Wyoming restaurateurs Caitlin Steininger and Kelly Trush are once again expanding the Wyoming dining scene with the construction of Station Family + BBQ, a new venture set to open in early 2019 at 400 Wyoming Avenue – originally the Wyoming fire house, and formerly the location of Sturkey’s and DiStasi’s.
When What’s Up Wyoming talked to Trush and Steininger prior to the opening of CWC back in 2017, the pair already had an eye on expansion, but Trush says that the Station is a completely different venture. Trush said “…once we were open, we were just catching our breath.” When the city approached the pair in October of 2017 about doing something in the old DiStasi’s space, their gut reaction was “No, we really don’t know what we’re doing yet (at CWC). But it was one of those things where we walked away and we were like ‘son of a gun! How could you not? We couldn’t shake it. It was, like, scarier to not to try it than it was to move forward with it.”
Given that city leadership had faith that they could be successful in the space, Steininger and Trush started looking at how they could make it work and what the effect on their personal life would be. The schedule at CWC was based around Steininger’s and Trush’s family commitments and the operating hours of Station will be no different, with a Tuesday through Saturday schedule.
The venture is really about the space and being a part of the community. “Our idea here was for this building. If this didn’t work here, we weren’t going somewhere else to do it,” Trush said. “We still live down the street. CWC is two miles away.”
The pair won’t be going it alone in the new venture. They are partnering with Karen Klaus, another Wyoming resident and a long-time CWC employee. When asked what they saw in Klaus that made them want to partner with her Trush said, “(Karen) is entrepreneurially spirited at her core – I don’t even think she knew this about herself – and she is intense with her work ethic and her determination, and she takes all initiative. (When) she was at CWC, she always went over and above without us even asking, but it was always her pleasure. She came to us on a Monday and said ‘I’d really love to be part of something like this.’ and as soon as she said that, we were like, ‘Now we know we can do it.'”
The trio will be joined by a core group of employees from CWC that Trush calls the “ambassadors of our brand,” so that while they will be at Station often, they won’t feel compelled to be there all of the time. Jenny, a kitchen manager and ‘rock star’ from CWC (Trush’s words) is working with Steininger to design the menu and is expected to run the kitchen day-by-day.
Steininger and Trush are calling the menu at Station Cincinnati-style barbecue. Acknowledging that there is not a core Cincinnati barbecue tradition, Trush expects that their menu will honor a lot of existing barbecue style, but with Caitlin’s unique twist. A smoker with a 500 butt capacity is expected to be installed soon, so diners can expect brisket and pulled pork along with a signature sausage. Diners can also expect staple barbecue sides like slaw and mac & cheese.
While the more fixed menu and higher sales volume will likely preclude Steininger’s ability to go ‘hyper-local’ like she sometimes does at CWC, the menu will feature locally sourced meat from Wyoming Meat Market and custom breads from Wyoming Pastry Shop.
Station will also be working with Cellar Dweller, the craft brewery owned by the operators of Valley Vineyards, to create a signature beer. That brew is expected to join a beer menu that will be considerably larger than CWC’s.
Community Gathering Place
Located right on Wyoming’s Village Green, Trush expects that Station will be a community gathering place.
“One of our favorite things now is to come down on Saturday mornings and see all of families come out and hang out on the Green, and buying donuts after getting out of soccer games,” Trush said. “This will be another gathering place.”
Station’s space will include a much-needed public restroom that will be open to the Village Green. Two new patios, one of which will open to the park, will also be added to the restaurant.
About the Space
Cincinnati-area diners will recognize Station’s building, if not the interior. Of course, it was once home to Sturkey’s, a fine dining institution for many years. It sat empty for several years before it was taken over by the DiStasi family (the operators of Gabby’s, also in the Wyoming business district), who turned it into a banquet center and restaurant.
While the space is not being gutted, it will see a general refresh and a style that closer matches the family and community-focused nature of Station. The main dining room will feature large tables for family-style dining and the front of the building will be opened with large garage-style doors to bring the outside in. The large bar on the east side of the restaurant will carry over, but that space will get additional taps to support the larger selection of beers and will also be opened to the Village Green.
When asked if there were any surprises when they started opening up the building, Trush said, “One of my very favorite things is when we started smashing into the walls was the different layers – the wallpaper, and what was under the wallpaper, and really old paint. These are just years of people’s lives and the history of our neighborhood.”
The sisters and Klaus spent a lot of time at the the Wyoming Historical Society researching the building as well. “We loved learning (about the building) and seeing different pictures (of how the building used to be), she added. The foyer of the restaurant is expected to feature pictures of the building and the adjoining green throughout its history.
Once again, Steininger and Trush are working with a local team throughout design and construction. Their architect is local resident Charlie Jahnigen (of SHP Architects) and their designers are Abby Jahnigen and Katie Wehby, all of whom had a hand in the renovation of the space for CWC. The general contractor is Jeff Meyung, also a Wyoming resident.
Upstairs Opening Soon
While most of the downstairs of the building is still a work in progress, the kitchen only needed a light refresh and cleaning. Once the smoker gets installed, Trush feels that approval from the health department will be quick to follow. The upstairs space at Station is much further along – looking nearly finished when we visited in August – and Station expects to start hosting pop-up and private events very soon.
Be sure to subscribe to What’s Up Wyoming for other updates on Station Family + BBQ. And watch for tastings to be announced on the City’s Facebook page.