Rockwell Beer Co. opens beautiful new beer garden in Francis Park (south of St. Louis), after overcoming local opposition
St. Louis’ Rockwell Beer Co. recently announced the opening day of the Rockwell Beer Garden in Francis Park. Like many things in life, this did not happen without obstacles.
Located in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood south of St. Louis, Rockwell Beer Garden will offer a family menu that includes thin crust pizzas, salads, dips, snacks and take out, as well as a selection of craft beers from the brewer + wines and cocktails. The term “family-friendly” was needed to help convince locals to allow beer-garden. “The neighborhood that borders the park includes tree-lined streets, a school, churches on every corner, and many well-maintained homes,” according to its website. Some residents feared the beer garden would bring a drunken element to the 60-acre city park.
From the local Fox 2:
“It’s just going to bring in elements of hooligans and other people who will destroy the park,” said Nick Riggio, neighbor of Francis Park.
After being very convincing by the owners, the city of St. Louis granted the company a liquor license earlier this month.
Finally, at the end of the season, the beer garden will be open, weather permitting, until mid-December. The days and times will be posted weekly on social media and the Rockwell Beer website.
The walk-in food court, concession stand and outdoor dining / gathering space are located in and around a fully rehabilitated and reimagined 1929 ‘comfort center’ building, adjacent to the Francis Park tennis and pickleball courts. It looks gorgeous (see here) and apparently it was an old cafe. The City of St. Louis Parks Department recently added four pickleball courts to the park in addition to resurfacing existing tennis courts. Rockwell will offer pickleball equipment rentals to customers who want to play one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. It was part of the idea here. Not to bring hooliganism to this magnificent green space, but a few concessions and rental reductions. Of Fox 2 again:
“The main focus of what is happening in the park is to provide concession and rental equipment for the pickleball and tennis courts. Obviously a brewery operates it, but the city of Saint-Louis, when it awarded it, as they told me, felt that we were the best candidate and that we could do it as a responsible operator ”, Nick Sanders, Rockwell Bewer [sic] The company’s lawyer said.
From a press release via Rockwell Beer:
“As a city resident who lives in the neighborhood, I made sure that creating a safe and welcoming environment was our top priority,” said Heather Sanders, co-founder of Rockwell Beer Co. of hitting a hammer, we asked the advice of residents and park users to make sure we were adding useful amenities to one of the best parks in town. From new lighting and significant upgrades to facilities to improved washrooms and an expanded patio with spacious seating and native plantings, this new interpretation of the comfort center space respects the history of the neighborhood while enhancing the experience of residents. visitors to the park. This project embraces David R. Francis’ initial desire that the park bearing his name be used and maintained for recreational purposes ”.
Earlier this summer, Rockwell hired Chef Michael Petres as Culinary Director to develop the Beer Garden’s food program. Petres is a veteran of the St. Louis culinary scene, having served at the Ritz-Carlton, Balaban’s, ARAKA and Terrene. He spent 10 years with Niche Food Group, reaching the position of Corporate Executive Chef overseeing all of the company’s culinary operations. Rockwell has also appointed longtime team member Nancy Etzkorn as General Manager of The Beer Garden. Etzkorn was one of the first employees of Rockwell’s Tasting Room at The Grove and went on to develop the successful concept of the To-Go-Beer brewery.
The place looks amazing and has great staff. We hope all goes well and we will keep you posted.