by Cheryl Baehr
Bud Starr, the man who vowed that he would never open another restaurant, is at it again. This time, he gets into the barbecue business with Bud's Smokehouse & Grill (1135 South Big Bend Boulevard; 314-781-2345) -- at our count, the seventh concept to open in the restaurant space adjacent to the 34-year-old Starr's market.
See also: Bud Starr Closes Root After Three Weeks
This week, I visit Bud's to see if the seventh time is the charm. Here is a sneak preview of my thoughts -- the full review will be online tomorrow and in this week's issue.
"We will never open as a restaurant again," Bud Starr vehemently told Riverfront Times in February of 2012, just after the demise of his latest restaurant venture, Root. "We were bleeding like a stuck pig."
And yet, here we are. There is another new restaurant occupying the dining space adjoining Starr's 34-year-old wine shop and market: Bud's Smokehouse & Grill. According to our count, this is Starr's seventh attempt. He originally built the space for events and private dinners, then for a few short months began using it as a nameless bistro serving weekend dinners. Next came La Brasias, a Mexican restaurant; then Nosh, a venture with his daughter and ex-wife. Finally there was Root, a venture with chef Brian Hardesty (now of the acclaimed Element and Guerilla Street Food truck) that closed after only three weeks. Root was the most highly anticipated concept and the most infamous failure. Rumors about an epic fallout between chef and owner trickled out, and at this point, a reasonable person has to ask whether Starr's can ever host a successful restaurant.