Photo by Mabel Suen

Tin Roof, which features a Southern-inspired menu, originated in Nashville in 2002. Since then, more than a dozen locations have popped up in cities across the nation, including San Diego, Cincinnati and Baltimore. The St. Louis location, the chain’s 14th, fills the space previously occupied by J. Buck’s.

To manage the location, the company brought on Zachary Johnson as the general manager and Nowell Gata as the executive chef. Johnson previously managed the Curtain Call Lounge at The Fabulous Fox Theatre, while Gata most recently worked as an executive sous chef for the local Baileys’ line of restaurants – primarily Small Batch.

“Tin Roof is a downtown getaway with good food, good drinks, friendly faces and a loose atmosphere,” Johnson says. “It’s an all-encompassing entertainment spot for all your senses.”

“We attract a very eclectic group of people,” Gata adds. “It’s 100 percent welcome to everybody. There are no pretentions, which is what I love.”

The 5,200-square-foot bar and restaurant seats around 200 guests. All-American décor embellishes every aspect of the room, with exposed brick highlighted by tinges of red, white and blue.

The lengthy menu includes a wide variety of chips and dips, appetizers, salads, street tacos, quesadillas, burgers and other sandwiches, pub boards and desserts. Customers can choose from signature dishes such as the Voodoo Shrimp and the B‘n’C Medley sandwich, with smoked brisket, caramelized onions, cheddar, queso and giardiniera on a toasted roll.

Another popular item is the Nashville Hot Chicken. “When I was training in Nashville, I literally tried every hot chicken place from Hattie B’s to Prince’s, and this is my favorite out of all the ones I’ve tasted,” Gata says. “It has a happy medium level of hotness – not burn-your-face-off hot – with a legitimate flavor profile that has a little bit of sweetness to it.”

While the lunch and dinner menus are largely similar across the brand, Gata helped develop a Sunday brunch menu – something offered at only a few locations of Tin Roof. With it, customers can choose from items including bourbon French toast; a breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs, house-made pimento cheese, bacon and tomato on Texas toast; and a slinger with shoestring fries, brisket gravy, an 8-ounce beef patty, two over-easy eggs, bacon, cheese dip, cheddar and shaved onion.

To drink, the bar offers 16 taps and six signature cocktails, including the Basil Berry Gimlet, made with Hendricks Gin, elderflower liqueur, blackberry, lime juice, house-made simple syrup and (it almost goes without saying) basil. After the kitchen closes, a late-night stand offers boozy shakes, nonalcoholic shakes, hot dogs and popcorn. Customers who don’t want to enjoy its live entertainment, which includes everything from cover bands and DJs to karaoke and trivia, can still grab a bite to eat and head to see Carousel from Union Avenue Opera.

Tin Roof, 1000 Clark Ave., St. Louis, 314-240-5400, tinroofstlouis.com

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