At the new Bolyard's Meat & Provisions, Chris Bolyard gets back to his roots in the kitchen.
It's a great day for meat lovers in St. Louis: Bolyard's Meat & Provisions (2810 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-647-2567)
, the acclaimed Maplewood butcher shop is expanding. The new location, located one block north of the current one, will include expanded indoor and outdoor seating, a rotisserie, retail area, open cutting room and a fully-equipped kitchen that will allow owners Chris and Abbie Bolyard to expand their menu.
"We've been casually talking about this for a couple of years, but I think the tipping point was after the shut-down," Bolyard explains. "The timing was just right. The space opened up, and we started to get busier than we were in previous years. We just kept getting busier and busier, so we felt this was the time to do it."
According to Bolyard, the new location, located across the street and up one block from the current shop in the space that used to house the Dubliner, will allow he and Abbie to add value to the shop — something that's been on his mind as he thinks long-term about the sort of legacy he wants to leave to his children or employees. Though he says that the butcher shop has been doing well in its current form, he sees the opportunity to have a full kitchen and accompanying restaurant as a chance for him to grow the business in a healthy way and realize its full potential. For him, this is not strictly a financial consideration: In having the capacity to utilize whole animal cooking in the menu, the restaurant will cut down food waste, a consideration that is very important to his food ethos.
Slated for a February 2021 opening, the new Bolyard's will still be a butcher shop. However, it will also be a full, counter-service restaurant with 40 seats, dedicated food runners and ordering system. As for the menu, look for current favorites such as "the Dip," a roast beef, Swiss cheese and caramelized onion sandwich, as well as biscuits and gravy on the weekends. New items will include a pate en crute salad, tallow fries, housemade burgers and dishes featuring seasonal produce. The expanded menu is not just a benefit to guests, either. Having a full kitchen will allow the Culinary Institute of America-trained chef to get back on the line, a place he enjoyed great success before opening the butcher shop in 2014.
Bolyard is thankful he has been able to grow his business during such a difficult time in the business. Embracing the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced upon his shop, he's seized upon the opportunity to look at how he and Abbie were doing things and make them better.
"Sometimes, I thrive off situations that force you to respond right away or just be resourceful in the moment," Bolyard says. "I think the biggest thing the pandemic forced us to do was look at the business from a different angle. We had to adjust to the way people were buying meat, and that changed how our shop operated. We found that was, ultimately, a better way to operate and made us more efficient in serving customers and moving through product. It really forced us to change the way we were doing things."
One thing that Bolyard insists will never change is his commitment to ethically-sourced, sustainable meat — something that he has built his reputation around. Rather than seeing expansion as making that more difficult, he views this as an opportunity to double down on his insistence to get good, quality meat to his customers while allowing him to start cooking again.
"I'm super excited to get back into the kitchen," Bolyard says. "There are so many ways to utilize the animals we are already working with. This will allow us to showcase whole animal butchery, and you will be able to see more of that on the menu, which results in less waste, which is a good thing. They just go had in hand. Having a butcher shop attached to a menu, and not being limited by not having a kitchen is very exciting for us. There's a lot of fun things we can do."
Correction: Bolyard was misspelled in the original version of this story. We regret the error.
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