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Feb 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘expansion’

Civil Life will expand brewery, tasting room in 2018

Monday, October 9th, 2017



Civil Life Brewing Co. is poised to expand its operations. As reported by NextStl, owner Jake Hafner has announced plans to build an additional facility next door.

As The Scoop reported in October 2016, Hafner purchased the former auto body shop last year with the intent to tear it down, though he wasn’t sure what he’d do with the land at the time.

A year later, Hafner’s plans have evolved. He said the entire project will include two new bars, a canning facility and a small retail space, along with improvements to the existing Civil Life location. The surrounding property will also include new sidewalks, curbs and streetlights. The current Civil Life location will remain open during construction.

Hafner said demolition of the structure should take place in April or May 2018, and he’s still determining how much of the expansion project to tackle at once. If he decides to start with the canning facility, Hafner said it could be completed as early as fall 2018. The entire expansion will take at least nine months.

“We know we’re doing something, we’re just not sure if we can afford to do the whole project at one time,” he said. “Whether or not we do the whole project or we phase it in – that’s the decision to be made.”

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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First Look: 4 Hands Brewing Co.’s new tasting room

Friday, July 22nd, 2016



One day in late June, a staircase appeared in 4 Hands Brewing Co.’s tasting room. It was the last element of the massive expansion, one that tasting room manager Cyle Lunsfordhodson said required drilling through solid concrete to construct. The brewery quietly opened the new space to the public a month ago.

As The Scoop reported in January, the tasting room expansion is the first of several projects on tap for the 5-year-old brewery. The space, which once housed 4 Hands’ wine and spirit barrels and pallets stacked high with thousands of cans, now more than doubles the brewery’s seating capacity. A second bar upstairs will offer nearly the same number of taps as downstairs, and two 70-gallon serving vessels suspended above the bar are set to soon pour the brewery’s most popular beers, City Wide and Single Speed.

A new menu has debuted with the new space. The Fifth Wheel, which is owned by Baileys’ Restaurants, helms the kitchen at the brewery and has swapped larger sandwiches for more snackable items, like chips and guacamole, street corn and a la carte tacos. All tacos feature ingredients made with 4 Hands’ beers, like the Incarnation Asada with skirt steak marinated in the Incarnation IPA and Pastors at War with Warhammer-infused pastor sauce.

Patrons of the new tasting room can also relive their mall arcade glory days with six cabinets including Tapper, Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. There are also two skee-ball machines available, and a custom Contact High pinball machine is in the works. Here’s a look at what to expect when you climb the new stairs at 4 Hands:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

The Scoop: LuLu Asian Kitchen to open in Olivette and Rock Hill

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016



Expansion has been the theme this year for LuLu Seafood and Dim Sum, which recently launched its first food truck and, as reported by St. Louis Magazine, plans to open two locations this fall called LuLu Asian Kitchen. They will feature a pared down, casual menu with items that food truck and LuLu Fresh Express customers will recognize.

“We learned a lot selling at Dierbergs and at the food truck,” said Julia Li. “We learned that people want orange chicken and crab rangoon.”

In addition to Americanized Chinese dishes, the menu will see rotating authentic Chinese dishes as well as LuLu Seafood classics like steam buns and pot stickers.

The Olivette location will be at 9626 Olive Blvd., while the Rock Hill restaurant will be located at 9737 Manchester Road. Coincidentally, the building on Manchester used to house a Chinese restaurant at which Li’s mother took her first job after immigrating to the United States in 1993.

Li eventually plans to expand LuLu Asian Kitchen out of state, starting with locations in Chicago and Miami.


The Scoop: Spare No Rib to move to larger space, expand Egg

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016



Get ready to brunch (and barbecue) hard, St. Louis. Spare No Rib is set to move to a new location in South City in mid-August, while its brunch concept Egg takes over the original Spare No Rib space at 2200 Gravois Ave., in Benton Park.

