The vision for the newly opened Old Barn Inn Restaurant in St. Albans is all about quality food and helping diners create memories. “We want people to experience the food and have an appreciation of the food. It’s an homage to the past,” says Beth Williams, who was tapped to lead the culinary adventure.
German settlers built the building in 1843 and used it as a barn. In 1928, Irene Walter Johnson converted the barn into the Old Barn Inn Restaurant. It closed in the 1950s. The Malmaison restaurant was in the space in the late 1980s through the 1990s. In 2004, Datra Herzog purchased the building as part of the Inns at St. Albans. Williams and her team will now run the food and beverage operations. They opened the Old Barn Inn Restaurant in December.
Williams has nearly three decades of experience in the restaurant business, most recently as owner of Table Three in Wildwood. With the move to Old Barn Inn, Williams went from a 200-seat restaurant open six days a week, to a 60-seat restaurant open only Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. This will allow her to focus on being creative.
“The quality and experience is everything,” Williams says. “We want people to walk away feeling like they’ve experienced something unique.”
The menu will change six times a year to take advantage of seasonal produce, and to provide visitors a different experience every time they come. The restaurant will utilize farm to table.“We are working with local farmers to source the produce and dairy,” she says.
St. Albans also will have its own herb and produce gardens. There is a smokehouse on site, a vineyard on the property and a wine garden will open in May.
An on-site cooking school will draw on the expertise of different chefs, who will teach students new skills and allow them to explore as well.
During the restaurant’s first month, chicken and dumplings was a popular menu item. Other favorites were butternut squash risotto and a farmhouse burger.
Williams explains that when Johnson operated the original Old Barn Inn Restaurant so many years ago, she felt that every holiday was a major event. The current owners plan to capture that same tradition and create a special destination for families. Williams says that at Christmas, St. Albans will have Christmas village. It will be a festive place where people can shop and dine. “We’re creating the experience for people to come out and enjoy,” Williams says.
The Inns' property provides a premier outdoor venue, Williams says. Herzog has a vision to restore the property as a destination for families, weddings, bridal parties, overnight stays and corporate retreats. In addition to the Old Barn Inn Restaurant, the Head’s Store will open this spring with casual dining. New lodges will come in 2021.
Old Barn Inn Restaurant is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Make reservations online at innsatstalbans.com/old-barn-inn-restaurant. See stlouishomesmag.com for resources.