Hot EatsNov 01, 2012
Head out West to Circle 7 Ranch
The city's top lounge team steers in a new direction.
Story: Amy De La Hunt
Photos: Jennifer Silverberg
IT USED TO BE THAT RUSTLING UP a good burger and a beer on the frontier between Ballwin and Chesterfield involved a good bit of riding. Not any longer, thanks to a couple of guys who made a name for themselves in the big city.
Circle 7 Ranch is a taphouse and sports bar with a western theme—a contrast of wall-to-wall flat-screen TVs and reclaimed wood furnishings, tableside beer taps and grain-sack upholstery. The interplay works, both for neighborhood residents and for a nightlife crowd that’s familiar with owners Pete Ferretti and Buddy Coy’s Lounge Concepts destinations.
Circle 7 Ranch has almost nothing in common with its closest relatives, the nightclubs Mandarin and The Pepper Lounge. Its airiness somewhat resembles The Outfield at Mike Shannon’s, but Lumen Private Event Space? Not so much.
What they all have in common is a soundtrack—thumping dance music—and Coy and Ferretti. Circle 7 is a sports bar, but it’s less focused on nightlife than anything else the duo has dreamed up so far. For one thing, it’s an all-ages venue, drawing everyone from seniors to families. Not in a crayons-and-toys way, but in a quick food, good service way. Ferretti himself chats up the younger patrons as he makes his rounds, continuing a personable management style that has served his team well for 10-plus years Downtown.
Burgers are the signature dish at Circle 7, thanks to the brand on top of every bun and a well-seasoned pair of Angus beef patties inside. Coy and Ferretti are particularly proud of the Longhorn, with smoked brisket, American cheese, house-made slaw, pickles and barbecue sauce. The logo is burned into sandwiches and wraps as well—but there’s just something about that burger.
Chef BJ Baker pulls off the balance between bar grub and home-style restaurant food with appetizers like chicken wings, smoked brisket nachos and poppers made with pepper jack cheese, in addition to a nice selection of salads and tasty soups. Many of the house-made desserts—berry cobbler, the chocolate chip cookie and chocolate brownie—come in mini cast-iron skillets that are paraded proudly to their tables past walls made from rustic reclaimed Louisiana barn wood.
If having a personal tap at your table is important to you—and it should be—try to arrive early to get one of the eight tables equipped with the newfangled systems. The first of their kind in the state, the custom taps dispense three draft beers (selection varies by table) with up to 32 ounces per drinking-age customer. Drink less than that, and you’re only charged for what you pulled. If you’re thirsty for more, a server will come by to restart the counter.
But, enough about the cool taps. Let’s talk about the cold, hand-spun milkshakes (that is, milkshakes made the old-fashioned way, using a metal wand as opposed to a blender). They’re perfect for washing down the burgers or soothing the burn from the fiery wings.
Circle 7 Ranch
14412 Clayton Road, 636.220.9707
Kitchen Hours: Daily, 11am-1:30am
Tips for a top-notch experience at Circle 7 Ranch.
Top Dish: #25 burger with secret sauce and a side of corn fritters.
Best Place to Perch: A table with taps.
Popular Pour: Depends on what's in those taps.
Insider Tip: If the weather's nice, ask about the patio; it's bigger than it looks.
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