Since owner Lassaad Jeliti hatched the idea for a Sunday brunch pop-up at Spare No Rib in fall 2014, he said intended to expand the two concepts. “We could have done breakfast under Spare No Rib, but I gave (Egg) a different name to have an opportunity to split them apart,” Jeliti said.

The new location for Spare No Rib had to be near its current customer base in Benton Park, Tower Grove, Lafayette Square and Soulard. Jeliti found his opportunity in a freestanding building at 3701 S. Jefferson Ave., previously occupied by Lucky Buddha.

The Jefferson Avenue location will raise Spare No Rib’s capacity to about 60 seats and add outdoor seating from two patio spaces. The menu won’t change initially, but Jeliti is open to extending the hours and adjusting the menu at some point. “I’m going to let the space tell me what to do with it,” he said.

Egg and Spare No Rib are expected to open as separate restaurants next month. Spare No Rib will maintain its regular hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the new location.

Egg will serve its usual brunch menu on weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will shift to quick breakfasts and lunch items Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Scoop: Seoul Taco rolls out second truck

Friday, June 24th, 2016


Seoul Taco is on a roll this year. Owner David Choi opened the fourth Seoul Taco location in Chicago just three weeks ago, and announced today that a second food truck will hit the streets in STL this Monday, June 27. The popularity of the original truck at private events, food truck events and lunch service made a Seoul sister the most logical expansion step.

“The (food truck’s) whole summer was fully booked by February,” Choi said. “We’ve been to some really good lunch spots with the blue truck, but with our bookings could only make it to those places every other month.”

The menu at the new red truck will feature Choi’s signature Korean barbecue street food with the potential for some additional creativity. And that creativity is not confined to the menu: Choi has partnered with The St. Louis MetroMarket, a nonprofit mobile food market bringing fresh food to our city’s food deserts. On MetroMarket Mondays, all proceeds from the red Seoul Taco truck will benefit the mobile market.

“Relationships are so important,” Choi said. “The partnerships we have and being involved in the community is part of what’s helped us grow. It’s about connecting with people and the community.”

Weekly schedules for both Seoul Taco trucks will be announced Sundays on Twitter and on Seoul Taco’s website.

The Scoop: Seoul Taco to open in Chicago

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016



Northward expansion continues for Seoul Taco, as owner David Choi announced he’ll open a fourth location of the Korean-Mexican fast casual restaurant at 738 N. Clark St., in Chicago’s trendy, art-centric River North neighborhood.

“The River North neighborhood is a vibrant neighborhood,” Choi said. “People are moving back into that area, and we found a spot that I fell in love with.”

Choi said he hopes to open the 80-seat restaurant at the end of May, and its menu will feature the familiar tacos, bowls, burritos, quesadillas and nachos currently available at the other locations in St. Louis, Columbia, Missouri and Champaign, Illinois.

Choi has no immediate plans to open a fifth location, nor does he rule it out. “Things have been coming in waves,” he said. “If an opportunity comes, I’ll always look into it.”

For the moment, the search for a new location for Seoul Q is on hold, but Choi said he plans to resume the hunt after getting the Chicago location up and running.

Choi is not the only former food truck-only establishment heading north. Guerrilla Street Food is also on the hunt for a brick-and-mortar location in Chicago.

-photo by Michelle Volansky 


The Scoop: Guerrilla Street Food to open Chicago location

Monday, March 14th, 2016



Guerrilla Street Food plans to blow into the windy city this year and open its second location in Chicago. Co-owner Brian Hardesty said that although the St. Louis brick-and-mortar opened just last summer, the expansion plans have been in the works for a while.

“The plan has always been to expand,” Hardesty said. “We don’t want to wait another four years to open another location, and we’ve been itching to get into Chicago for the longest time.”

Hardesty and business partner Joel Crespo launched the Filipino food truck in 2011, then opened a brick-and-mortar spot at 3559 Arsenal St., in July 2015. While Hardesty said they are still shopping for locations, they intend to open in Chicago’s urban core in a space that will accommodate around 40 diners.

