December 04, 2019

Local barbecue favorite to open new location at Ballpark Village

The St. Louis Cardinals and development partner Cordish Cos. on Wednesday announced a popular local barbecue joint will open a new location at Ballpark Village.

Salt + Smoke will open in 2020 at the base of One Cardinal Way, the 29-story apartment tower included in the $260 million second phase of Ballpark Village. The restaurant will be Salt + Smoke’s fifth location.

“The location they are going in on Clark and Broadway is really a signature spot for us,” said Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III. “We were really looking for the right kind of tenant to be able to not only make a splash there, but to utilize the roof deck on top (there), which is part of what’s interesting about that particular location. We don’t have barbecue in the district and feel like that’s a nice addition.”

Tom Schmidt, Salt + Smoke’s owner, said he’s had on and off again conversations with Ballpark Village and Cordish for years about opening a restaurant at the downtown development.

“I’ve really been excited about the project and what they’re doing down there for a long time,” he said.

The restaurant at One Cardinal Way will include a 5,500-square-foot first floor as well as a patio to seat about 160 people, Schmidt said. In addition, the owner said a 2,500-square-foot second-floor terrace will hold roughly 150 to 200 diners. Spiegelglass Construction Co. has been tapped as general contractor for the new Salt + Smoke location. On average, the restaurant is projected to have about 100 employees. Salt + Smoke, known for its barbecue and bourbon offerings, does not intend to tinker with its menu at the new downtown location.

“We feel like we’ve built an amazing menu, a great hits of barbecue, that we really love and stand behind. For us, what’s really the objective is to make consistently great dishes across all five of our stores,” Schmidt said.

As for future expansion, Schmidt said he’s content with Salt + Smoke’s current footprint.

“But it wasn’t our plan to expand to the fifth one necessarily,” he said. “It was just such a great opportunity to work with Cordish and the Cardinals. When you get really excited about really great opportunities, that frankly aren’t going to come around again, you stretch a little bit and you get creative and you figure out how to make things happen that aren’t necessarily by your playbook.”

Salt + Smoke opened its first location in the Delmar Loop in 2014. It also has restaurants in St. Louis Hills and St. Charles, with plans to soon open its fourth location in the Central West End. Schmidt said he is targeting a Summer 2020 opening for the Ballpark Village store. One Cardinal Way is projected to open in the second quarter of 2020, and officials on Wednesday held a ceremonial topping out for the facility. The building's apartments are on pace to be 100% leased when the tower opens, said Nick Benjamin, vice president of development at Cordish.

The local barbecue restaurant is the latest tenant to be named for Ballpark Village’s ongoing second phase. In October, the Cardinals and Cordish announced bar and restaurant Sports & Social St. Louis, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse and retailer Baseballism will open at the development. The two parties have said Ballpark Village’s 75,000 square feet of second-phase ground floor dining, entertainment and retail space is currently more than 90% leased.

The components of 700,000-square-foot Ballpark Village's second phase expansion are planned to begin operations in a staggered time frame. Tenants of the project's 11-story office building began moving in this fall and Onelife Fitness, which will anchor the expansion's three-story retail pavilion, is expected to open at the start of 2020. A Live! by Loews hotel is planned to start operation in the first quarter of 2020, with the apartment tower's opening to follow that.

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