Winfields Gathering Place

Jim Edmonds has a hit with his new barbecue-and-sports venue.

 

Within a few weeks of its January opening, Winfield’s Gathering Place started living up to its name—and it hasn’t looked back. From the street, the former Panera Bread space in Kirkwood looks nondescript. But locals know that a couple of their neighbors—former Cards player Jim Edmonds and his business partner, Mark Winfield—have a hit on their hands, and they’re flocking to check it out.

The concept at Winfield’s is part barbecue joint, part sports bar, part suburban family-friendly eatery. It succeeds on all fronts, and the combination ensures that no one ever leaves disappointed.

Gather to Eat Our server was quick to mention that everything is house-made. The signature barbecue item is Dad’s ribs, same as you’ll find at Edmonds’ and Winfield’s Downtown restaurant, The Precinct. In a clever marketing move, the restaurant offers ribs at $4 a pair. It’s worthwhile to add it to the bill, whether you’re noshing on an entree, salad or appetizers. But if the ribs run out— and it happens, especially on weekends—there are plenty of other tempting menu options.

Another carryover item from The Precinct’s chef Ben Welch is the barbecue Carolina steakburger, piled high with smoked brisket and served with Alabama White Sauce, a barbecue sauce that’s mayo-based and horseradish-spiked. The sauce is one of three bottles offered on every table: The second has a touch of heat and the third, Winfield’s house sauce, has a hint of sweet. The tender brisket sandwich makes a great vehicle for trying out each of the sauces.

The chipotle-beer-cheese sauce accompanying the steamed cauliflower and broccoli elevates the side to new heights. The jalapeño-cheddar au gratin potatoes has a nice zing from the peppers, but the coleslaw is the better choice—especially when it’s touted as Grandma’s recipe.

For sports fans, shareable dishes go beyond standard bar-and-grill fare. Favorites include buffalo chicken flatbread, buttermilk onion rings, charred tomato salsa and a caprese baguette with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. There’s also a kids menu if you’re bringing along the little ones—and if they’re lucky, the hostess will pop by to lend the most restless of them a tablet for games.

Gather to Drink Many of the draft beers are on the lighter side and not overly hoppy—and thus pair well with barbecue and bar food. Local microbrewers, like Schlafly, 4 Hands, UCBC and Kirkwood Station, are on tap alongside national and international beers including saisons, pale ales, IPAs and even Guinness, which is touted in the UK as an excellent food pairing with short ribs.

The bartenders’ best skill is keeping the drinks flowing to match the pace of the game on the big screens. The martini selection, which includes flavors like chocolate, mint, raspberry and apple, and mixed drinks are crowd-pleasers on the weekends when friends hang out for a few hours at the bar.

Edmonds and Winfield have been in the restaurant business for a while now. They operated the Downtown Jim Edmonds 15 Steakhouse for several years, then kept the location and morphed the concept into a more casual restaurant, The Precinct. Their build-out of the Winfield’s space unrecognizable to anyone who knew it as a Panera—shows their understanding of their target demographic: diners who want casual food without a casual feel. The restaurant and bar match those expectations with design touches like dark wood tables, iron barstools and a gas fireplace built into the glass dividing wall. Plus, there’s plenty of napkins at every table for those finger-lickin’ ribs.

 

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photo by Jennifer Silverberg

6084_1883.jpg

photo by Jennifer Silverberg

 

Photo credit: Jennifer Silverberg

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