Florissant food bus Mann Meats will open brick-and-mortar barbecue eatery

Bob Mannecke is taking his North St. Louis County food truck Mann Meats to a new brick-and-mortar home at 300 St. Ferdinand St. in Florissant. The restaurant will host a soft opening tomorrow, Feb. 16.

He and his wife, Holly Mannecke, launched Mann Meats out of a converted school bus just over a year ago. The idea of moving to a permanent space surfaced during Thanksgiving, when he took holiday catering orders for brisket.

“Within a few days, we sold 15 or 20 briskets for Thanksgiving, but my commissary was closed for the holidays,” he said. “So I started looking to partner with other restaurants.”

He didn’t expect to open his own brick-and-mortar a couple months later, but ultimately decided it’d be better for his brand to stay independent. When the landlord of the St. Ferdinand Street property (a former Sho Me BBQ) contacted him, Mannecke jumped on the opportunity.

“He called me at 9,” Mannecke said. “We met at 11, sat there until 1 and saw how many people drove through the parking lot looking for lunch.”

Frequent features among Mannecke’s rotating menu will include smoked brisket, bratwursts and hamburgers featuring his signature spice blend and Fork Steak, a slow-smoked, thick-cut pork steak he said he will replace if a customer needs a knife.

“I want to keep it simple,” he said. “I don’t want to add a whole bunch of things to the menu and get into inventory issues and waste issues.”

Mannecke said he neighboring Helfer’s Pastries and Deli Café will provide his bread, and a local butcher shop will make his custom brats and burgers. There will be 10 to 15 seats in an interior Mannecke is renovating to look like the bus.

Mann Meats will serve barbecue daily from 11 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. or until he sells out. Mannecke isn’t scheduling the truck for regular service until March or April but wants to keep it available for lunch hours and special events. Until the grills are installed at the new location, Mannecke said he will use the truck’s kitchen to supply the restaurant.

James Boeckmann is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine.