Cork & Barrel owners will open 909 Public House in Wentzville

Cork & Barrel
owners Jill and Joel Ragan are heading west with their next restaurant. 909 Public House will open in mid-June at 909 Main Plaza Drive in Wentzville.

“We really feel like Wentzville is an up-and-coming trendy area,” said general manager Michelle Hanson. “It’s kind of an untapped market right now, but I feel like it’s about to explode.”

909 Public House won’t be Cork & Barrel 2. Hanson said the 175-seat space will be more laid-back with a full bar and 45 beers on tap. The menu will showcase upscale Southern fare, Cork & Barrel executive chef Candice Poss’ specialty. Dishes are still in development, but Hanson said Poss is playing with Southern twists on familiar favorites.

“Today she was shooting me ideas for octopus tacos and fried chicken skins,” Hanson said.

Poss will helm both kitchens with the aid of sous chefs, and Hanson and Cork & Barrel mixologist James Nahm will also divide their time between the two restaurants.

The 5,800-square-foot space that once housed Highway 40 Brews will also feature steampunk-inspired decor. Hanson said the design pays tribute to Wentzville’s history in the railroad industry. 

“We were trying to think of ways to make it different, because Wentzville is heavily inundated with sports bars,” Hanson said. “We’ve been going to thrift shops and the Wentzville flea market and finding gears and divers helmets.” 

The restaurant will open with full lunch and dinner service, as well as weekend brunch. 

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine.