BEAST Craft BBQ to Open Third Location, Change Format of Grove Smokehouse


Dave Sandusky, together with his wife Meggan, have big changes in store for the BEAST Craft BBQ brand. - MABEL SUEN
  • Dave Sandusky, together with his wife Meggan, have big changes in store for the BEAST Craft BBQ brand.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not slowing down Dave and Meggan Sandusky. The BEAST Craft BBQ (20 South Belt W, Belleville, Illinois; 618-257-9000) owners have announced big changes to their restaurant group, including a third location, a change in format at their Grove location, BEAST Butcher & Block (4156 Manchester Avenue, 314-944-6003), and a new butchery delivery service.

The Sanduskys shared the news in a press release issued on Saturday, describing their moves as "big upgrades" that represent "the natural evolution of our brand and another escalation point for the legacy of our barbecue." And big they are. The new location, which will be in Columbia, Illinois, is not a duplicate of what they've done, but a new concept. Though still centered around smoked meats, the new restaurant, BEAST Southern Kitchen & BBQ (1280 Columbia Center, Columbia, Illinois) will feature southern-inspired dishes with a focus on local farms and heritage breeds. The restaurant will also feature cocktails, with an emphasis on whiskey, and offer a special late-night menu.

In addition to their new restaurant, the Sanduskys are making significant changes at Beast Butcher & Block, their barbecue complex in the Grove. When the restaurant reopens its dining room (that date is to be determined), it will do so as a full-service, sit-down restaurant. Originally envisioned as a fast-casual, walk-up style concept, the owners have decided a more formal, sit-down style of dining is a better way to serve Grove-goers looking for a full dining experience. The transition to full-service will also allow them to put in a full bar and offer cocktails, another nod to the neighborhood's nightlife-oriented vibe.

As if these projects weren't enough, the Sanduskys have also announced that they are now offering a butchery-focused grocery delivery service out of their Grove location. A selection of meats, rubs, eggs, dairy, cheeses, charcuterie, deli meats and small groceries from the Butcher & Block's butchery are available for contactless delivery to customers' doorsteps on Wednesdays and Saturdays with a minimum of one day's advance notice.

The Sanduskys understand as well as any restaurant owners that these are challenging times for the industry. As COVID-19 sows chaos and devastation throughout the industry, many business owners are wondering how — or if — they will survive. However, the Sanduskys insist they are determined to forge ahead with the evolution of their brand, even if circumstances are less than ideal.

"Everyone is holding on tight while the effects of the virus demolish our industry and others," the Sanduskys say in the release. "We've made the decision to further build and establish our foundation and growth. A third location is huge, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. We're not done, and I can't wait to tell you about what's coming next."

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