BECKEMEYER — No worries about elbow room at Buxton's. The building that houses the restaurant and bar started life as a lumber company in the early 1900s and offers plenty of space for indoor and outdoor dining and entertainment.
Inside the renovated building is a huge dining area on several levels with a main bar, smaller side bar near the entrance and a private party room. Old photos of the town and lumber business, as well as local sports team memorabilia, decorate the walls. The restaurant's logo includes a train because the town, originally called Buxton, was built in the late 1800s to take advantage of the tracks bringing people and business to town.
Step through doors connected to the outdoor stone courtyard and you'll find a fireplace and more seating. The original lumber building from 1910 is now a rustic sheltered bar open to the patio. Inside you'll find more seating, a pool table, shuffleboard, foosball and decor that includes vintage saws hanging on the walls. Live music on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons will start in May.
Chef Wes Ronan created the menu for owners and local residents Gary and Deb Grapperhaus. Gary, 49, has owned the property for 30 years and ran his swimming pool business there until he decided Beckemeyer needed a new restaurant. He still runs Pisces Pools Plus, now in Carlyle.
"I thought it was time to do this," he said.
Deb, 51, agreed. "Not to take away business from anyone else, but to give people who live in the area another option."
The restaurant went through a slow introduction, with the bar opening late last year and the full restaurant menu in effect in March.
Deb's daughter, Rachel Hubbard, 27, is the general manager.
Wes, a graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, came back to his roots after eight years on the East Coast to take the job at Buxton's.
"I saw a chance to do some cool things with the menu," he said, adding that everything is made from scratch, from the daily soup ($2/$4) to the dressing on the Caesar Salad ($2.95/$4.95).
"We buy local beef and produce," he added. "We make our own cheesecake, but get our cakes from Berkemann's Bakery (in New Baden)."
There are daily lunch and dinner specials; lunch is served until 4 p.m.
The big seller so far among the dozen sandwich offerings is Buxton's Burger ($7), a half-pound seasoned burger with bacon, Cheddar cheese, Wes's special roasted garlic mayonnaise and trimmings. Turkey Rachel ($6) comes with sauerkraut and thousand island dressing on marble rye bread. All come with chips. Any sandwich can be made into a wrap.
"The stuffed mushrooms ($10) are very popular," Wes said of the appetizer. Stuffed with crab and bacon, they are served with roasted red pepper cream sauce. Or, try the pulled pork nachos ($8) and the Buffalo Chicken Dip ($8) served with pita chips and veggies.
On the dinner menu, the Jack Daniel's Sirloin ($14.95) has been a hit. It is a 10-ounce steak with a special bourbon sauce garnished with fried mushrooms. Filets, baby back ribs, ribeye, pork tenderloin, shrimp and chicken round out the menu. All entrees come with a house salad and a choice of potato or risottto and vegetable.
Desserts are $4.95. A kids menu is available. Breakfast on Saturdays is served from 8 a.m. to noon.
Buxton's Restaurant & Bar
Where: 191 Railroad St., Beckemeyer
Offers: Lunch and dinner menu; full bar. Breakfast on Saturdays.
Kitchen hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays and Mondays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Closed Tuesdays. Bar hours vary.
Handicapped accessible: Yes