The menu will largely stay the same, featuring Guerrilla Street favorites like chicken adobo and The Flying Pig. However, Hardesty said hiring  a new chef for the Chi-town location will bring opportunities for different dishes. “We’re open to collaborate with anyone, whether they’re experienced or new to Filipino food,” he said.

Don’t expect Chicago to be the end of the expansion; Hardesty said he and Crespo hope to open locations in up to eight cities in the coming years.


The Scoop: 4 Hands to add spirits line, expand current facility

Thursday, January 21st, 2016




It’s shaping up to be a busy year for 4 Hands Brewing Co., as the brewery announced plans today, Jan. 21, to increase production and dip its toe into the spirits market. Owner Kevin Lemp said the brewery will add 30 more barrels, additional fermenters and an additional tasting room to its current space at 1220 S. Eighth St.

“This will be the last big expansion,” Lemp said. “We want to be an inch wide and a mile deep and serve the customers in our market. We’re not interested in expanding into 20 different markets.”

With more space, 4 Hands is also adding a distillery. Recipe development is underway, and Lemp said the brewery plans to produce seasonal gins, barrel-aged gins and whiskey. 4 Hands will produce two seasonal gins this year – a spring-summer gin with a citrus-forward profile and a fall-winter gin that will be more botanical and herbaceous. The barrel-aged gin will also likely be a winter release.

Many of the ingredients in the spirits will be familiar to 4 Hands fans. “We’ll use rye in our whiskey because rye features in our flagship Divided Sky,” said Lemp. “We may use jasmine in a gin since we use jasmine in our Single Speed.”

Look for the spring-summer gin to be available in the second quarter of 2016.



The Scoop: Seoul Q to move, Seoul Taco to expand

Monday, January 4th, 2016



With lines at both restaurants growing quicker than expected, Seoul Taco and Seoul Q owner David Choi said he will expand Seoul Taco into Seoul Q’s space on The Loop, prompting a temporary closure and relocation of the Korean barbecue restaurant on Jan. 16. The sister restaurants currently share a space at 6665 Delmar Blvd. Renovations are expected to last until mid-February, and Seoul Taco will remain open during the remodel.

“I was (at Seoul Taco) for lunch for myself,” Choi said. “I saw a line and saw people sitting on Seoul Taco and Seoul Q’s side. That’s when I knew I could do something about that.”

Seoul Taco will expand into Seoul Q’s space, allowing Choi to expand the kitchen and the dining room. He hopes to add seating for another 75 to 80 diners, bringing the restaurant’s capacity to 150 patrons.

Choi is still looking for Seoul Q’s new location. “I really am looking for a bigger dining room,” he said. “One that can accommodate more diners so people don’t have to wait for an hour-and-a-half or two hours just to sit down … I need to find a space that is to my standard. If we find the right space in the right area, we’ll jump on it.”

Choi relocated Seoul Taco and opened Seoul Q in December 2014. He also owns the Seoul Taco food truck and locations in Columbia and is set to open a third in Champaign, Illinois this year.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman 


The Scoop: The Civil Life purchases neighboring building

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015




The Civil Life Brewing Co. announced today, Oct. 13, that owner Jake Hafner has purchased the vacant auto body shop next door and has grand plans – to tear it down

After working with city officials and surrounding businesses, Hafner said he was able to acquire the building in anticipation of growth. The immediate plans, though, are to raze the building and expand the parking lot. “There are no guaranteed plans for expansion,” he said. “If draft sales increase, we have the space to add on, and our bar business is doing really well, so we could expand there. We’re in this for the long haul.”

Whether the brewery adds production or brewpub space, Hafner plans to let expansion happen naturally. “I guess I’m kind of old-fashioned when it comes to growth,” he said. The newly acquired building will come down and the parking lot expanded in 2016.





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