Seven Zero Eight, New Burlesque Club/Restaurant, Now Open in Laclede's Landing

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Katerina Von Rocket and Eliot Winter should have been happy. Their burlesque troupe, Backlot Boudoir, was a big success in Fenton — drawing 1,000 people a night to quarterly performances at the Stratford Inn.


But they wanted a venue of their own. "We were getting frustrated," Winter says. "There were no cocktails, there was limited food, all these different things we cared about were missing." Fenton, he admits, wasn't his idea of a perfect location, either. 


He and Von Rocket found themselves fantasizing about a part of town that most locals are quick to dismiss. Forget Wash Ave; forget the Grove. They wanted to set up shop in Laclede's Landing.

"We're New Orleans people," Winter explains. The old brick buildings and even older brick streets seemed to promise infinite possibility:  "We wanted it to be like the French Quarter."

This weekend, that dream is coming true, as the renamed Backlot Bears of Seven Zero Eight take the stage at the pair's vast new space in the Landing — Seven Zero Eight  (708 N. 2nd Street, 314-833-4504). Formerly the home of Jake's Steaks, it's a vast 7,500 square feet of restaurant, theater, patio, even (eventually) retail shop and some sort of cool member's-only type space that Von Rocket plans to open in the basement.

The Seven Zero Eight space has a New Orleans feel, complete with Mardi Gras beads looped over the staircase. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Photo by Sarah Fenske
  • The Seven Zero Eight space has a New Orleans feel, complete with Mardi Gras beads looped over the staircase.

They hope it won't just be a home for their troupe — although it will certainly be that. They also want to be a dining and drinking destination in their own right.

Brian McGrath, who previously worked at Basso and Truffles Butchery, has developed a menu of creative comfort food executed with high-end ingredients. And in addition to offering cocktails, they're striving to be a craft beer destination, with 100-plus beers on offer. Their signature 708 Stout features notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, milk, orange and bourbon.


The signature Stout will eventually be one of close to 100 beers on offer. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Photo by Sarah Fenske
  • The signature Stout will eventually be one of close to 100 beers on offer.

Winter and Von Rocket took possession in February, and while they originally planned to open in May, doing all the work themselves has taken more time than they anticipated. Still, the space is a stunner, with numerous smaller rooms for dining (including a loft that overlooks the main dining area) fronting Second Street and a huge stage area that's completely separate from it in the back. They imagine doing a brisk business for the tourists who wander through the Landing in the early evening, even as they'll be packing in burlesque fans for two nightly shows at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. every weekend. On Wednesdays, they'll host burlesque karaoke. 

And yes, seating in the stage area will be full service. Order a cocktail, order dinner — no reason not to make your night out more than just burlesque and more than just dinner.

The menu features five burger options, including the 708 Burger, which is fashioned from Kobe beef and topped with Andouille sausage. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Photo by Sarah Fenske
  • The menu features five burger options, including the 708 Burger, which is fashioned from Kobe beef and topped with Andouille sausage.

At this point, the menu is tightly curated and reasonably priced, with nothing topping $16 (that's the price of the generously sized 708 Burger, which features Kobe beef). For appetizers, there's a poutine with house-cut fries ($8), Cajun street tacos studded with Andouille sausage, gator or shrimp ($3 each or two for $5), and decadent mac-and-cheese bites ($8), flavored intensely by their Gruyere and cheddar cheesiness. 

There are also five burger options and three mac-and-cheese plates, as well as a half-dozen hand-held sandwiches (Caesar wrap, Cuban, po'boys). This is food you could eat on a date, but plenty of  items on the menu would also work perfectly if you've gotten drunk in the Landing and need to sober up before going home. 

Mac and cheese bites are breaded in panko and fried, with a creamy sauce on top. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Photo by Sarah Fenske
  • Mac and cheese bites are breaded in panko and fried, with a creamy sauce on top.

After a hasty soft opening last weekend designed to coincide with the Big Muddy Blues Festival, they're open for real this weekend, and so Thursday is a flurry of last-minute details. Even as Chef McGrath shows off his menu, handfuls of tourists and nearby office workers stop by to see what's going on. Everybody's curious about the vast new space opening in the neighborhood.

Winter believes that people are wrong to dismiss the Landing. "People forgot it was here," he acknowledges. "But they just needed to do something new — something to draw a crowd."

He adds, "Fenton's not anything special. If they'll come to Fenton, they'll come here."


For dessert,  Chef McGrath will offer beignets. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Photo by Sarah Fenske
  • For dessert, Chef McGrath will offer beignets.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com

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