I stumbled upon something wonderful today. You know those awesome hole in the wall, diamond in the rough, heard it through the grapevine kind of treasures? Well, I happened to find one today tucked away all cozy between a nail salon and a beauty shop right here in the 573.
The Brick Bistro & Brew, a fairly new and super groovy eatery on Main Street in Festus, is a hidden treasure. Deceptively small, this place packs a big punch... and boy did it knock our socks off!
A fairly new restaurant, just a little over a year old, I couldn’t help but notice that the place seemed both new and fondly familiar at the same time. With a nice upbeat modern contemporary look on the outside and a cool mix of new DIY type innovation and classic charm on the inside, I felt right at home and instantly became excited with anticipation because, by the look of the room and the smell in the air, I knew I was about to experience something special. I love being right! Lol.
The Rice family utilized every inch of the space...
After receiving a warm, friendly welcome from co-owner, Cindy Rice, and her son, Justin, we looked around for a few minutes, trying to decide where to sit, and then naturally gravitated toward the hanging chain bar style table that borders the large front window. Even though the dining area isn’t very big, I couldn’t help but notice that there was a surprising amount of seating, and not packed in either, but arranged comfortably. The Rice family utilized every inch of the space with clever and crafty furniture and decor solutions that were pretty impressive, to say the least.
Our gracious hostess joined us as we awaited our meal and gave us the inside scoop on The Brick. Cindy and her husband Larry had played with the idea of opening up a place in Festus. They loved hanging out at a local place down on Main Street and watching bands play and Cindy started liking the idea of having a place of her own.
The building which is now The Brick Bistro & Brew, had been a restaurant called The White Grill and had been around since the 1930s. When the Rice family first checked out the space, Cindy wasn’t too interested. It seemed so small, and would definitely not be big enough to accommodate a live band. But after being talked into giving the place a try, Cindy started to see all of the potential charm in the old restaurant and began finding new and very innovative ways to use the space and make it amazing.
“I got a few ideas, like these bar seats here, off Pinterest. We try to absorb as much information and ideas as possible to keep improving.” Cindy told us. Though skeptical at first, she’s grown to really love her new place on Main Street. The more she learns, the more she builds, and the more impressive The Brick becomes.
Biting into it, I couldn’t believe it was a vegetarian meal...
The decor, however, was not the only thing out to impress. In no time at all Justin was bringing me my first mouthwatering dish… The Black Bean Portabella Burger. Biting into it, I couldn’t believe it was a vegetarian meal. It tasted so, well, MEATY! Black beans, portabella mushrooms, and broccoli (believe it or not because I didn’t...lol)! Who knew that combination could make such an amazing meat substitute! Dressed with swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and a sweet and spicy aioli sauce all on an Italian herb bun, it was one of the best vegetarian burgers I’ve ever had!
...it really hit the spot!
Next up was the Brie Grilled Cheese. With melted brie, chunks of bacon and a generous amount of caramelized onions all on sourdough bread that had been grilled to golden perfection, this mouthwatering sandwich was cheesy & meaty with a hint of sweet and satisfied a craving I didn’t even know I had. Served with spicy BBQ kettle chips and a dill pickle spear, it really hit the spot!
The third dish out was a table favorite. The Shrimp Street Tacos were not only delicious, they were beautiful! Vibrant colorful food of the gods was capable of clearing the mind with one joyous bite leaving you with but one thought...Yum! With large seasoned grilled pieces of shrimp, avocado, cotija cheese, shredded purple cabbage, and peppers all stuffed in traditional corn tortillas and topped with a spicy pineapple aioli, these tacos were refreshing, spicy, and savory with subtle notes of sweet tropical fruit...beautimous!
The next dish brought out was a large Veggie Pizza. Black olives, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, tomato, and banana peppers all piled on a thin crust with a homemade almost sweet sauce and covered in melty mozzarella cheese, this dish was like a sweet melting utopia of taste. Absolutely delicious!
“Wow! This sandwich is amazing!”
Last, but certainly not least, was the Jalapeño Popper Sandwich. This was hands down the most popular dish at the table and my personal favorite. I mean, WOW! With wild spicy jalapeños cooled with melty cream cheese, and tamed with bacon and the perfect amount of raspberry jalapeño jam, the complex flavors clashed and melded together over and over like an epic battle between sweet and spicy with a lasting heat & sweet mix that feels invigorating and lingers long after the bite is gone.
“Wow! This sandwich is amazing!” I said to Cindy.
“I actually have a funny story about that dish…” She went on to tell me how this is one of their most popular menu items, so they tend to sell a lot of them, making it that much more nerve-wracking when you suddenly run out of one of the main ingredients…”We were having one of those days where you just stay slammed, and about halfway through the day we ran out of the special jam. I ran back to the fruit stand where we get a lot of our stuff, including the jam, and they were closed. I searched all over, but there’s no other place that carries this stuff. So I jumped onto Pinterest and started a search. And that’s how I learned to make my raspberry jalapeño popper jam!”
A woman after my own heart, Cindy is a prime example of determination and strength. Innovative, inspired, and incredible, she overcomes any obstacle that stands in her way and we were so glad to have met her and proud to feature her and her inspiring success story here in 573 Magazine, introducing her to all of you in the 573. Strong women conquering the business world has always been one of my favorite subjects! Until next time friends, be happy, be healthy, and be well!