Edwardsville emerges as the metro area’s next foodie destination.
It used to be that fine dining aficionados residing on the east side of the Mississippi had to come to the Missouri shore to enjoy creative local cuisine. But those days have passed for the Edwardsville area, which has seen a boom in new eateries and an influx of St. Louis favorites like Robust Wine Bar, Mike Shannon’s, and Hendricks Smokehouse.
Edwardsville has always had some foodie cred. It’s home to places like 222 Artisan Bakery— which has been crafting breads and pastries and serving up quality breakfast and lunch fare since 2005—and artisan coffee roaster Goshen Coffee. But its food scene has blossomed further in recent years. Leading the current uptick in local independent restaurants is Cleveland Heath, the eatery from chefs Jennifer Cleveland and Eric Heath that serves up gourmet comfort food in the historic Boehm Building. Since opening in late 2011, the restaurant has racked up numerous local accolades, and its kale salad and cheeseburger have both attained near-legendary status.
Taking a cue from the success of these and other local players, some familiar names have been cropping up around Edwardsville, looking to make their presence known across the river. Robust Wine Bar opened its third location this summer in Edwardsville at 126 N. Main St. The space is the former home of Erato on Main, one of the town’s fine dining pioneers, which closed earlier in 2013. According to co-owner Stanley Browne, opening a Robust location in Edwardsville was a natural fit. “We just really like the community,” Browne says, adding that the town reminds him of Webster Groves, the home of the original Robust. “It gives people a chance to eat in their hometown instead of having to go to a chain restaurant or across into St. Louis.”
The team behind St. Louis favorite Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood opened a new upscale-casual concept, Mike Shannon’s Grill, last spring. The venue features an abundance of sports memorabilia from the personal collection of Shannon, a longtime Edwardsville resident, and a menu that ranges from sandwiches to prime cuts. Later this year, look for Hendricks Smokehouse to open in the space that once housed Rusty’s Restaurant at 1201 N. Main St. The barbecue joint is the latest project from In Good Company, the folks behind Sanctuaria Wild Tapas, Cafe Ventana, Diablitos and Hendricks BBQ.
Robust Wine Bar
Photo credit: Christopher Gibbons