A new dining and drinking destination recently debuted in St. Louis' Tower Grove South neighborhood. The Drawing Board opened on June 1, filling the space previously occupied by Ryder’s Tavern. The new neighborhood hangout features smash burgers, craft beer, whiskey and more.
The concept comes from brothers Paul and Matt Wamser as well as chef Alexa Camp. Matt and Alexa met while working together at Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., serving in the roles of shift leader and sous chef, respectively.
“When he presented the opportunity for me to help build a concept from the ground up with him and Paul, I took it and ran,” Camp says. “We really just wanted to create a fun, approachable and welcoming South City bar.”
In addition to chalkboards throughout the space that visitors are welcome to draw on, the bar also features free pool, darts, Bimini ring toss and live music on the weekends. The refinished bar features a couple of TVs, and a dog-friendly outdoor patio has a fire pit for cool evenings.
At the request of regulars, Camp’s food menu features a carryover special from the space’s days as Ryder’s Tavern: a smash burger with a four-ounce beef patty, cheese, onion, house pickles, romaine and Thousand Island dressing. Vegetarian offerings include falafel sliders with arugula, Feta, pickled red onion and jalapeño jelly.
“I’m a big fan of foods that I find comforting,” Camp says. “I’m also kind of a huge Creole and Cajun food buff so I tried to weave that into the menu.”
Camp pays homage to her late culinary mentor Gaetano Gambino, from whom she inherited coveted Louisiana-style recipes, with dishes including red beans and rice. Jambalaya balls showcase Gambino’s recipe for brown jambalaya with andouille, chicken, peppers, onions, jasmine rice and panko, served with remoulade.
Additional highlights include a grilled cheese with garlic-herb goat cheese and white Cheddar on white bread, with optional add-ins such as mushrooms, apple butter and bacon. For something sweet, Camp recommends gooey babies, or mini gooey butter cakes.
From the bar, choose from six craft beers on tap in addition to several more options by the bottle and can. A large whiskey selection is also on hand.
“We’re just really excited to share our idea of a good time with this side of South City,” Camp says.
The Drawing Board is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 4pm to 1:30am as well as Sunday from 4pm to midnight.
The Drawing Board, 4123 Chippewa St., Tower Grove South, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.899.9343, thedrawingboardstl.com