Bootleggin’ Tavern is moving from downtown St. Louis to Forest Park Southeast this spring
Bootleggin’ Tavern will move from its current location at 1933 Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis to 4501 Chouteau Ave., the former home of Golden Grocer, in southeast Forest Park, just north of the Grove. The restaurant will keep much of the same menu after the move, which is scheduled for the spring, likely March or April.
Co-owner Brenton Brown has been involved in the Bootleggin’ Tavern journey since its inception as a caterer in 2006. In 2015, the company took over the kitchen of The Pour House downtown and later took over the entire space in 2016.
“An opportunity arose with one of our investors; they [own the building] where we’re moving to,” Brown said. “Emotions run deep, so it’s sad…for the community that we lost Golden Grocer due to Covid. But at the same time, we have to make the right business decisions.”
The new 2,500-square-foot space offers a litany of updates to the current 1,900-square-foot space with seating availability increasing from 50 to 60 seats. In addition, the new location has a room that can be rented for birthday parties and meetings. The room will be equipped with Chromecast televisions, so that presentations and slide shows can be shown.
“It’s going to be a custom build,” Brown said. “We can build it to maximize space [and] kitchen efficiency. There are many things we can do to make it a better and more efficient customer experience.”
More importantly, at its core, the Bootleggin’ experience revolves around customers. When Bootleggin’ Tavern started, it used to focus on barbecue, but after listening to customer feedback, Bootleggin’ Tavern became a hub for “burgers and apps, barbecue and burritos,” according to Brown. Now the restaurant’s hottest seller is the chicken wings, which are rubbed, smoked, fried and sautéed with sauce. In particular, customers love the wings mixed with Bang Sauce, a mix of barbecue and Buffalo sauce.
“They wanted more stuff, so we started adding stuff to the menu,” Brown said. “Customers asked and we listened, and obviously you have to go with the flow. [The customers], they made this place.”
The restaurant will retain many elements of the current space when relocated, including game streaming televisions and arcade games. Hours of operation at the new location will be 11 am to 11 pm Monday through Sunday.
“I’m excited to meet the people in the neighborhood,” said Brown. “This has been the most fun part of doing this: being in the area, meeting customers, hearing their stories and being a part of their lives. There’s a whole new neighborhood for us to explore.”
There will be one last hurrah on the last day of service at the downtown location on January 29. Details are still being worked out, but Brown anticipates a full offer.