Rockwell Beer Garden Opens in Francis Park

ST. LOUIS – Rockwell Beer Co. announced Friday, Oct. 22 as the official opening day of the Rockwell Beer Garden in Francis Park. Located in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood of South St. Louis, Rockwell Beer Garden will offer a family-friendly food menu featuring thin-crust party-cut pizzas, salads, dips, snacks and grab-and-go items, as well as a selection of the brewer’s craft beers, along with wine and cocktails. The beer garden will be open, weather permitting, through the middle of December. Days and hours will be posted weekly on social media and on the Rockwell Beer website.

The walk-up food counter, concession stand and outdoor dining/gathering space are located within and surrounding a fully rehabbed and reimagined 1929 “comfort center” building adjacent to the Francis Park tennis and pickleball courts. The City of St. Louis Department of Parks recently added four pickleball courts to the park in addition to resurfacing the existing tennis courts. Rockwell will offer rental of pickleball equipment for guests looking to play one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States.

“As a city resident who lives in the neighborhood, I made certain that creating a safe and welcoming environment was our top priority,” said Rockwell Beer Co. co-founder Heather Sanders. “Before we swung a hammer, we asked for input from residents and park users to make sure we were adding useful amenities to one of the city’s best parks. From new lighting and extensive facility upgrades to improved restrooms and an expanded patio with spacious seating and native plantings, this new interpretation of the comfort-center space respects the neighborhood’s history while enhancing visitors’ experience in the park. This project embraces David R. Francis’ original desire that the park bearing his name be used and maintained for recreational uses and purposes”.

Earlier this summer, Rockwell hired chef Michael Petres as its culinary director to develop the food program at the Beer Garden. Petres is a veteran of the St. Louis food scene, having served stints at The Ritz-Carlton, Balaban’s, ARAKA and Terrene. He spent 10 years at Niche Food Group, rising to the position of corporate executive chef overseeing all the company’s culinary operations. Rockwell also named longtime team member Nancy Etzkorn to serve as the Beer Garden’s general manager. Etzkorn was one of the first employees at Rockwell’s Tasting Room in The Grove and later developed the brewery’s successful To-Go-Beer concept.

“We’ve assembled an excellent team with deep experience, coupled with great beer, outstanding food and thoughtful design,” said Rockwell Beer Co. co-founder Chris Hulse. “Our goal for this project is to recapture the sense of community and pride that has been a major component of this city’s history. St. Louis was once filled with beer gardens. Our hope is that this will be a catalyst for other public-private ventures throughout the city. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve built, and I can’t wait to welcome guests.”

About Rockwell Beer Co.

Launched in St. Louis in 2018, the Rockwell Beer Co. brewery and tasting room has been a gathering place for both the beer obsessed and casual drinker to stop by, grab a beer and stay awhile. Head brewer Jonathan Moxey – operating under the mantra: “Beer should be fun, not fussy” – is obsessed with creating well-balanced beers for every palate. Using Rockwell’s 15-barrel brewhouse located at 1320 Vandeventer Ave., Moxey and his team are free to experiment with new varieties, both at the tasting room and out in the Saint Louis market. The resulting offerings range from time-honored classics to future experimental and include such fan favorites as Passing Clouds Witbier, Stand By Hoppy Pilsner, Velour Tracksuit IPA and Moonbase Porter. 

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