In just a couple months, Edwardsville residents will find a worthwhile dining experience three years in the making.
St. Louis-based Crushed Red started out in 2011 and will open its first Metro East location in May at the intersection of Park and South Buchanan.
“We love the mix of professional and resident population,” says Powell Kalish, Crushed Red’s co-founder and chief development officer. “Having a major university close by is also a big factor.”
Kalish says Crushed Red was born in response to “a void between your typical fast-casual restaurant and full-service restaurant.
“We liked the potential of being in the fast-casual sector but wanted to elevate everything,” he says.
Guests indulge in the experience of having salads chopped right in front of them in an elevated décor — with butcher block tables, leather booths, accent lighting, as well as real china and flatware wrapped in linen napkins.
The restaurant also composts and recycles all of its material, making it 100 percent sustainable.
The menu is a delectable collection of soups, salads, pizzas and shareables crafted from healthy and organic ingredients — more than 50, in fact. “We wanted to provide healthy, organic menu options that appeal to a wide range of guests,” Kalish says.
These include the health nut salad, with broccoli, edamame, carrots, almonds, cranberries, and chickpeas in a bed of spinach and romaine with raspberry vinaigrette dressing as well as the Yukon gold pizza, with parmesan cream, sirloin steak, bacon, Yukon potato, onion, gorgonzola and Crushed Red mozzarella blended with fresh rosemary, among many others.
“You can completely customize your menu choice from our 50-plus ingredients,” Kalish says. “We are continually coming up with creative options.”
These include the new This Pear is on Fire salad, with spiced pears, dried cranberries, bacon, goat cheese, avocado with spinach and house mix, tossed with habañero honey dressing and topped with candied walnuts; and the Trippin’ on Truffles pizza, with truffle mushroom tapenade, caramelized onion, spinach, cremini, portabella and white mushrooms, topped off with the custom-made Crushed Red mozzarella blend.
Kalish says he believes Crushed Red will find its fair share of enthusiastic regulars in Edwardsville.
“What sets us apart is the value our guests get with the atmosphere and menu options of a full-service restaurant and the price points and convenience of a fast-casual,” he says.
Within 45 days of opening, Crushed Red will hire about 30 full- and part-time employees for the Edwardsville location.
Looking beyond the Metro East, Kalish says Crushed Red will continue to grow company- and franchise-owned restaurants at a diligent, yet aggressive, rate.
“In addition to Edwardsville, we have restaurants opening in Chesterfield, Mo., Overland Park, Kan., Tulsa, Okla., and Indiana,” he says.