Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Take A Tour Of Vacant Building At 9th and Lami

Real Estate Investment Company JDS Properties recently uploaded a video tour of the vacant building at the corner of 9th and Lami. I believe the address is 2330 S. 9th Street. The entry I found on Zillow says the building is 3,520 square feet and is currently "off market". The "zestimate" on the building is $290,643.

The company is run by John Skaggs and advertises that they have "rehabbed and/or sold over 300 real estate investment properties" in St. Louis since being formed in October 2003.

The narrator takes viewers on a tour of the property while pointing out what would be needed to rehab the building. He estimates the cost of the rehab would be about $200,000. It looks like someone did at least some basic framing work in anticipation of a rehab.

The building features three floors, but the stairs inside leading from the first to second floors have gone missing. The second floor can be accessed from the stairs in the backyard while the third floor can then be accessed from inside. Many of the windows have been replaced on the third floor to go along with plumbing and framing work.

Anyone interested in more information from JDS can reach them at 901-212-7246. John D. Skaggs Properties has several other videos of rehabs in Soulard as well as surrounding neighborhoods.

If anyone has any other information on the history of the building, I would love to hear it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Synek Launch Party In Soulard Thursday Night

The Synek Draft System is a locally developed table-top beer delivery system officially launching tomorrow night with a party in Soulard. This bronze addition to your counter allows you to enjoy virtually any beer fresh from the tap. The Synek website touts that Synek owners will have access to 17,000 beer brands from 1,200 different breweries

Here's a video explaining how Synek works.

The Synek Draft System will officially make its debut outside 1860s tomorrow night at 5pm. Purchasing a $15 ticket to the event gets you unlimited beer from 10 or more St. Louis breweries, live music from Miss Jubilee and a commemorative cup.

The founder of Synek, Steve Young, and his team are embarking on a 35-city tour to officially launch the product. Dubbed the Great Amercan Expedition, the tour starts with the event tomorrow night in Soulard and wraps up on September 23 in Denver.Below is the bus the company will be using on the tour.

You can order the $299 system from the company website or you might be able to pick them up at the launch event.

Check out more about the Synek Draft System at Synek.Beer. Also, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Make Time For Capitalist Pig

Capitalist Pig opened inside Mad Art Gallery on the south end of Soulard way back on October 22, 2012. I had never made time to go to the restaurant before last week when I was invited by a friend.

This alone qualifies me as a complete idiot. Don't be me. Make time to go to Capitalist Pig.

Ron Buechele spent 20 years as a police officer with St. Louis County. Towards the end of his time on the force, he went back to school at Maryville University and picked up a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting and creating art had always been one of his passions, along with cooking. Ron grew up spending time in the kitchens with his Sicilian aunts learning their secrets and hearing stories about "the old country".

Towards the end of Buechele's time on the force he decided to jump headfirst into another venture he had in his head. He purchased the vacant building on the corner of 12th and Lami in Soulard that formerly housed the St. Louis Police Department's Third District headquarters. Being a resident himself of Soulard for 13 years by that time in 2000, Buechele was familiar with the building that had been vacant for a decade at that point. He envisioned somewhat of a communal space for artists where they could work in the shared space and display their creations.

While Buechele was living and breathing his gallery during the day and working the streets at night, he realized that his early vision simply wasn't the way to pay the bills. While Capitalist Pig was years away at that point, we can trace its existence back to that revelation. The Mad Art Gallery became a space that could be rented out for private events, such as weddings.

Mad Art Gallery became a trendy space for weddings with it's intact cells from its former days and its large main room, formerly the motor pool area for the police, with works from local artists adorning the walls. People loved the space for the weddings and other events but Buechele noticed a frequent gripe that often comes up at weddings. "The food really wasn't that good".

Buechele hadn't lost that passion for cooking that his aunts instilled in him long ago. He knew that he could cater the weddings himself and was confident the days of people complaining about the food at Mad Art weddings would be over. Ron opened up shop as a caterer. His plan worked and he ended up having to expand the kitchen at Mad Art.

The expanded kitchen was where Capitalist Pig was really born. Just like how the space originally came to be rented out for weddings, Buechele wanted to find a way to maximize revenue from the newly renovated kitchen. He spent about a year fine-tuning the concept for this venture. He knew he wanted his barbecue restaurant to be different than anything else in St. Louis.As many of his ingredients as possible would be purchased from local suppliers, he'd make as many things in-house as possible and locally-sourced meats would be as cruelty-free and sustainable as possible.

When Capitalist Pig first opened in 2012 it immediately received rave reviews. Then carry-out only, Byron Kerman of St. Louis Magazine called likened his visit to visiting the "Disneyland of meat".

