by Nancy Stiles
Despite protests to the contrary, the Majestic (4900 Laclede Avenue) closed last week after more than 50 years in the Central West End. Its neighbor Wild Flower (4590 Laclede Avenue; 314-367-9888) has bought the space and will spend the next few months transforming it into a barbecue joint called BBQ Saloon. We talked to co-owner Tracy Czarnec about her plans and why she and husband Phil love the CWE.
"We've been looking for a barbecue space for about four years, so when this opportunity fell in our lap, it was just something that we were very excited about," Czarnec says. "Having the restaurant right across the street, knowing the neighborhood and the area -- we love it. It just seemed like the perfect fit."
Czarnec expects the renovations to take two to three months, and she says the space will be completely unrecognizable as BBQ Saloon. She describes the new interior as rustic, warm and inviting with a bar and a dining room.
The menu will include traditional barbecue as well as some more unusual offerings like barbecued alligator and rabbit. There will also be a focus on small-batch liquor, which Czarnec says is important because she and Phil want to support other small businesses.
"We're just trying to support some of these smaller, independent, very delicious spirits makers," she says. "There's so many more available. Twenty years ago, you say 'small batch' and people say, 'What's that?' There was no such thing as mixology -- so we're just excited."
Wild Flower has started serving breakfast and is now open seven days a week at 6 a.m. to accommodate the long-time early patrons of the Majestic. Czarnec laughs and says that it's been a bit of an adjustment from opening at 11 a.m. BBQ Saloon is slated to open in July, though Czarnec says their plans for a Fourth of July barbecue probably won't happen -- but don't worry, Wild Flower hosts its own holiday barbecue.
"There's no barbecue in the neighborhood. We live here and work here," Czarnec says. "We're excited. It's going to be a fun, warm, inviting atmosphere and some really delicious food."