Back in 1903, The City Hotel opened on the corner of Main and Merchant in Downtown Ste. Genevieve. In addition to being a hotel, it housed a restaurant and attached business offices. Thanks to the vision of Audubon Redevelopment LLC, the building has been completely refurbished and returned to its former glory as a destination for local residents and tourists while providing Ste. Genevieve with a unique dining experience.Audubon’s of Ste. Genevieve opened on December 10, 2014, after a lengthy period of plans, permits, and construction. Using a picture of the building taken in 1908 as inspiration, the owners brought the exterior of the building back to its roots. The main floor of the building has been converted to include a renovated kitchen with a brick hearth oven, dining and bar areas, and private dining space for parties. The second phase will convert the basement to additional space for private parties. Future plans also include creating a consignment mercantile on the second floor.The restaurant is named for the famous American ornithologist, John James Audubon, who spent time in Ste. Genevieve in the early 1800’s and owned a merchant’s shop with his business partner, Ferdinand Rozier. Fenwick’s Bar is a part of the restaurant and is named after another important resident of Ste. Genevieve from the same time period. Dr. Walter Fenwick came to Ste. Genevieve to help treat smallpox in the 1790’s. Unfortunately, the good doctor was drawn into his brother’s quarrel with a local attorney and was killed in a duel in 1811.The historical aspect of the building does not overshadow the fine dining experience of Audubon’s. The establishment is committed to supporting the community as a “farm to table” restaurant by purchasing their food supplies from local farmers. Beef, cheese, and wine are some items that are already sourced from local producers, and the goal is to have 80% of the food supply purchased locally by the spring.The general manager, Bradon Parsons, has extensive restaurant and bartender experience and is devoted to giving patrons a pleasant atmosphere for dining and a substantial list of fine wines from which to choose. The kitchen is run by two local men who grew up in Ste. Genevieve and take great pride in the dishes they serve to guests. Chef Andy Gegg was trained at L’Ecole Culinaire in St. Louis and has worked at numerous restaurants in Missouri. Sous-chef Alex Naeger attended cooking school in Florida and worked at restaurants all over the world before returning to Missouri.The menu at Audubon’s will not disappoint. The most difficult task will be deciding which dish to order, as they all sound absolutely delicious. Many of the items pay homage to the history of Ste. Genevieve and the people who lived there.In addition to the standard fare of steak, chicken, pork, fish, and seafood dishes, you’ll find the local favorite, liver dumplings, as well as German schnitzel and spaetzle, Bloomsdale goat cheese, and locally made sausages. Homemade desserts include cheesecakes, bread pudding, crème brulee, and chocolate torte. Plan your visit for a Saturday evening and chances are you’ll be able to enjoy some live entertainment while you dine.Since opening in December, the restaurant has seen steady crowds and business continues to grow at an amazing rate. Reservations are recommended if you visit on Friday or Saturday evening as it gets very busy. Business is booming at Audubon’s of Ste. Genevieve making it very difficult for Bradon, Andy, and Alex to find time to take a day off – but they wouldn’t have it any other way. This is their passion and they take great pride in their work.
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