With six smokers on-site, BEAST Butcher & Block debuted just last month in the The Grove business district of St. Louis’ Forest Park South East neighborhood.
This marks the second location of the popular eatery from the husband-and-wife team of David and Meggan Sandusky, who founded the original BEAST Craft BBQ Co. in Belleville, Illinois, five years ago.
BEAST mainstays on the new location’s menu include Duroc pork steak, wagyu brisket and Texas pork belly. Additionally, that location features two entirely new concepts: The Butchery, a full-service butcher shop, and The Skullery, described as a cross between a chef’s table and a research and development kitchen.
The Grove team comprises David Sandusky as pitmaster, with executive chef Ryan McDonald (previously of St. Louis’ defunct Good Fortune), butcher C.J. Baerman (previously of Paddy O’s in St. Louis’ downtown), sous-chef Kelvin Johnson, pit boss Jim Thomas and director of operations Helen Beshel.
“There’s a lot going on here,” David Sandusky says. “I just want it to be really cool barbecue. BEAST’s niche is sourcing the best animals in the country and doing as little as possible to them to show the quality of the sustainable farming in which they were raised. We’re about putting out our best all the time.”
BEAST Butcher & Block fills a 6,000-square-foot space, with a 95-seat dining room for the main counter-service restaurant. A front patio will eventually feature seats for another 25 customers. St. Louis’ BLACKLINE Design + Construction and JEMA served as architects for the venture, while Meggan Sandusky developed the interior decor.
According to her, the space evokes an urban outdoor barbecue feel with string lights for ambiance, monochromatic cinder-block walls juxtaposed with brightly colored chairs, and murals by local artist Killer Napkins (Jason Spencer). Wooden tables throughout the space were crafted by St. Louis’ Narrative Furniture.
The Butchery features its own storefront space, filled with grab-and-go goods like sausages, prepared sides and canned beer. Meanwhile, The Skullery has its own separate area outfitted with a kitchen that uses hot coals and a massive custom block to eventually showcase the city’s first “fire-to-table” restaurant experience.
From BEAST Butcher & Block’s casual dine-in menu, guests can choose from such highlights as a heritage-breed snoot, available by itself or as part of the Triple Pig (sauced snoot, rib tips and a hot link over seared potato salad). Pork comes from Compart Family Farms in Minnesota. To drink, BEAST offers canned and bottled beer, as well as four taps featuring exclusive craft beers. As a result, BEAST Butcher & Block should make a smokin’ first stop for folks heading to The Revolutionists from Insight Theatre Company.
“I think St. Louis is a very unique barbecue market,” David Sandusky says. “After traveling the country and doing barbecue crawls all over, it’s my opinion that St. Louis has the best barbecue outside of Austin, Texas. We want to be at the forefront of what this city has to offer.”
BEAST Butcher & Block, 4156 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 618-944-6003, beastbbqstl.com