New Affton food truck garden unveils plans for all-draft bar

Veneta Rizvic | Jan 13, 2020

St. Louis Business Journal

article originally appeared

9 Mile Garden, a food truck garden being developed by Guerrilla Street Food co-founder Brian Hardesty and Seneca Commercial Real Estate, is adding an all-draft bar to anchor the project.

The Canteen will open within the food truck garden in spring 2020.

“9 Mile Garden is all about enjoying food, entertainment, and community in a family-friendly setting, and The Canteen is part of that vision,”Hardesty said in a statement. “The bar will feature large communal tables, a huge selection of free games to play, live music, and a large patio overlooking the ground at 9Mile Garden.”

The Canteen will offer a wide selection of draft beer from local and national breweries, as well as a rotating selection of draft wines, cocktails and cold brew by Blueprint Coffee. The 3,500-square-foot space will have 16-foot garage doors that retract to transform the space into an open-air bar. The space also can be reserved for private events for up to 200 people.

The planned food truck garden is to be located at 9375 Gravois Road in Affton Plaza, a retail center that is owned and operated by Larry Chapman’s Seneca Commercial Real Estate, officials said. Seneca and Hardesty expect the project to cost close to $1 million, officials told the Business Journal. The real estate company will serve as its own general contractor and will select different contractors for other components of the project, like site work and build out of the restrooms.

The entertainment district will feature a daily rotation of St. Louis-area food trucks for lunch and dinner service six days a week. A jumbo screen will show outdoor movies and live stream sporting events, officials said. A permanent stage will host local and national entertainers. There will be space for nine food trucks, plus room for two guest trucks for special occasions. There is no designated seating for patrons — but operators expect people to show up with their own folding chairs and blankets for different events.

The name “9 Mile” comes from “the days before streets had names or road markers, where landmarks were named for their distance from the courthouse or city center,” officials said. The food truck garden is located about 9 miles from St. Louis’ Old Courthouse downtown. In addition, there was a time when farmers drove their harvests to open spaces and lined up their trucks into a formation that allowed people to walk along and select items that interested them most. These were called “truck gardens,” officials said, and Affton was known for having a high number of them.

Hardesty launched the first Guerrilla Street food truck with hispartner
Joel Crespo
in 2011 after purchasing a former laundry vanfor $2,000 on Craigslist. The duo’s first restaurant came in 2015 at3559 Arsenal St. Today, Crespo and Hardesty own five restaurantlocations and continue to run their food truck.

Seneca Commercial Real Estate is a new company formed byChapman this year, officials said. Previously known as ChapmanVentures, the company redeveloped Affton Plaza and beganworking on ideas for phase two of the project — which turned into9 Mile Garden.