beast southern kitchen & bbq in columbia, illinois photo by michelle volansky

Beast Southern Kitchen & BBQ will open this Sunday in Columbia, Illinois

Hot off the heels of being named one of the best butcher shops in the country by Food & Wine, the Beast Craft BBQ Co. group will open its third spot, Beast Southern Kitchen & BBQ, this Sunday, Dec. 6, at 1280 Columbia Center in Columbia, Illinois.

Husband-and-wife duo and co-owners David and Meggan Sundusky – who also own Beast Craft BBQ Co. in Belleville, Illinois, and Beast Butcher & Block in the Grove – aim to provide something unique at each spot, and this location is no different.

“We’re not into doing carbon-copy restaurants; we want them to have their own personality and reason for existing beyond just taking another group’s money in a different location,” David Sundusky said. “We wanted to do something that would allow us to explore barbecue in a different light and do some additional things we’ve wanted to do a for a long time that don’t make sense at the other spots. You’re going to see more of this as we go forward where the three locations really diverge and become even more different from the others.”

Some of the smoked meats available at the other locations, including a massive, 30-ounce pork steak, will be available at the new spot, but the Sanduskys look forward to introducing new items like a cherry-smoked pit ham, a smoked chuck-eye and a ham and beans dish inspired by Sandusky’s mother’s recipe.

“I’m really excited to have just a badass ham and beans on the menu,” he said. “I grew up with my mother cooking that all the time, and it’s just a classic. There’s nothing that really makes it super unique; we didn’t add some weird thing to it. We just really wanted to nail a great ham and beans and cornbread, and that’s indicative of our style of most of what we do. We’re not necessarily looking to spend a ton of time recreating the wheel and trying to create things for shock value. We focus on putting out the most amazing product we can.”

As for the chuck-eye, Sundusky explained, “We’re trying something a little different with beef right now. Instead of brisket, we’re doing something totally new with chuck-eye – smoking it on white oak to about 130 degrees and putting it on a high-heat grill and charring the outside, grilling and basting it. It comes across similar to a tri-tip, but the quality of it could be compared to a rib-eye. It’s very tender and well-marbled with a ton of beefy flavor.”

The new spot will also allow for the first bar in the award-winning Beast group, though it likely won’t open until indoor dining is allowed again per pandemic-related operating restrictions. “It will be a whiskey-forward full bar,” Sandusky said. “We’re not setting out to be pretentious in any way. At end of the day, we’re just as excited to share a Budweiser with someone as a higher-end whiskey.” 

The new space is roughly 3,500 square feet, right in the middle of the other two locations. (The Belleville spot is about 2,400 square feet, while the Grove is about 5,700 square feet.) Sandusky said the atmosphere in Columbia is very warm and homey. “It’s about hospitality and making people feel comfortable in the space, sharing stories and making new memories. It’s absolutely one of a kind compared to the other locations,” he said.

Initially, Beast Southern Kitchen & BBQ will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week for takeout and delivery until indoor dining is allowed again, at which time the hours will likely expand. Delivery will be available within the Columbia area code of 62236, but the radius may eventually grow. Click here to order online. A small patio is slated to open in the spring, and the dining room will have space for nearly 100 guests without capacity restrictions. 

“It takes guts to open a restaurant during normal times, so to do it during Covid seems insane, but we took our chances that this is going to be over sometime in 2021,” Sandusky said. “We hope that we can build a broader foundation for our company in general by getting in right now.”