is relocating from its current location at 1933 Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis to 4501 Chouteau Ave., the former home of the Golden Grocer, in Forest Park Southeast just north of the Grove. The restaurant will keep largely the same menu after the move, which is slated to take place in the spring, likely March or April.
Co-owner Brenton Brown has been involved in Bootleggin’ Tavern’s journey since its beginnings as a catering company in 2006. In 2014, the business took over the kitchen at The Pour House in downtown, and then took over the entire space in 2015.
“An opportunity came about with one of our investors; they [own the building] that we are moving to,” Brown said. “The emotions run deep, so it’s sad … for the community that we lost Golden Grocer because of Covid. But, at the same time, we have to make the right business decisions.”
The new 2,500-square-foot space offers a litany of upgrades from the current 1,900-square-foot space with seating availability increasing from 50 to 60 seats. Additionally, the new location has a room that can be rented for birthday parties and meetings. The room will be equipped with Chromecast TVs, so presentations and slideshows can be displayed.
“It’s going to be a custom buildout,” Brown said. “We can build it out to maximize the space [and] efficiency of the kitchen. There’s a lot of things we can do to make it a more efficient, better customer experience.”
Most importantly, at its core, the Bootleggin’ experience revolves around the customers. When Bootleggin’ Tavern first started out, it used to be barbecue-centric, but after listening to customer feedback, Bootleggin’ Tavern became a hub of “burgers and apps, barbecue and wraps,” according to Brown. Now, the restaurant’s most popular seller is chicken wings, which are rubbed, smoked, fried and tossed with sauce. In particular, customers love the wings tossed with Bang Sauce – a mixture of barbecue and Buffalo sauce.
“They wanted more things, so we started adding things to the menu,” Brown said. “Customers asked and we listened, and obviously you gotta go with the flow. [The customers], they made this place.”
The restaurant will retain many elements from the current space when relocating, including the game-streaming TVs and arcade games. Hours of operation at the new location will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
“I’m excited to get to know the people of the neighborhood,” Brown said. “This has been the most fun part of doing this — being in the area, getting to know the customers, hearing their stories and getting to be a part of their lives. There’s a whole new neighborhood for us to explore.”
There will be a final hurrah on the last day of service at the downtown location on Jan. 29. Details are still being worked out, but Brown anticipates a whole hog on offer.
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