Columbia Loves 44 Stone

Everyone is barmy for the grub and rounds at 44 Stone Public House.



 

A traditional, British pub tempered by contemporary American intuition has rocketed one local restaurant past expectations, both geographically and gastronomically. The proof is in the numbers. Columbians nominated 44 Stone Public House for nine of Inside Columbia magazine’s Best of Columbia 2013 awards — the most nominations garnered by any nominee in this year’s competition.

Located more than 4,000 miles from the public-house motherlands of the British Isles, Australia and India, 44 Stone offers creative yet traditional pub-friendly fare. Removed from the pressurized, downtown Columbia dining scene, the restaurant at 3910 Peachtree Drive features curved walls set against mixed natural elements of stone and wood with high ceilings and sleek, comfortable furnishings throughout its large rooms.

Nine isn’t the only number to carry weight with the British-inspired pub; the name weighs in pretty heavily as well. When using an old English unit of weight, one “stone” is equal to 14 pounds in currency terms. Owners Mark Sulltrop and Dave Faron had 44 stones between them when they opened 44 Stone Public House on Feb. 15, 2011.

 “Columbia was perfect for a gastro pub,” Faron says. “No restaurant fit the model exactly that was here in town.”

Executive chef Mark Sulltrop and front-of-house chief Dave Faron met while working together at Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar in Columbia. Sulltrop, then executive chef at Bleu, hired Faron to be his sous chef. Inspired by Faron’s familial ties to the British Isles and the duo’s lifelong commitment to cooking in a warm, enjoyable atmosphere, Faron and Sulltrop opened 44 Stone where they collaborate on menu ideas and oversee their close-knit staff.

The co-owners work in tandem, complementing each other’s skills. Fayette native Sulltrop runs the kitchen. A self-taught chef, he has worked at Les Bourgeois Vineyards, Bleu, The Tiger Hotel and Upper Crust Bakery and Café.

Faron oversees the bar and front-of-house. The St. Louis native attended DePaul University and the University of Missouri. He has cooked in Italian and French restaurants in St. Louis and Chicago; in Columbia, he was sous chef at Bleu and executive chef at Jack’s Gourmet Restaurant.

The two take inspiration from all manner of world cuisine, saying they “embrace food with big bold flavors, using approachable ingredients in a nonpretentious manner.”

In the two years since opening, 44 Stone is growing into itself. The quality-driven core menu remains, but changes seasonally, and the restaurant’s demographic has grown, “allowing more diverse ingredients and cuts of meat,” Faron says.

“The beer menu has changed dramatically,” he adds, “and the beer focus has shifted from an emphasis on English/Scottish/Irish beers to the most exotic and high-end domestic and imported craft beers available.”

With 12 beers always on tap and a rotating selection of more than 90 types of bottles and cans, Faron says, “we believe we have become the premier craft-beer destination in town.” Imperial India pale ales and Belgian-style beers are the bar’s most popular drinks.

The whiskey selection, ranging from Irish to Scotch to bourbon, has tripled. The restaurant also boasts a small, but high-quality wine list. The pub’s most popular food item is the 44 Stone Burger. For traditionalists, the fish and chips are always hot, fresh and in demand.

Faron says he hopes diners leave 44 Stone feeling full and satisfied, having tasted something new. “And if they’re slurring their words a little from the high-octane beer and whiskey,” he adds, “I hope they say they’re gonna call Taxi Terry.”

The service is as important as the food, Faron says. “Our service staff interacts with the guests in a very convivial way; no formality here,” he says. “Our regulars have become friends with staff members. Guests tell me that they can tell my staff enjoys working here, so that is reflected in the service.”

Reader Comments:
Feb 13, 2013 02:32 pm
 Posted by  1crossfire

We do? This place has a certain "air" about it. The owners act as if they are doing you a favor just by opening their doors. I have had lunch in there several times and the owners have never so much as said hello nor have they have ever offered a thank-you for my patronage. 44 Stone seems to be a rather cliquish place. Certain items on the menu are very good. Others are so-so.

I will opt to spend my money in a more friendly places in the future.

Mar 19, 2013 01:51 pm
 Posted by  Foodie

HAHA reading that last comment, really gave me a laugh. You mean the owners did not come up and kiss your feet for simply coming to their restaurant? How sad for you, sir prince of England. WOW, for those of us who aren't entitled pieces of **** this place is great! This is one of those rare places where you can just walk in with a blind-fold, order the special and be elated each and every time! I literally can not sing high enough praises for this place. The everyday menu is VERY GOOD. How many places do you know that serves deviled eggs on the menu, let alone the smoked salmon that accompanies the eggs to complement the flavor. I have never been a fan of fish and chips, but HOLY COW theirs is AMAZING, finger-licking good. Their thick tasty burger is served on a delicious pretzel bun and they are always changing up their in-house beer ketchup: once we had it made with PBR, another time it was Guinness. But hand down the best sandwich I have ever eaten is the pork belly sandwich served with sriracha aioli and avocado... WOW ... seriously just AMAZING... it's the only way to explain it, also make sure to get the egg on it, it adds a great flavor. The fried cheese balls are always a treat as well! This is one of those restaurant where my wife and I have enjoyed literally EVERYTHING we have tried, that's very impressive to us considering we are very picky foodies. Then to top it all off they have the best beer selection in Central Missouri. Their draft line-up is KILLER, they always have something we haven't tried yet, which is tough for beer folks like us. The ambiance is really great too, great lighting, great seating, and very classy looking. This gastro-european style pub is sure to become a quick favorite in Columbia, & is sure to be a lasting restaurant! Oh and the bartenders are extremely friendly and know a lot about the beer. Try Sunday brunch as well they always have a roast that sells out very quickly so come in early for a real treat! Give this place a try!

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