Don’t Throw Out That Holiday Fruitcake!

Everything you see when you enter Rob Foeste’s Broadway Beirgarten is by design. The beautiful tables are imported from Germany. They were specifically created with a short width to ensure you stay engaged in conversation with your companions. You will also find imported glassware doting the counters. The glassware is well made with a thick and heavy feel. The kind that clinks joyfully when you toast to good times. Rob says, “You wouldn’t put a nice filet mignon on a paper plate. Why would you put a beer that took six months to get here in the wrong glass?” It is all about the experience and customer enjoyment for Rob. The specific combination of those elements are what he hopes to share with patrons. When asked if he thinks that not serving liquor could be detrimental to his business he says, “No. We want to hit a certain taste bud for Cape Girardeau and give them the best possible beer experience here in Cape. We do that by focusing on what we are good at”.

Rob comes from a long line of entrepreneurs that have called Cape Girardeau home for their small businesses. He has lived around the center of Cape his whole life. He remarks that he had been waiting for this opportunity, so when it came his way he made it happen. Rob says he loves the interaction with the people. He says, “When you don’t get that face time with individuals you feel like you miss out”. He feels that part of his recipe for success with his business is the fact that he is a long time local. He says of his business, “It’s got to have someone from here, it’s got to have the heart and soul”. For Rob, his work is an extension of his personality. After all, he has been cultivating his passion for beer for over a decade now. He laughs a little and says, “I live, breathe, eat and sleep it. I love sharing it with the community.”

The Biergarten’s claim to fame, so to speak, is the philosophy of 50% beer education and 50% beer exploration. So of course I had to test him! But first I wanted to learn a little bit about the food and get an idea of what people may not know about the Biergarten. Rob jokes that his Cape Famous wings are “craft wings”. He says that they are a big seller in addition to ever popular made from scratch German pretzels. When it comes to the beer selection, Rob says to keep an open mind. You will not be able to pull up your chair to the standard old light beer. This place is full of imports! There is a range of 28-36 on tap, a ton more in bottle and the largest selection of ciders in Cape. There truly is something for every taste – even for the ladies I might add! It is a matter of finding what type of taste you like explains Rob. He says, “Don’t be intimidated by the choices. Whether you are looking for sweet, sour, bitter… it doesn’t matter. We can help you find things you may not think you like, but then find you actually do!”

So to test Rob’s theory I showed him the first of the two surprise items I brought. I asked him to pair dark (90% cocoa) chocolate with a complimentary beer. Within seconds I had a delightful Belgium Raspberry Lambic sitting in front of me. The sweetness of the raspberry cut the bitterness of the chocolate perfectly. Before I could utter another word, there was a second sample sitting in front of me. It was a Coffee Stout. Chocolate and coffee mixed with beer. There are no words. He laughed and said that test was too easy. So, thinking I was really going to throw him off his game I pulled out a fruitcake! I’m talking about the mother of all fruitcakes in its heavy, spiced-up, gummy glory. By the time we stopped laughing there was a sample of a Sweet Winter Warmer in front of me. Yep, it did not even phase him. He said that something like a fruitcake with its “crazy nutty spicy notes” can be paired with something similar like a Belgium Dubbel Ale or the Winter Warmer which is a little more bitter. The fruitcake tasted amazing with the Winter Warmer. It truly brought the spices and the fruit and nut combo to life. It was so good in fact, that I might look forward to next year’s obligatory Christmas treat! Well done, sir. Well done.

As written for iluvlocalplaces.com

Just the Facts:

Location: Broadway Beirgarten is located at 818 Broadway St in downtown Cape Girardeau.

Hours: Open 7 days a week starting at 4p Mon – Fri and 12p Sat-Sun
The hours are designed to be accommodating to patrons. Rob remarks that he is open at times that make it easy for “our friends in the industry to get a good beer”.

Architecture: The building was commissioned in 1928 by German immigrant John Jaeger. Since that time it has been a hardware store, a distributor, a candy and ice cream shop and a cafe to name a few. (www.cityof cape.org, walking tour). The building still features the original tin ceiling and a curious coat of arms.

Future Plans: Future plans for the location include an outdoor biergarten by spring of 2015 and a wine tap system.

 

A Different Kind of Library

You’ve all seen her. Cathy Thompson is one hard working lady behind the bar at The Library. It’s no doubt one of the reasons The Library has won People’s Choice for Best Bar in Cape Girardeau County three years in a row. It’s also no doubt she is here to stay.

One of the things that is most striking about The Library is the ambiance. It has a very upscale feel that is warm and inviting, at a price point that won’t break the bank. As such, The Library has the distinct advantage of appeal across all ages, 21 and up. In fact, that was part of the goal that Cathy had in mind for the bar.
When her kids were in college and she would come to visit from St. Louis she would find that there was nowhere for the adults to hang out. She said, “Most of the bars in this town didn’t open until 9p.” She felt that Cape Girardeau was a great town, but it was definitely lacking something in the adult scene. She said, “Don’t get me wrong, I love the college kids. I’m in business with the college kids. But I felt there needed to be a place for adults too. Especially a place the ladies would feel comfortable”.

The Library in Downtown Cape Photos Bugged IMG_4162

When the housing market fell apart in 2008, Cathy who at the time was working in real estate, felt the pinch of changing times. It was a natural progression for her to make the leap to bar ownership. She knew she found an industry that would weather the storm of changes in an uncertain economic landscape. She loves the feel in Cape Girardeau and is very much at home here. She said what really makes this town special is the people. She said, “The people make it feel like home. And just being in a small town, you get to know the people, the people get to know you”.

One thing you may not know is that there is a full menu at The Library. There is the traditional bar fare plus some not so traditional items such as scotch eggs, spring salads, baked fish and gourmet stuffed burgers. The food is absolutely delish and there is something for every taste. It is interesting to note that the menu was actually developed out of the requests of the patrons. Cathy explained that a group of ladies asked if there was anything on the menu that wasn’t fried (or traditional bar food). That conversation triggered some research about popular bar foods, the addition of some healthy fare and the accident that became the very popular Ruben roll. Rest assured, whatever you order for dinner or a late night snack, it comes out of the kitchen delivered with care in preparation and pride.

The Library in Downtown Cape Photos Bugged IMG_2357 The Library in Downtown Cape Photos Bugged IMG_2388

In fact, meal time was the inspiration behind the name. When Cathy’s kids were away at college she gave them an emergency credit card and asked them to make sure they were getting at least one good meal a day. She said, “Had I seen the Library on the receipt I would’ve thought, good girl! She is sitting at a library studying and enjoying coffee and a danish”. She delights in meeting the college kids parents and often hears “So THIS is The Library!”
Be looking for some construction crews this summer. The back patio is getting revamped with a fresh new look that will include a pavilion cover over the upper deck and enclosures . This will allow for 80 additional outside seats when the weather is less than perfect. Look for the initial set up to begin mid may with completion in July. Cathy anticipates a celebratory kickoff party mid to late July. Details are guarded but I can tell you for certain she is bringing the “Wow factor” to downtown Cape Girardeau!

Notables:
An interesting fact about the decor: The books on the top shelves of the bar are from the Limbaugh Law Library. It was started in the 1800’s and in its day was the largest library in six states.

Volleyball leagues will continue this summer but there will only be one session due to construction. It will run June 1st-June 30th.

Hours: M-Sat 4p-1:30a, Sun 2p-12a

Friday happy hour includes an amazing spread of food, drink specials and live entertainment! Happy hour is from 4-7p, with live music from 6-9p

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