Bud Starr Closes Root After Three Weeks [Updated]

Root (1135 South Big Bend Boulevard, Richmond Heights; 314-781-2345) announced via Twitter this morning that it was closed, effective immediately, only three weeks after it opened.

roottweet021012.JPG
via Twitter
​Chef Brian Hardesty tells Gut Check that he was at the restaurant, placing his produce order, when he got the news from Bud Starr, owner of Starrs, in which Root is located.

Hardesty says, "Bud walks up to me, asks me to get off the phone, says he's shutting down the restaurant, he's losing too much money."

In addition, claims Hardesty, "[Starr] says he's scared of me. He says I'm mean."

Hardesty is incredulous: "We haven't gotten started yet. We just opened."

Gut Check called Starrs for comment. The employee with whom we spoke said that Starr himself was unavailable. When we asked for confirmation that he'd closed Root, the employee told us we would have to call back.

More as we learn it.

---

Update (Friday, February 10, 3:30 p.m.): "Losing money, had to close," Bud Starr says when he returns our call this afternoon. "Bleeding like a stuck pig."

"It's strictly a financial matter," he adds. "It's nothing about Brian."

(When asked about Hardesty's comments, Starr says he doesn't want to address any "personality" issues.)

Though Root was less than a month old, Starr noted a decrease in reservations week-to-week: "There's only so many foodies. They're not out here.

"I didn't see [Root] ever turning a profit. I'm very disappointed."

As for the future of the space that over the past few years has been home to Starrs, Bar Oliver, Las Brisas (lifespan: four weeks), the briefly relocated Nosh and now Root?

"What I'm going to do is just wine events, wine tastings. We will never reopen as a restaurant again."


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17 comments
Cap Beefheart
Cap Beefheart

Crazy.  I was gonna go check this place out.  Three weeks?  Wow, just... Wow..

Dan D.
Dan D.

Per an email from Starr's, they're going to have prefix (sic) dinners on Friday and Saturday night, and that starting in March, deep dish pizza will be available.  

So, not done with the restaurant business, evidently.

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Palankl
Palankl

These are some of the best comments I've ever seen! I love Guerilla Street Food and would have given root a shot. We usually avoid a brand new restaurant for at least a month or two until they get rolling. 

darkstar
darkstar

At one time I was told Bud had a trust fund. Years ago  a salesman who just finished making a call on another place in Clayton (where Starr's used to be) watched Bud drive down the alley in a brand new Corvette and run into a building. Bud gets out of the car walks away and says "I'll have to go get a new one now." A former employee referred to him as the poster boy for ADD. I certainly hope Brian reopens elsewhere because I so want to eat the Lobster on the fried toast that was pictured here last Friday.

Egolterman
Egolterman

Is this just a block or two south of Clayton? 

cheesemonger
cheesemonger

bud is my hero.  if this fuckstick can keep a business running, while alienating essentially an entire community, anyone should be able to succeed by being passionate, kind and hardworking.  the space is fine, the location is fine, the concept is fine.  anyone who chooses to work with him however, is just digging their own grave.

anonymous
anonymous

Budd is an alcoholic and has wet brain....Chef Hardesty, I wish you all the luck, count your blessings and, really you are so much better off without Budd. The tool of all tools. I spoke to a guy at Crow's Nest last night who said he hasn't spoken to Budd in 20 years because he is such a nutbag. I heard the whole gun thing too, from an employee yesterday afternoon, he's really gone 'round the bend this time!!!!

Aunttopjpjmjqjvj
Aunttopjpjmjqjvj

I heard a radio spot with Brian Hardesty a couple weeks ago and made reservations right away. I was very excited about the concept beforehand, but after actually dining at Root, I was blown away.

I told all my friends about Root and even had a reservation this evening. I am just crestfallen.

I had made plans to visit Root at least once a month. During its brief lifespan, I fell head over heels with the place. I was touting it as my all time favorite restaurant.

former employee
former employee

As a former employee of buds i can honestly say he is insane. He pays his employees cash under the table (if he even pays you at all). The cheapest prick in St. Louis who should not even  be allowed to own any sort of restaurant or better yet business. His life is one big mess, i wonder what he thinks about when he gets up in the morning.

Lincoln Douglas
Lincoln Douglas

St Louis is better off now that Bud Starr is done with restaurants. And his liquor store is easily the worst in town. I'm stunned that he manages to stay in business at all. I once walked through his dirty, cluttered, mess of a store for 15 minutes and left empty-handed without seeing a single employee. I felt sorry for Chef Hardesty as soon as I read where he was putting his restaurant.

hoppin johnny
hoppin johnny

Wow, seems the word on the street is that Bud Starr pulled a gun on the chef and the police had to be called! I really hope that no one else is conned by Bud Starr and wastes their time working for him. He is the kiss of death for any restaurant. 

Radicalruckus
Radicalruckus

Wow, I eat out three or four times a week and was looking forward to checking this place out, but three weeks just isn't enough time. Stuck pig or not, you have to give any new business some time to work.

beast out
beast out

Wish we'd had a chance to try it.  Coulda been a great neighborhood hot spot if we'd had time to try it and spread the word.  Unbelievable.Who am I kidding?...QUITE believable.  Quite sad.

eater
eater

So sad. Think it had real possibilities. 

Ollie
Ollie

I think its obvious that Bud Starr has no idea what he's doing. That buildings not cursed, its owned by a lunatic has has no idea how to run a restaurant. From what it seems, he's shot himself in the foot 5 times with that space! It takes time for a new restaurant to turn a profit, especially this time of year. And to do all that work and redesign, then stop the flow of income all together? Foolish, ridiculous and sad. 

downtown diner
downtown diner

Not even great food can get through to a crazy person. That man is off his rocker. This is sad.

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