Friday, January 24, 2014 / 2:15 PM
In the fall of 2012, Sugarfire Smoke House opened at 9200 Olive in Olivette to raves and lines out the door; six weeks ago we announced the second location would be in north St. Charles (now slated for an April opening); and today comes word that Sugarfire #3 will bow a month later.
The new store will be located at 9955 Winghaven Drive in O'Fallon, Mo. An Imo's Pizza store (below) is on one end of the mini-strip center, Sugarfire will occupy a bay on the other.
Relish had indicated that the newest Sugarfire would be a licensed unit, aka a franchised location, one not directly owned by any of Sugarfire's prior partners. At this writing, architectural plans are being drawn, permits are in the works, and the Ole Hickory smoker’s been ordered, according to Charlie Downs, co-owner of the flagship Sugarfire. (The spokesperson for the franchise group is staying mum until prior job obligations are fulfilled.)
The Winghaven Sugarfire measures 1600 SF, considerably smaller than either of the other two locations, but that doesn’t bother Downs, who compares barbeque to the pizza business. “The store will have 15 to 20 seats for dine-in customers, plus a covered patio” Downs said, "but the majority of the business will come from carry-out and delivery." Just like at the neighboring Imo's store.
The flagship Sugarfire has delivered its menu since day one, accounting for 10% of the revenue, according to Downs, who added, "and that number keeps growing." Ditto the catering business. "You see barbeque places do more and more catering because the public has realized the product travels so well," Downs explained, adding "and if you think about it, a catering order is really just a big delivery order." (An aside: Sugarfire's website has recently been redesigned, and the chef bios alone are worth the click. We've long maintained that food should be fun and these guys are having fun. See below and here.)
According to Downs, the O'Fallon area is an underserved market, as in, “there’s no barbeque anywhere close," which is exactly the way his partner Mike Johnson described location # 2 in north St. Charles to us a few weeks ago.
Asked if more franchised units are in the works, Downs said not at the present time, explaining that this agreement only came about because the players had "exactly the same passion we do...people capable of duplicating Sugarfire exactly...people that will make it exciting to go there," referencing the two Pappy's spin-offs in the process.
Folks in the Winghaven/O'Fallon area should smell Sugarfire’s sweet, blue smoke by early May. Sweeter still, that they're able to either call in or order online and have the bounty (below) delivered right to their door.
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