Bryan Maness is ready to officially open the doors of Ozark Mountain Biscuit and Bar.
The smooth opening events started at the end of last month before the official opening date of that week scheduled for Thursday.
Although Maness had no plans to start in the restaurant and food industry, once he did, the end goal was to open his own physical location.
Ozark Mountain Biscuit Food Truck was developed with the help of his brother, Brent, and his uncle, Michael. Maness’ brother and uncle are partners at the restaurant, but do not live in Colombia. They were there before the opening. Maness is the managing partner.
Go from driving a business to a food truck in a restaurant in the Arcades district Fay Street neighborhood took several years and it started on the music festival circuit in 2013.
âWe have organized a few local festivals. Roots ‘N Blues’ N BBQ and a festival in Arkansas called Harvest Fest in the fall of 2013, “Maness said.” We saw the potential to do music festivals. ”
While the food truck would remain in Columbia, a team would travel to the festival circuit to prepare food at Ozark Mountain.
The end goal of the initial business model was to open a restaurant, Maness said.
When COVID-19 hit last year, the festival circuit came to a halt and it was time to reassess.
âIt allowed us to refocus, center, and give ourselves the breathing space to open up the kind of restaurant we’ve always planned for,â Maness said.
Expand the food truck menu
While many cookie truck favorites will be on the restaurant’s menu, patrons can expect the addition of salads, soups, sharing platters, desserts, and a full cocktail bar.
âWe have a 2,000 square foot patio here, so we’re hoping people will come over for drinks with their friends and share plates,â Maness said.
Daily specials are also provided.
A vegetable garden has been planted for use in the kitchen and at the bar.
âWe focus on a lot of native plants and plants as well as some classic herbs,â Maness said.
The menu will include local produce and meats, and when not local, will come from a cruelty-free farm, he said.
âWe will focus on seasonal vegetables from all of our local farmers and source of farmers market“said Maness.
How Ozark Mountain Biscuit and Bar chose the location for the restaurant
The announcement of this next step for Ozark Mountain came in April. Work on the building has been constant which has led to the recent smooth opening events.
Maness was drawn to the location because of Ozark Mountain’s relationship with Logboat Brewing Co. The food truck has been a staple in the brewery since it opened seven years ago.
âI knew the potential of this building as a pleasant space,â said Maness. âThe building was the old Digg meat packing plant.
“I felt like this was the right place for us. It’s near downtown, that’s where our heart is.”
The area along Fay Street is Columbia’s historic meat-packing district, he said, where what is now Logboat was the processing facility, and the Ozark Mountain building was the facility for packaging.
Across from the two buildings was the former home of the Missouri Mule team, Maness added.
Exploit a new market in Colombia: food trucks
When Maness started his business, he wanted to tap into something that was not yet part of Columbia’s atmosphere or culture: food trucks.
âI wanted to bring that culinary component to Columbia,â he said.
There is now more than 20 food trucks or similar small drive-ins in Colombia, according to Roaming Hunger.
Why Southern Style Cookie Sandwiches and Sides?
Maness has to thank his uncle and brother for this. Discussing what kind of menu they should have, it was his uncle’s idea to serve the food made by Maness’ grandmother, which they loved growing up.
âWe decided cookies would be a great way to use this as the base for all of our sandwiches. That’s how the idea sprouted, and then we developed it from there, focusing on all kinds. of Southern dishes, âManess said. .
Working in restaurants was not always the plan
When Maness first came to Columbia, it was to study history with a view to becoming a lawyer.
He had already worked in restaurant kitchens during his high school days, and this continued after arriving in Columbia in 1997 from the Lake of the Ozarks.
“I worked at Main compression through the college, the old Bambino’s, Trattoria Strada Nova where 44 Canteen is now located, âManess said. âI was director, general manager and head of Broadway Brewery for several years and was also General Manager of CafÃ© Berlin for a time. “
It was Cafe Berlin owner Eli Gay who helped provide the commissary space for cookie truck prep work before he found his own space. Maness and Gay had worked together at Trattoria Strada Nova before Gay opened CafÃ© Berlin.
âWorking there during the day allowed me to focus on building my cookie truck business at night,â Maness said.