Beast Butcher & Block has suspended its barbecue menu for the next six to eight weeks during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, owners David and Meggan Sandusky announced over the weekend.
Instead, the restaurant at 4156 Manchester Avenue in Forest Park Southeast’s Grove district will offer a pop-up sandwich menu based out of its on-site butcher shop, the Butchery.
The original Beast Craft BBQ Co. in Belleville and 3-month-old Beast Southern Kitchen & BBQ in Columbia, Illinois, remain open with their usual menus.
“We felt that we had an opportunity at this point to move our (Grove) staff to the other locations where they wouldn't lose their jobs if we shut down,” David Sandusky tells Off the Menu.
“Honestly, that's the only reason I've been open since October or September. I should have done this six months ago.”
It did not make financial sense for Beast Butcher & Block to be open as a restaurant right now given the food and labor costs, Sandusky says.
Meanwhile, Beast's Butchery remains open for retail sales as well as the new pop-up sandwich menu. In fact, Sandusky says the butcher shop has seen an increase in business recently.
“So we thought we would give the butcher shop a chance to create some new things,” he says.
The pop-up’s featured sandwich is pit-roasted beef with cheese, a nod to both local fast-food icon Lion’s Choice and Baltimore-style pit beef. Chuck eye is cooked directly above the coals, rather than in a Texas-style offset smoker.
The process, Sandusky says, creates a flavor “akin to like a steak on a grill, except it's more developed than that because it's in there longer and just creating this beautiful, beautiful final product.”
Also available on the pop-up menu are a snoot sandwich, a double smashed burger with pimento cheese, an Italian beef sandwich and a smoked-meatball sub.
The Butchery and its pop-up menu are available 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. In-house delivery of both retail items and sandwiches is also available.
As for Beast Butcher & Block’s barbecue, Sandusky says he is aiming to fire up the pits again when the spring outdoor-dining season arrives.