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Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Tenderloin Room and Byrd & Barrel's Cherokee Street Location Are Closing

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 7:55 AM

Byrd & Barrell and the Tenderloing Room, are closing their doors, says owner Bob Brazell. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • CHERYL BAEHR
  • Byrd & Barrell and the Tenderloing Room, are closing their doors, says owner Bob Brazell.

The Cherokee Street location of Byrd & Barrel and the Tenderloin Room in the Chase Park Plaza are closing. The last day of service at both restaurants is Sunday.

Owner Bob Brazell announced the closures in a Facebook post last night, noting the difficulties that the restaurant industry has faced since the COVID-19 outbreak revealed itself to St. Louis this past March.



"We all know that 2020 has been a tough year for many, especially those in the hospitality industry," Brazell writes. "As a restaurant group we have adapted and pivoted at every point of change throughout the year. We fought through substantial losses and changed business models to keep our doors open and our teams working. Some of these changes worked and some were lessons learned."

As Brazell explains, the decision to close the Cherokee neighborhood Byrd & Barrel and the Tenderloin Room centered on his desire to minimize the losses from operating at less than half of the restaurants' normal revenue. In doing so, he hopes that both restaurants can reopen when the industry returns to pre-pandemic business levels.

Regardless of when that happens, Byrd & Barrel will not reopen its Cherokee Street location. Instead, Brazell announced that he is currently working with contractors and designers on a buildout for a new, much larger Byrd & Barrel located near Hampton Avenue and Watson Road, in the former Bobby's Place.

While Byrd & Barrel is on track to reopen at some point in a new spot, the Tenderloin Room's future remains less certain. Brazell emphasizes in the Facebook post that the restaurant will be back, but the time for that is unknown.

Brazell opened Byrd & Barrel on Cherokee in 2015, converting a former Popeye's into an irreverent indie fried chicken joint. It is not a health food spot by any stretch of the imagination, but Brazell wanted Byrd & Barrel to serve as a local alternative to the fast food restaurants up and down Jefferson that could stand as an example of how to do comfort food well.

Building on the success of Byrd & Barrel, Brazell, together with his partners Rick DeStefane and Ben Strake, purchased the Tenderloin Room from its longtime owners last year, breathing new life into the iconic space. Though the restaurant opened with much fanfare this past December, the swanky digs have proven difficult to convert to a COVID-19 business model. Brazell remains hopeful, however, that the restaurant will again serve guests at some point.

"We are doing this now so that we can reopen when the time is right and things get closer to normal," Brazell says.

Brazell's full statement can be read below.

We all know that 2020 has been a tough year for many, especially those in the hospitality industry. As a restaurant group we have adapted and pivoted at every point of change throughout the year. We fought through substantial losses and changed business models to keep our doors open and our teams working. Some of these changes worked and some were lessons learned. We would like to thank you all for your continued support. We are making the very difficult decision to shut down operations at these two locations in order to minimize the losses that occur from operating at less than half of our normal revenue. We are doing this now, so that we can reopen when the time is right and things get closer to normal.

As for Byrd & Barrel, while we are closing the doors at our Jefferson location we are currently undergoing our re-model at our new location in South City located at Hampton and Watson. It is the old home of Bobby’s Place. We are working with our talented team of contractors, architects, and designers to bring you the same funky and fun atmosphere you have seen from us over the years. This space is more than 4 times the size of our current location. We can’t wait for you all to see it!!! Special thanks to Jason Deem, Cara Spencer, and all of our amazing friends and neighbors from the Cherokee area. Building Byrd & Barrel into what it is today has been a lifelong dream come true for me and I am so thankful for the outpouring of support you all have shown us over the years. It has seriously been the hardest, yet at the same time the best 6 years of my life. I just can’t thank you all enough. So please come hit up the drive thru or hang on the patio this weekend and grab some of your Byrd & Barrel favorites for the last time (for a while). We will see you at the new location.

As for Tenderloin Room our last service will be this Sunday as well. Please make a reservation if you can and come enjoy our amazing food and hospitality. WE WILL BE BACK. When the time is right we will make our re-opening announcement. We would like to thank Sonesta for being a great partner while we navigated through all of this. I would also like to personally thank my business partners Ben Strake and Rick DeStefane for always having my back and sticking through all of this with me. As a team we put everything we have into our locations. Without their support and understanding we probably would have never re-opened. Most of all I want to thank our amazing staff. I don’t even like saying staff....they are our family. You all have been outstanding throughout all of this and you kept the level of hospitality that we shoot for during these troubling times.

Thank you all again for everything and for understanding why we have to make this very difficult decision. See you all soon. Feel free to visit our other concepts and new patio at Nomad STL and Tamm Ave Bar in Dogtown.
We are hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at cheryl.baehr@riverfronttimes.com.

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