It wasn't like I waited to visit until I could dine in at Capitalist Pig, it just happened that way. I told you earlier I'm an idiot for not trying it sooner.

On my visit, Buechele served me a generous portion of each of the meats on the menu, a Cubano sandwich, a hearty sample of each of the sides and a house-made pickle. All of the meats were delicious. My favorites were the house-made bacon (served like it was before the Industrial Revolution according to Buechele) and the smoked corned beef.

The pork belly bacon looked more like a ham steak and is like nothing you've ever tasted. Buechele wet-cures the bacon and smokes it. It's braised with a combination of bourbon, real maple syrup, mustard seeds, peppercorn and a couple other ingredients that are house secrets.

Diners have the option of using seven different house-made sauces. The choices range from House to Sweet & Smokey to Blackberry Ancho, Habanero Peach and more.

The Cubano was quite delicious. My dining mate said its the best sandwich of its kind she's had anywhere and it's not even close.

While I didn't get to try the burger on this visit, hearing Buechele talk about it has it on my agenda for this weekend. A burger isn't typically on the menu, but it does show up frequently as a special. The patty is always a brisket patty with a combination of spices and mustard and onions ground in. The burger that already sounds heavenly is then often topped with a slice of cheese and a slab of the house-made bacon.

How were the sides you ask? Delicious of course. I'm a sucker for Mac N' Cheese and the white cheddar version here exceeded expectations. The Capitalist Pig kitchen makes the dish throughout the day so it's always fresh for diners. The cheese sauce is a combination of Gruyere and English Cheddar cheeses.

The restaurant serves a unique slaw that should please just about everyone. It's made with mustardm vinegar, mayo, salt and pepper so, it pretty much hits all the points on the map.

Another unique side is the potato salad. Many of the dishes that Buechele creates come from his own likes and dislikes he's seen eating out on his own. The potatoes for this salad are cooked "home fry" style before being combined with the other ingredients like chocolate pickles. The hot combination is then dressed with a cold dressing when ordered. Those chocolate pickles? That'd be made from the house pickle that starts life as a cucumber at local Thies Farm.

Hungry yet? Capitalist Pig is open 11 am - 3 pm Wednesday to Sunday. Dinner is served on Thursday nights from 6 pm - 9 pm while trivia is going on in the main room. Plenty of seating is available in open areas of Mad Art Gallery, in the old jail cells and outside on their awesome patio. Buechele is particularly proud to say that although his staff numbers just 3, including himself, they are able to keep ticket times between 4 and 6 minutes on average. Capitalist Pig features a full bar with local and craft beers as well as an extensive array of bourbons. The team has a signature line of cocktails like a Bloody Mary with house-made mix and peppered vodka that's garnished with a house-made pickle. The Perfect Pickled Manhattan features pickle brine simple syrup.

Capitalist Pig and Mad Art Gallery just announced a summer music series that will see "The Pig" open on Friday evenings. The series kicks off on July 3 with live music from the Missouri Breaks blues band from 7:30-10 pm. Ron Buechele is also teaming up with St. Louis Distillery in July to host an event called Sowsed.

As if you weren't hungry enough, the brunch menu is available on Sundays. Along with Jax Cafe in Benton Park, this may be a new staple for me. I've been a sucker for hollandaise sauce since the great days of Build-A-Biscuit at Market Grill 1.0, Capitalist Pig features an Eggs Benedict dish with a cornbread biscuit topped with a poached egg, chili hollandaise and house-made ham. The house-made corned beef is featured in a corned beef & hash dish while the pork belly bacon is featured in a BLT with chipotle aioli You can get that brisket burger I talked about earlier topped with a slice of cheese and an egg. More traditional breakfast items are also available like a fried egg sandwich and salted caramel french toast.

Check out the Capitalist Pig website today. Don't be an idiot like I was. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter and make time to go there ASAP. You can also check them out in Johnny Fugitt's new book, The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Tap 'N' Run, Warrior Fest and More This Saturday In Soulard

Tap 'N' Run website

This Saturday, June 6, is packed pretty darn full here in Soulard. Here's what is going on.

