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Lawrence Group Crafting Barbecue Concept Restaurant in St. Louis’ Historic City Foundry Development

by Lawrence Group

Integrate Construction Partners (Integrate) started construction in February on a 16,000-square-foot, globally inspired barbecue concept in St. Louis’ City Foundry STL development. Owned and operated by James Beard Award-winning Chef Gerard Craft of Niche Food Group, Expat BBQ will serve as Niche’s fourth, and largest restaurant concept at City Foundry when it opens in fall 2024.

Lawrence Group Architects designed the concept restaurant which will be located on the south side of Foundry Way with an entrance just east of City Foundry’s Food Hall. City Foundry STL is a transformative “live, work, play” community featuring a food hall, movie theater, shops and more located in St. Louis’ growing midtown neighborhood. Developed by St. Louis-based New + Found, the $217 million adaptive reuse of former Century Foundry is one of the largest historic redevelopments in St. Louis history.

The three-story concept restaurant will include a 100-seat, full-service dining room on the first floor; a second-floor mezzanine for private events; and a more casual dining experience on the third floor utilizing kiosks and app-based ordering. The third floor will also feature an expansive bar, live music stage, and an outdoor terrace patio for over 70 guests.

Interior rendering of Expat BBQ at City Foundry STL

Expat BBQ will utilize techniques from U.S. barbecue, inspired by spices, marinades and fruits from around the world such as Brazil, Thailand, Morocco and Australia. St. Louis favorites such as brisket, pork butt and St. Louis-style ribs will also be on the menu, as well as a variety of plant-based offerings.

The design concept pulls elements from various cultures to create a rich and dynamic atmosphere that complements the restaurant’s diverse menu offerings.

“The overall design of the space was inspired by the conceptual menu created by Chef Gerard Craft. To create an eclectic mixture of authentic BBQ grilled concepts from all over the world, while incorporating both traditional and modern concepts, he drew inspiration from areas like Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. He was often inspired by the concept of spice markets and how they would combine culture influences from around the globe,” said Lawrence Group Interior Designer Dana Peck, NCIDQ. “Overall, the goal was to create a vibrant and inviting atmosphere that reflects the eclectic nature of the menu and transports diners on a culinary journey around the world.”

Interior rendering of Expat BBQ at City Foundry STL

Peck further describes the restaurant’s design as a fusion of global culinary influences and travel. Vibrant, colorful patterns and textiles are integrated into the design elements throughout the space. Natural elements such as wood and lush greenery create an inviting atmosphere. The bold color palette is inspired by spice markets and exotic locales – deep blues and green create an intimate feeling on the first floor dining area, while bright pinks and blues create a livelier and more energetic atmosphere for the indoor/outdoor terrace on the second level.

A life-sized, concrete pink elephant, which requires structural modifications to support its 4,900-lb weight, will serve as the restaurant’s unofficial mascot to greet customers and provide a fun backdrop for pictures.