During the years just prior to Europe’s involvement in World War I, August A. Busch, Sr. and his architects explored The Old World for examples of Flemish architectural styles. With his plan to build an authentic mill in his native St. Louis, Mr. Busch studied various construction methods of the Dutch windmills. When he returned to St. Louis, he chose the spot, in 1915, at Gravois Road and Morganford because it was approximately halfway between the Anheuser Busch Brewery and Grant’s Farm, his home.
Mr. Busch used the beautiful Mill Room as his private dining room for many years. The remainder of the restaurant was open to the public in 1917.
Complete in 1916 for the then-incredible sum of $250,000, the Bevo boasts quite a few unique architectural points of interest. The windmill is 60 feet in diameter and revolves on a 24 inch shaft extending through a marble bearing. Originally, the blades were wooden and propelled by wind. In 1954, the blades were damaged by a fierce wind, striking the tower. They were replaced by aluminum blades and are now electronically operated. The exterior of the building is finished with specially selected stones of all colors, shapes and textures, personally gathered by Mr. Busch from Grant’s Farm, and set in stucco.
Following the German and Dutch tradition, a pair of storks were mounted on top of the chimney to ensure good luck. The vaulted ceilings of the foyer and Mill Room have groined arches which end in stone-carved gnomes, unusual in design and character. The gnomes were exhibited at the Paris Exhibition of 1898 and cost and additional $50,000.
In August of 2009 L & M Catering (Gourmet Food Works Corporate Catering and Gourmet Food Works Deli in Clayton) took control of the building from the city of St. Louis. After months of trial and tribulation the Bevo Mill was to reopen.
Almost $500,000 has been spent on restoring the historic building as well as bringing many elements up to code. The main dining area has been “white glove” cleaned and polished and painted. The Mill room that holds many treasures, the painted tile murals and painted gnomes, has had many local craftsmen and artisans restore them and bring them back to life. Downstairs in the Oak Room and Bavarian Room new carpet has been laid, artisan glass replaced and art deco light fixtures recreated to match the others.
The whole building has an air of tradition, distinction and elegance.
The new owners, Milan Manjencich and Louie Lausevich, prepared to take on this major project and set the wheels in motion to host the first event after months of abandonment, hosted dignitaries and media for a Grand Opening on October 14, 2009 and the first wedding on October 17, 2009. Both were huge accomplishments and foretold of many successful events to come.
Primarily open for private events now, the Bevo has been fortunate enough to have companies, non-profits and individuals with memories of it to keep coming back for holiday parties, rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions, meetings and other corporate events.
Although at this time the Bevo is not open as a full time restaurant it still has events open to the public so everyone has a chance to make memories at this gem of a building. Between Sunday Brunches, New Year’s Eve Parties, Holiday Dinners and Murder Mystery Dinners there is something for everyone.