1. Campus Poolside: The new Brookside apartment complexes springing up downtown have brought more students than ever to The District with their high-end amenities, and now Campus Bar & Grill is looking to get in on the action. Located at the rooftop pools at Brookside’s 10th and Elm streets location and the complex’s new parking garage on Walnut Street, the Campus Poolside bars will cater mostly to students staying in the city for the summer. The downtown bar opened near the start of June, but the Walnut Street location is just opening up.
2. Kit Bond Strategies: Kit Bond may have left the Senate in 2010, but that doesn’t mean he’s resting on his laurels. About a year after leaving office, Bond started his own consulting firm, the aptly named Kit Bond Strategies, which recently opened an office in Columbia. The firm provides a number of services ranging from strategic communications and startup development to international business development and government affairs consulting. Just last year, KBS helped to organize a trade delegation to China that resulted in two trade agreements for St. Louis businesses. The firm also has offices in St. Louis, Kansas City and Washington, D.C.
3. Gunter Hans: After returning from a study abroad in Belgium in 2009, Lydia Melton found that none of the European-style food she found in Columbia lived up to what she’d had across the pond. After a month-long fundraising turn on crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter earlier this year, Gunter Hans opened its doors at 8 Hitt St. (set back from the street in Alley A) in late August and has been serving gelato, pretzels, pretzel sandwiches and two kinds of waffles along with wine, sangria and European beers. The snack shop and bar spent October celebrating the Bavarian tradition of Oktoberfest as well.
4. Game On: With the recent reopening of Columbia landmark Gunther’s Games downtown, gaming is becoming a hot area of business in Columbia, and Game On is looking to capitalize. Columbia Computer Center owner Dave Hutchinson opened the new gaming center located at 212 E. Green Meadows Drive on the city’s south side in late September. Game On has up-to-date consoles and gaming computers for customers to come in and play and will host multiple in-store tournaments a month. The store is open until 2 a.m. most days and serves beer as well.
5. Blenders: Kieran McBride started making smoothies to fuel his active lifestyle, and he’s parlaying that experience into his new business, Blenders Smoothies and Juice. Located on the ground floor of the new apartment building at 308 S. Ninth St., Blenders makes its smoothies from scratch with no powders or purees, just fruit. Customers can chose from flavors such as the Bermuda Triangle or Zeus Juice and add supplements such as protein powder or vitamin boosts. The store also offers healthy snacks such as fruit-and-granola bowls and wheat pretzels.
6. Ozark Mountain Biscuit: Columbia has its fair share of food trucks, but none of them are quite like Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co. Owner Bryan Maness brings his experience as a chef at Café Berlin and Broadway Brewery to bear on the simple Southern food he loved while growing up in northeast Arkansas and southern Missouri. Menu items include a chicken-fried chicken sandwich (on a biscuit, of course), a pulled pork sandwich topped with cabbage slaw and “arkan-sauce” and pecan pie. Being a food truck, the Biscuit Co. is rarely in the same spot too long, but it often turns up in business parks and near the corner of Broadway and 10th Street downtown during happy hour.