As restaurants across the country have pivoted to more casual operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many local spots are embracing ghost kitchens.
The idea typically involves a restaurant creating a new, virtual concept – including a new name, menu, branding and website – under its own roof. Instead of relying on a traditional dine-in space, food is available for carryout and delivery only, making ghost kitchens a go-to solution for chefs looking to make their menus more approachable in the age of to-go dining.
BEAST Butcher & Block is now serving up “dope wings on the fly” through its new ghost kitchen concept, Wing Runner. The acclaimed St. Louis barbecue joint offers a wide variety of wings with chef-driven sauces for pickup and delivery. Wing Runner’s bone-in chicken wings are smoked, deep-fried and then tossed in one of several sauces, which range from the classic – think mild or hot Buffalo, roasted garlic butter and a spicy dry rub – to the creative, such as char siu, habanero jerk, roasted shishito-lime and fish sauce caramel. Vegetarian diners can get in on the fun, too, with cauliflower “wings” topped with those same sauces and garnishes. wingrunnerstl.com
Sub Division Sandwich Co.
From the team behind Polite Society and The Bellwether in St. Louis, Sub Division Sandwich Co. – a lunch concept offering carryout and delivery only – specializes in creative sandwiches named after iconic movie quotes. “How Am I Funny?” is a tribute to Goodfellas with Volpi salami and capocolla, ham, pepperoncini, pepper Jack, shaved onion, mixed greens and roasted garlic aïoli, while “There’s No Place Like Home” evokes memories of familial Thanksgiving gatherings with confit white and dark meat turkey, gravy and herbs, mushroom duxelles, cranberry sauce, crispy onions and caramelized shallot aïoli. subdivisionstl.com
The Post Chicken & Beer
When Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar reopened after a months-long closure due to COVID-19, diners found a new item alongside its signature fresh seafood: juicy fried chicken. The Post Chicken & Beer now operates out of Jax, offering carryout and delivery only. An offshoot of Colorado-based The Post Brewing Co., the ghost kitchen is a way to test proof of concept for a new location in the Kansas City area. The short and sweet menu focuses on buttermilk-brined and pressure-fried chicken available as a whole or half bird or four-piece chicken dinner alongside classic sides such as hush puppies, bacon-braised collard greens and Anson Mills Cheddar grits. postbrewing.com/kansas-city
Motor Town Pizza
The thick, cheesy Detroit-style pizzas from Motor Town Pizza are a far cry from the health-conscious salads, bowls and wraps offered at Revel Kitchen – and that’s exactly the point. For their first ghost kitchen, owners Simon and Angelica Lusky wanted to focus on something familiar to customers that could be prepared easily with the limited kitchen equipment at their Brentwood, Missouri, café. At Motor Town Pizza, which offers carryout and delivery within 12 miles, customers can build their own pie “Henry Ford-style” or choose a signature offering such as Abe Froman’s Ferrari with sausage, brick and smoked Provolone cheese, onion, sport peppers and giardiniera. motortownpizza.com