Burger 809’s founder Tasha Smith knows all fries are not created equal. She’s laughing, but she is dead serious about the extensive research she’s put into the partner to her bite-sized burgers. Fries are a new adventure for Smith, as is her newly minted partnership with Bluewood Brewing (1821 Cherokee Street; 314-261-4079)
The new partnership was just announced on social media late Wednesday night where both Bluewood Brewing
and Burger 809
took to Facebook to shout the good news. The grand opening of the partnership is scheduled for January 21 at 11:30 a.m.
Bluewood Brewing has been absent of a companion since Mac's Local Eats closed up shop
in the brewery in August. According to Grant Lodholz, co-founder of Bluewood Brewing, the brewery had been looking for a new partner since Mac's exit that was not only local, but within the Cherokee Street neighborhood. When Burger 809 was recommended to Lodholz and the team at Bluewood, they decided to check it out.
“So, we went in there, and it was the best greens and best sliders we’ve ever had,” Lodholz said. “Not only that, once we realized her food was amazing, we just loved how [Smith] treated everyone. She brought so much warmth to the place, and we were like ‘This would be a great addition.”
Conversations between Smith and Bluewood began after those fateful trips. Smith credits Cherokee Street's tight knit community and Burger 809 regulars for fostering and supporting the partnership. She also believes that the partnership is made possible by the fact that both Burger 809 and Bluewood Brewing share similar values, such as the effort they put in their business.
Burger 809 had been operating out of 2619 ½ Cherokee Street since early 2019, and has been featuring takeout of its sliders and premium sides for the last year-and-a half-plus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout its time in the space, a small patio was the only way guests were able to enjoy their food in person, so the ability to offer dine-in seating is something Smith looks forward to now that she has the space within Bluewood Brewing.
“When we were catering, we were interacting with our customers,” Smith said. “And we missed that. So we’re really looking forward to providing a great dine-in experience.”
In addition to the exciting future of dine-in for Burger 809, Smith’s menu will both expand and keep fan favorites. Mac and cheese, salmon, fresh salads, new sliders, their famous Southern greens, and yes, fries, have all made the cut. One burger Smith discussed was a collaboration between the brewery and burger spot: The "Bluewood Baby." Beer cheese that utilizes one of Bluewood's brews, ground beef, and a pretzel bun all make up the new creation.
As far as fries go, Smith is putting in extensive research on what kind will grace the Burger 809 menu – the business hasn’t sold fries since its early stages, instead focusing on vegetables and mac and cheese as their side dishes. She’s weighing her options and has traveled to cities to review whether steak, crinkle-cut or an entirely different style will work best with the sliders.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” Smith laughs. “This is a serious question. I’ll have to unveil that later. We’re engineering all concepts. We know that there’s a perfect fry to marry with sliders.”
Lodholz – while very excited about the fries – looks forward to reinstating trivia and movie nights as safely as possible with COVID-19 remaining a challenge. He is also excited about the prospect of people being able to hang out longer in the brewery since they will have food once more. Live music is also on the to-do list once the partnership is up and running.
While guests are able to dine in at Bluewood, take-out options will also remain an option for Burger 809's guests; a new website
launching on January 15 will allow customers to order online, with delivery a possibility in the future. Smith is closing Burger 809's current Cherokee Street location because of the new arrangement with Bluewood.
Both partners are excited to welcome guests into the brewery; Smith says seeing the employees make the beer you're drinking is very cool, while Lodholz emphasizes the beauty of the brewery and its new partnership with Burger 809.
"I mean, not to humble brag," Lodholz laughs. "We're really excited about people getting to enjoy our spot, because let's be real, our tap room is beautiful."
Follow Jenna on Twitter at @writesjenna. Email the author at [email protected]
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