Gut Check: NYC love for STL 'cue — and beer, beer, beer

Jun 3, 2009 at 4:00 am

Midtown barbecue joint Pappy's Smokehouse owner Mike Emerson has been invited to participate in this year's Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in New York City. The festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14.

"Our little garage band is opening for the Rolling Stones," Emerson joked when I called last week.

"They invited me last year," says Emerson. "I don't know how [organizer, restaurateur and St. Louis native] Danny Meyer found out about us. We just hoped that they would call again."

Festival officials have told Emerson to be prepared to serve 3,000 people each day. What will he and Skip Steele be feeding them?

"We felt obligated to do a St. Louis-style rib. Which is not what we're doing [at the restaurant]." The decision, Emerson explains, was made to forestall the inevitable questions: "You're from St. Louis, and you're not doing St. Louis-cut ribs?"

The invite is the latest in a long list of achievements for Pappy's, which celebrated its first birthday in February. Among these are an appearance earlier this year on the Travel Channel show Man v. Food and Riverfront Times awards last year for Best New Restaurant and Best Barbecue.

Adds Emerson: "If someone would have asked me [when Pappy's Smokehouse opened] what I expected? Not this."

Did my feature story this week about St. Louis' craft-beer boom make you thirsty? Well, you're in luck. As this article goes to press, we are halfway through the first annual St. Louis Craft Beer Week. Organized by STL Hops blogger Mike Sweeney, Craft Beer Week celebrates all things St. Louis and beer.

Remaining events include a party at the Wine & Cheese Place in Clayton at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to celebrate the release of Founder's Brewing Company beers in the St. Louis market, a lecture on the history of craft beer at the Schlafly Bottleworks at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and an O'Fallon beer tasting at the Missouri Botanical Garden from 5 to 9 p.m. also on Thursday. For a complete list of events, visit

This weekend also brings the annual Brewers Heritage Festival in Forest Park. If you haven't already bought tickets to the wildly popular event, you'd better visit right now. Tickets to the event's three sessions often sell out.

Are you opening a new restaurant? Know of a place that has closed? Something else for Ian to chew on? E-mail [email protected]. And check out this column's virtual doppelganger here.