Damaged Crossroads building to house iTap ‘beer hall,’ Mission Taco Joint

Mission Taco Joint and iTap plan to open on the first floor of 1801 Oak.
Mission Taco Joint and iTap plan to open on the first floor of 1801 Oak.

St. Louis-based International Tap House — known as iTap — now has a liquor license for the first floor of 1801 Oak St.

Partners Brad Lobdell and Sean Conroy met in the mid-1990s at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Lobdell grew up in south Kansas City (a Hickman Mills High School graduate) and Conroy was a reporter with Fox 4 before moving to St. Louis, his wife’s hometown.

Lobdell and Conroy opened the first iTap in Chesterfield, Mo., in 2009 and now have three locations in the St. Louis area and one in Columbia. They describe iTap as “beer halls with a massive selection of draft and bottled brews in spacious, industrial-chic settings.”

They looked at sites in Prairie Village about three years ago, and more recently in Westport. But they settled on the building at 18th and Oak streets, a building that was heavily damaged after a car careened into it during a high-speed pursuit by police in late 2014.

The building at 18th and Oak was heavily damaged after a car careened into it during a high-speed pursuit by police in late 2014.

They consider the Crossroads an “up-and-coming spot, especially with the trolley and things moving further east,” Conroy said.

Lobdell added: “I’m excited because I grew up there — I will be opening a business in my hometown.”

Mission Taco Joint, also in the St. Louis area, also has signed a lease for a nearly 4,000-square-foot space on the first floor.

Brothers and partners Adam Tilford and chef Jason Tilford founded the bar and restaurant concept three years ago and now have two locations on the east side of the state, with a third scheduled to open in April.

It is combination bar/gourmet taqueria and will serve eight to 10 different tacos a day a la carte. Among the selections will be Mofu Tofu (wood-fire grilled cactus and local mofu tofu, arugula, jalapeno salsa and pickled onions), Roasted Duck (chile-roasted duck, crisp pork belly carnitas and avocado serrano sauce) and Beef Brisket Birria (slow-roasted brisket, pork belly carnitas, avocado and fiery arbol sauce).

The menu also includes tortas, empanadas, corn fritters, flautas and burritos.

Once the space is turned over to the brothers — probably this fall — they would need three or four months for the buildout, so a late 2016 or early 2017 opening is planned.

Abbott Properties is the owner and developer of the building. The second floor will probably be leased to office tenants.

[Brewery, winery, other businesses coming to East Crossroads district]

Bier Station changes

Three years after opening Bier Station in the Waldo/Brookside area, owner John Couture is making several upgrades.

He purchased the building — which also has a dental office as a tenant — in late October 2015 for an undisclosed price.

An expanded patio area will have a retractable, waterproof canopy and heat lamps when it opens in March.

“So many people in the neighborhood love to walk their dogs over or just walk over in general. We’re trying to make it useful nine months out of the year,” Couture said.

Bier Station, at 120 E. Gregory Blvd., also will have an expanded menu and a European oven.

Couture said “more food options and a better patio” were No. 1 and No. 2 on his Facebook customer survey in May 2015 — more than 1,000 customers responded — and he also took input from area neighborhood associations.

He also is updating the upstairs Biergarten with new flooring, installation, soundproofing panels and upgraded HVAC.

Bier Station also will have a new mobile app that will allow customers to order from their tables.

Gregory Family Dental is on the west side of the building at 112 E. Gregory Blvd. and has four years left on its lease.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC