Fresh comfort food.
Sweet tea in a mason jar.
Mellow folk music.
This quintessentially homey dining experience is exactly what Feaster’s Bistro, Baldwin City’s newest restaurant, has to offer. It is also the only restaurant in town where almost every menu item has been grown and raised locally.
Chris Feaster, the restaurant’s owner and chef, is a veteran of the Lawrence Farmers’ Market. He knows first-hand how fresh-picked tomatoes and farm eggs can enhance a meal’s flavor and make it more nutritious.
“This is how my family eats, you know, we eat locally produced food,” Feaster said. “We just are super excited to have a menu that can support all of the local farmers and meat producers, and that’s very much a healthier way to eat.”
Whether dining on mashed potatoes or steak, customers can find out where their dish’s ingredients came from a list on a chalkboard. Even the restaurant’s pies and cupcakes are from local bakers.
Feaster and his wife, co-owner Maggie Beedles, have tried to give Feaster’s Bistro a “food-focused” and “family-friendly” vibe that also attracts college students.
“We’ll try to have live music every Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” Feaster said. “We have free Wi-Fi for students who want to come in and work on a computer. We have coffee; we have a quieter area upstairs for people who want to study.”
Feaster said the opening weekend was a success.
“We opened (last) Friday, and it was awesome,” he said. “We did not expect the type of business that we had and we kind of, we weren’t exactly prepared for it. We did well. Everybody really pulled together and made it happen.”
Feaster’s Bistro is located at 519 Ames, in the building that was once home to the Melange Apron and, more recently, The Rogue Wave.
Once a popular surf-and turf destination, The Rogue Wave will be moving into the former Hickory Creek building at 711 High Street.
Susan Baker, Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce office manager, thinks the restaurant’s new location will be an asset to the downtown area.
“The barbeque shop was only open part time and that’s difficult when you want to bring people down here and shop and then want to go eat barbeque,” Baker said. “So, I’m excited about having a full-service restaurant down here.”
Greg Kruger, Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce president, said that in addition to its original seafood menu, The Rogue Wave will be serving some barbeque dishes like those found at Hickory Creek Bar & Que when it opens in a few weeks.
He said that “when the dust settles,” Baldwin City will end up with an ever broader range of meal choices.
“It’s like playing chess … we’re just moving the pieces around,” Kruger said. “We’re not really losing anything, and we’re gaining something brand new.”