According to the latest issue of The National Barbecue Journal, a new BBQ joint is scheduled to open in St. Louis on Delmar Boulevard, just a few blocks east of the famous Loop district. The name is Archie’s BBQ Pit, and the head pitmaster is Bob Archibald, aka Smokin’ Archie. “Wait until you get a taste of our special sauce,” said Archibald. “It’s a secret recipe that’s been in my family since the War Between the States.” This could be the beginning of the War Between the Sauces.
Until recently, Mr. Archibald was president of the Missouri History Museum, a respected institution on the edge of Forest Park in St. Louis. His new restaurant is located in a building formerly owned by the ex-mayor of St. Louis, Freeman Bosley, Jr. Better known as “Juice Junior,” he helped steer Archibald to this distinctive location. Bosley will be featured with his blues band on weekends to provide entertainment. His recent album, “Bone Suckin’ Blues,” has enjoyed enthusiastic reception and he promises to play several tunes from it, including the hit “Don’t Dig Too Deep.”
The oversized menu at Archie’s BBQ Pit was designed by David Hoffmann, who also helped design the real estate transaction. What’s unique about the menu is that there are actually two menus. One has a price, the other one doesn’t. Which puts the burden on the customer. According to Mr. Hoffmann, “You can’t let price come between you and enjoyment. If you have to ask what the price is, maybe you shouldn’t be eating here.” Hoffmann was paid $10,000 for the design.
Customers will be greeted at the front door by John “Jackie D” Danforth, former attorney and senator, now turning his talents to a new line of work. Jackie was not available for comment, but a spokesperson said, “You can come here with no reservations. Also, we are not accountable for indigestion, inflated bowels or blood disorders caused by our sauce.” The spokesperson intimated that all customers will be asked to sign a release before ordering. “It’s the way of the world,” she said. Prior to joining the Archibald venture, Danforth had plans to open a restaurant in the Loop, to be called Bryan’s Cave. In a statement released last month, Danforth said, “It was to be a Thai BBQ establishment, but when I heard about Smoking Archie’s plans, I backed off to avoid a conflict of interest.” Rumors have circulated, however, that Jackie D. is still linked to the Thai Q spot.
The one-acre lot upon which Archie’s BBQ sits cost around a million dollars, which included a hefty back-tax that Juice Junior had neglected to pay. The land is currently valued at $232,000, a drop of more than 70%. The article didn’t state how much Smokin’ Archie paid for it, but word on the street has it that he could have paid for it with accumulated vacation pay. “I don’t discuss money,” Archie said, “but I’ll talk ribs with you anytime.”
For more information on the restaurant, visit their website, www.archiesbbq.org. The restaurant is scheduled to open between Thanksgiving and Christmas, depending on whether Mr. Archibald is out of town researching and writing new, secret recipes.