One of the loveliest vantage points from which to view Forest Park is from a window seat at Bixby’s, the second-floor restaurant at the Missouri History Museum. Were it not for the wonderful dining experience, and the engaging companions to help keep me focused, it might have been difficult not to be distracted by the fabulous view of the golf course and the fountains on the Grand Basin in the distance.
Bixby’s, formerly Merriweather’s, opened last April after a renovation led by architect Mark Herman, and Richard Nix, Jr., President of Butler’s Pantry. The pair was brought in following their success at Palladium Saint Louis, a newly-renovated event space in the Old City Hospital in the Lafayette Square neighborhood. The Butler’s Pantry, a St. Louis catering firm, has been in operation for 44 years. Bixby’s is its first restaurant.
Striking black and white photos of St. Louis landmarks from the Museum’s archives decorate Bixby’s light-filled dining room, above. The restaurant is named after William K. Bixby, a member of the group responsible for bringing the World’s Fair to St. Louis, and the first president of the Missouri History Museum. The History Museum is sited at what was the main entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair.
Chef Todd Lough trained at the award-winning Ernie’s In San Francisco, The Breakers in Palm Beach, and was Executive Chef at Busch’s Grove before joining the Butler’s Pantry team. Chef Lough makes 95% of the restaurant’s menu from scratch, using local ingredients.
Menu items are cleverly named to reflect the History Museum’s current exhibition, The Treasures of Napoleon*, or perhaps a nearby landmark, such as the D. Davis, a drink made with ginger lime syrup mixed with club soda… named after Dwight Davis, a prominent St. Louisan who served as Public Parks Commissioner from 1911 to 1915, and created the first municipal tennis courts in the country. Davis was also donor of the famed Davis Cup. The restaurant staff goes out of its way to accommodate special requests, such as this refreshing Blood Orange Margarita, left.
Two items sampled by our party of three from the Small Plate section of the menu were a warm Eggplant and Zucchini Napoleon, $8.50, and delicious Mini Crab Cakes with tomatillo black bean relish and orange chipotle aioli, $9.00. Other items include soups and salads, $6 to $10.50, and main courses such as a hearty Beef Bourguignonne, $11.50.
We could not resist the apple puff pastry dessert with vanilla ice cream. Desserts are $4 to $6.
For a more casual dining experience when you are at the Museum, or if you are planning a last-minute picnic in the Park, you might enjoy Bixby’s Express, located next to the main dining room on the second floor. It’s open everyday from 10 to 4:30, and Tuesdays until 7:30. Chef Lough has created an express menu that also sources local products such as the Chicken Andouille Gumbo, with okra from Theis Farm, $6, and Veggie Panini with Ozark Forest mushrooms, spinach & goat cheese, $7. Flatbreads, $6. Selections for “Little Museum Goers,” ages 10 and under, include grilled cheese, peanut butter, Nutella, & banana, and macaroni and cheese, $3.
After hours, the dining room is available for private parties that can accommodate 50-150 guests. There is also space for luncheon meetings in the restaurant or in a private meeting room that can accommodate up to 30. See the website here for more info.
Bixby’s at the Missouri History Museum, Mon. to Sat. 11-2, Sunday Brunch 10-2, Bixby’s Express, everyday from 10 to 4:30, Tues. until 7:30 p.m., (314) 361-7313.
P. S. -*Current exhibitions at the Missouri History Museum include The Treasures of Napoleon, until April 3, and Splendid Heritage: Perspectives on American Indian Art, until April 21.