Rockwell Beer Garden in Francis Park Opens Today

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Rockwell's highly-anticipated beer garden opens today in Francis Park. - COURTESY ROCKWELL BEER
Rockwell's highly-anticipated beer garden opens today in Francis Park.

Today is the day beer lovers — and really anyone who enjoys imbibing and snacking outdoors — has been waiting for. Rockwell Beer Company's Francis Park beer garden opens today, featuring pizzas, snacks, beverages and, most importantly, a lovely spot for enjoying one of the city's most beloved outdoor venues.

First announced this past May, the Rockwell Beer Garden occupies the 1929-era comfort center located near the park's tennis and pickleball courts. The renovated building will serve as the hub of Rockwell's operations in the park, which consists of a food counter featuring family-friendly dishes, adult beverages and N/A drinks, as well as an outdoor gathering space complete with tables, fire pits and pickleball rental equipment. The beer garden will be open, weather permitting, through mid-December, with hours announced via the brand's social media platforms.

“As a city resident who lives in the neighborhood, I made certain that creating a safe and welcoming environment was our top priority,” said Rockwell Beer Co. co-founder Heather Sanders in a release announcing today's opening. “Before we swung a hammer, we asked for input from residents and park users to make sure we were adding useful amenities to one of the city’s best parks. From new lighting and extensive facility upgrades to improved restrooms and an expanded patio with spacious seating and native plantings, this new interpretation of the comfort-center space respects the neighborhood’s history while enhancing visitors’ experience in the park. This project embraces David R. Francis’ original desire that the park bearing his name be used and maintained for recreational uses and purposes."

Rockwell Beer Garden's food offerings come from the talented hands of chef Michael Petres, who has worked at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in St. Louis, Araka, Balaban's, Terrine, and Niche Food Group, where he spent ten years with the company in various roles, including corporate executive chef. At the restaurant group's former concept, Porano, Petres was instrumental in developing a much-heralded pizza recipe, a background he draws upon for the beer garden's several pizza offerings, including the "Rockwell Margherita," the "Pepperoni Plus," and the "Broccwell," which features charred broccoli, onions and sweet peppers.

In addition to pizza, the beer garden will offer other dishes, such as chickpea dip, spinach and artichoke dip and a chopped salad. Beer from Rockwell Beer Company will be available, together with wine, cocktails and grab-and-go items.

“Our goal for this project is to recapture the sense of community and pride that has been a major component of this city’s history," said Rockwell Beef co-founder Chris Huls in the release. "St. Louis was once filled with beer gardens. Our hope is that this will be a catalyst for other public-private ventures throughout the city. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve built, and I can’t wait to welcome guests.”

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About The Author

Cheryl Baehr

Cheryl Baehr is the dining editor and restaurant critic for the Riverfront Times and an international woman of mystery. Follow her on the socials at @cherylabaehr
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