Derek Schulze and Josh Akers of Red Oak Biscuits are investing heavily into the Washington Avenue neighborhood in the form of three new restaurants and one event venue.
Burgers, ice cream and booze are coming to Washington Avenue next spring in the form of Beef Bar
(1325 Washington Avenue
). Up-and-coming restaurateurs Josh Akers and Derek Schulze of Red Oak Biscuits are behind the new pub.
Close to the City Museum and hotels, the eatery will cater to families during the day and a more adult crowd at night with a full bar. True to its namesake, Beef Bar will offer burgers on the menu, complete with beef from Schulze's father's cattle production. Customers will start with a choice of patty, with traditional beef, turkey, grilled or fried chicken and "beyond burgers" for vegetarians as options. After choosing from one of four dry rubs or spices, patrons will then select a "build."
"Builds" incorporate different toppings and buns. One, the "Strawberry Fields," will feature strawberry jam and goat cheese. Another, the "Sunnyside," will don an egg, avocado, pickled red onion and more. Hot dogs, brats and salads will also be available. Akers and Schulze prioritize fresh ingredients, buying from local farmers such as Schulze's father as much as possible.
Akers and Schulze want to incorporate ice cream into the concept and are leaning towards soft serve. Kids won't be the only ones enjoying the chilled treats, however; "boozy milkshakes" and other playful drinks will be on hand.
The pair are rapidly expanding their St. Louis empire, and Beef Bar certainly fits their mold.
"I like to offer a niche product. I think especially in the fast casual, when you’re selective and have one thing you’re very good at it’s very attractive to people," Schulze says.
The floor above Beef Bar will be used as an event venue called Gather, which the owners hope will attract weddings and other crowds.
Beef Bar will displace another concept from Akers and Schulze, Homestead. Originally planned to go in Beef Bar's space, Homestead
will now settle in the Knickerbocker Building at 1300 Washington Avenue.
While Beef Bar will have burgers and milkshakes, Homestead will offer salads and smoothies, opting to be a fresh and healthful option. Schulze grew up on a farm in Warrenton and plans to grow much of the greens and other vegetables that will make their way into Homestead, as well as his other eateries.
"We want to be directly linked with our food and know what we’re serving is really good," Schulze says.
Hydroponic systems such as this one at Red Oak Biscuits are used by Akers and Schulze to grow much of their own food. What they can not grow themselves, they get from local farmers, such as Schulze's father.
Homestead aims to be a healthy coffee and food hangout as well as delivery service. Next to a wellness center, it will offer core staples like oatmeal, salads, hand-squeezed juices and other healthy meals available for delivery as part of wellness packages. Akers and Schulze plan on catering to foot traffic as well.
That's not all for the the duo, though. Fried
(1330 Washington Avenue
), a Southern comfort, late-night concept will open in mid-February. Fried's sauces will be CBD-infused and inspired, with names such as "Sweet and Sour Diesel" going on a variety of meat or vegetarian "nugs" for customers to choose from. Fried desserts such as Oreos and cheesecakes will satisfy night owls until 1 a.m.
Combined with Red Oak Biscuits, which is now open on Cherokee Street, Akers and Schulze will have four eateries and one event venue by the spring. Their sudden entry into the St. Louis food scene has surprised even themselves.
"I knew I was really good in the kitchen, serving people and had good personality but I didn’t think I could take my talents to the next level, helping to form menus and restaurants like we’re doing right now," Akers says.
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