The Frisco Barroom, which debuted in Webster Groves in July, offers rustic American cuisine in a classic tavern-style setting and comes from the husband-and-wife duo of John and Kelley Barr of Civil Alchemy, a modern-day general store on the same block.
“These buildings once operated by the train station immediately behind the building on the Frisco line, and my wife and I are bringing them back to their former glory,” John Barr says. “We wanted to offer a down-to-earth, all-inclusive corner barroom that fit the history of the space.”
The space, which formerly housed The Natural Way natural-food store, features around 250 seats across two stories of dining areas and patios. William E. Elliott of St. Louis’ Kenrick Design/Construction Services served as the architect, putting the Barrs’ idea of a classic Americana-style barroom on paper. Restored aspects of the structure include an original tin ceiling and pine floors. New facets include a bank of French doors. Second-story seating includes a lounge and rooftop deck.
To carry out their vision for the restaurant, the Barrs assembled a team that includes general manager and consultant Greg Hard, executive chef Tim Montgomery, sous-chef Mike Roos, prep specialist John Hopfinger and bar manager Derek Fleig. The kitchen crew brings experience in various meat markets to the forefront of the scratch-made menu.
“It’s honest and familiar rustic American and Midwestern fare,” Barr says. “The menu includes simple things we like to eat around St. Louis and Michigan, where we spend a lot of our time – my wife’s from there. We’re baking our own breads, curing and roasting our own meats and trying to bring simple, familiar from-scratch food to people.”
Highlights include a smoked whitefish dip with, predictably, smoked whitefish, cream cheese and herbs, served with flatbread sea-salt crackers. Additional snacks and small plates include marinated grilled chicken wings served with Buffalo sauce or Peruvian green pepper sauce; crispy tempura-battered cauliflower served with Buffalo sauce or buttermilk dressing; Cornish and vegetarian pasties; and a recipe from Kelley Barr’s family: potato pierogies with caramelized onion, browned in butter and served with sour cream.
A recipe from John Barr’s family also made it into the fold: a simple house salad with chopped romaine and green leaf lettuce, tossed with lemon-herb vinaigrette and red onion. Boards are another popular pick, including such options as the Fisherman’s Board, with smoked whitefish dip, lox, smoked trout, herbed cream cheese, capers, pickled vegetables, lemon preserves, dried cranberries, assorted nuts, flatbread crackers and crusty bread.
A quarter-pound beef “smash” burger is also available, as well as other sandwiches including a house-made salsiccia with stone-ground mustard and hot giardiniera on an Italian roll from St. Louis’ Marconi Bakery. According to Barr, all other breads are made in-house.
Since the establishment’s opening, its menu has expanded to include a quintet of entrées, each served with two sides: a grilled sirloin steak, a grilled half-chicken, grilled stuffed portobello caps, garlic grilled shrimp and rainbow trout.
The bar perforce features a wine list and craft beers including local options and microbrews from Michigan and Colorado. Cocktails include concoctions such as the Cablecar with The Kraken Black Spiced Rum, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao, lemon juice and simple syrup, served with a cinnamon-sugar rim. So whether you’re interested in trying one of the establishment’s marvelous dishes or drinks, be sure to do so before catching Admissions from The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.
“We wanted to design a menu and drinks that open this place up to being used by everyone,” Barr says. “In doing so, we’re trying to have good-quality food you can come in and enjoy on any budget. We’re trying to share the experience of this great old building that we love, and we want to share it with everybody.”
The Frisco Barroom, 8110 Big Bend Blvd., Webster Groves, 314-455-1090, thefriscostl.com