  • Tap 'N' Run 4k
    • The annual "drunk run" as some like to call it goes on Saturday afternoon. Island neighbors are a big part of this thing getting put on. In fact, VOLUNTEERS are still needed for Saturday. This is a great way to meet your neighbors and help make money for the Soulard Restoration Group. I promise volunteering is not hard and actually you are almost guaranteed to have fun. Here's a traffic alert email sent out about Saturday's event. Here's the route map. Expect street closures along the route between 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm. There's no need to move your cars if they are parked there. If you are parked along the route and need to get out, don't expect to do it between those times.
  • Warrior Fest
    • This will be the second year for Warrior Fest outside of Big Daddy's. I went to this event last year and it was pretty awesome. The event benefits H.E.R.O.E.S. Care, which is a collection of charities that provide support to military families in their communities.The whole event runs from 11am-10pm. Fun stuff for the kids will be available from 11-3 with things like an inflatable dinosaur slide, face-painting, free comics and much more. There will also be various bands on stage playing Blues music and covers. Starting at 5 pm there will be more live music with sets from Divine Sorrow, Madison Rising and Midnight Reveille.The event is free to attend and there will be food and drink stands, raffles and silent auctions. One of those raffles will be for this awesome custom Rhino 308. Drew Ishmael will be emceeing at least a portion of the event. Drew is a guy who will really make you realize what the event is for and how our country is failing in regards to taking care of those who stand up for our freedoms.
  • March Against PTSD Pub Crawl
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among those who serve is a huge issue in this country that isn't really being adequately addressed. The 1st Annual March Against PTSD Pub Crawl will benefit PTSD treatment for Veterans. There will be food & drink specials at the various bars as well as a 50/50 raffle. The event will start at Trueman's Place and end at Cat's Meow where participants can then travel down to Warrior Fest for some live music.
  • Bar-Lympics
    • Good Luck Bar & Grill is hosting Bar-Lympics on Saturday afternoon. Teams of two will compete in Bag Toss, Jumbo Jenga, Washers, Beer Pong & Quarters. The winning team gets a $50 Goood Luck gift certificate. $10 entry fee for each 2-person team.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SeenInSoulard #132: Soulard Budweiser Coasters

Here's a coaster I got with my beer recently. Word is the Anheuser-Busch made custom coasters for several other neighborhoods in St. Louis as well.

It's definitely cool having this special Soulard coaster and I'm thankful that A-B did this. (Note: I've decided to no longer give InBev any credit for anything positive because they are killing Anheuser-Busch.) I feel like it is worth noting how different the sign is in reality versus the coaster. Here's the sign in the real world.

I'm sure there were probably some logistics behind not using "Soulard Farmers Market" on the coaster, but I just found that change a bit off when I first saw it. The coasters are still pretty cool to see around, however.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Opening Day Howards

When the clock strikes six this evening Judith Howard will likely breathe a sigh of relief. Those close to her will sigh in relief as well and probably shed a happy tear or two. Mom Howard will likely take up residency on her rocking chair wearing the proud smile of a Mother. USN Capt. Ronald C. Howard will give a proud nod from the heavens.

Other neighbors lined up outside Howard will probably lightly tap on the glass wondering when they can officially mosey on up to the bar or out to the patio. Howard In Soulard officially opens its doors to the public at 6 pm tonight, May 8 at 13th and Lynch. The space that previously housed the Hi-Way Bar has been beautifully restored into what will surely be a fantastic neighborhood gathering place.

For more on how Howards came to be, read my previous story.

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Howards soft opening last weekend and got to take some pictures as well. I never had the opportunity to go into the Hi-Way Bar when it was open but I heard from neighbors who did go they that they can't believe Judith and her team did this with that. A bar area is somewhat set off from a larger seating area, which also features a television and stage. The outdoor area features a deck as well as a large patio area. Mom Howard's statue gives the patio area its own uniqueness.

Steve Reed and Ross Bell will open things up acoustically for Howards from 6 pm - 8 pm tonight. The Alley Mutts will then play from 8 pm - 10 pm. Zero Friction will play on Saturday from 2 pm -6 pm and The Darrells will play at the same time on Sunday.

For more information on Howards, check out their Facebook page.

Monday, May 4, 2015

2015 SRG Membership Party This Wednesday

The Soulard Restoration Group typically has a general membership meeting on the first Wednesday of each month. The group forgoes its typical meeting in May every year to have its annual SRG Membership Party. This year's event will take place this Wednesday, May 6 at The Great Grizzly Bear.

The Soulard Restoration Group is immensely important to Soulard as its neighborhood residents' association and has been since its inception in 1972. The organization has a lot of influence within the city and has earned it.

The annual membership fee is $20 for individuals, $30 for a household or business and $1 for those over the age of $65. By joining or renewing at the Membership Party you get to partake in complimentary appetizers and select beer, wine and cocktails during the event. The bar will be open from 6pm -9pm and the appetizer buffet will open at 7pm. There will also be a 50/50 drawing.

This is a must-do event in Soulard. Bill Stack, the Grizzly owner, always puts on an excellent spread for the event and his bar features what is probably the best patio in Soulard. With the Cards and Cubs playing at 7:15 on Wednesday, the event will also be a great game to watch the ball game as it will be projected on the patio screen.

Even if you aren't totally committed to being an active member of the SRG and attending the monthly meetings right now, you need to go to this event.

Check out the event's Facebook page for more information.