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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Local landmarks in Ste. Genevieve and Bloomsdale are getting new leases on life.
Brock Gibson bought the old Beacon Café north of Bloomsdale and the Sandbar in Ste. Genevieve, and has big plans for both.
The Beacon, which operated from the 1930s until it was gutted by a fire in May 2014, had been used as storage units prior to Gibson buying it. Meanwhile, Gibson bought the downtown Ste. Genevieve corner building that housed the Sandbar in Sept. 2022.
The Sandbar continued to lease it from Gibson through June. When its operator informed Gibson in early June that it would be closing, that was an impetus for action.
“It kind of forced me into gear because I didn’t want that building to sit there empty,” Gibson said.
Both buildings require some TLC before they can open.
“I bought the Beacon because I wanted to bring that back,” Gibson said. “I bought the Sandbar because it was just a sore thumb. The parts that need the love, I love buying those and making them better. That’s really what the whole idea of buying this building is. It’s such a great location literally the best location, and nobody ever put any love into it.”
Gibson has big plans for the former Sandbar.
“The bar itself is going to be a sports bar,” he said. “It’s going to be a family-friendly environment. “
The restaurant will have sports-themed decorations, with an arcade for all ages in the back room with a combination of classic and new arcade games.
“The middle area will be seating,” Gibson said. “We’ll have some shuffleboard in the middle. The front will be a sit-down bar/restaurant.
“We’re also going to serve food, but it’s going to be a very simple menu of burgers, fries and wings. It’s a utensiless approach.”
It will still be a full bar, with mixed drinks ad beer. Gibson said draft beer would be added.
Unlike the old Sandbar, it will be a non-smoking location. Gibson said a sneak preview opening will be held Jour de Fete weekend.
“Then we’ll close down for another month or so to get the kitchen ready,” he said.
Gibson said the exterior of the 1890 scorner building would also be refurbished.
“All the wood in the frames and the window panes re going to be replaced,” Gibson said. He stressed it will be replaced “with the same material, same stuff, in keeping wit the National Historic District guidelines.
Gibson said the liquor license has already been procured.
“We’re ready to open,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting the building ready. Three’s a lot of nicotine smells.”
He said workers were there that day (July 18), cleaning out the air conditioning and heating vents, to get rid of the lingering cigarette smells.
“It will be nice to have a lace that doesn’t have that smell,” he said.
A Ste. Genevieve native, Gibson wants to give back to the community.
“It’s my home and I love putting my tie and effort hack into it and making it great,” he said.
Of course, the Beacon has been an even bigger project.
“We’re going to do our best to make it as much like it was as we can,” Gibson said. “It was an older place. Everything will be brand new, but the setup will be the same and the menu will be the sane thing. It’s going to be real nice to have that spot. I love the Dew Drop. The Dew Drop does great and I think another place in Bloomsdale is going to be beneficial for everyone in Bloomsdale.”
The building was being used for storage in recent years. Gibson said he had to clean out 12 storage units before beginning work on that building. We’ve been working for that over a year now.”
He said that the small house next to it would be used as a consignment shop.
“We’re committed to locals,” Gibson said. “We’re going to keep locals in it. The whole focus is local.”
Gibson said is healthcare job allows him to quite a bit of traveling to other communities.
“I get to visit many, many small towns all over the country – in almost every state,” he said. “We have a very unique place here. People care about this place and take care of it. There’s a lot of passion for what we have here. That’s why we maintain such a nice hometown because people take care of it. I think it’s the continuous effort to make this place better makes it great. I love being part of it.”
He said the apartment above the old Sandbar is also being renovated and will be rented out.
He stressed again that the new pub would have a totally different feel.
“It’s not going to be the same bar,” he said. “It’s going to be family-friendly.”
Meanwhile, Gibson has commissioned local artist Kenzie Wolk to paint a new mural on the side of the Du Bourg Center.
The longtime home of Rozier’s grocery store, a mural was designed by St. Louis artist Bob Fishbone for the city’s 1985 celebration of its (supposed) 250th anniversary and 200th anniversary of the beginning of the move to the new town site.
The faded mural was removed several years ago when the building was restored to its original appearance.
“My whole thought was third Street is just a little bit rough It hadn’t been very well-maintained,” Gibson said. “That old mural that was on that wall, you could tell it was old. I felt like putting a mural on the wall would be a nice addition to that street and bring some life back to it, so I reached out to Father Nemeth and asked if hew would be OK with us donating that.”
Gibson said Nemeth loved the concept artist Kenzie Wolk developed for it. It will portray the river, with local fowl.
Gibson said the sidewalk on the east side of Third Street will eventually replaced and a beer garden will be set up behind the building.