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A Conversation With the New Edge Wild Owners, Dee Dee & Andy Kohn: Part I

Envision the finest domestic and international wines; a massive bar, lots of appetizers, burgers, salads and entrees too and a building full of lively patrons.

Like Phoenix rising from the ashes Busch’s Grove location will feature a restaurant once more. This incarnation will be a wine bar restaurant run by the enterprising family of Dee Dee and Andy Kohn. Andy Kohn is a Country Day graduate; their two boys graduated MICDS and the family has moved from Ladue further west.

The husband-wife team already own and operate Edge Wild Restaurant & Winery in Chesterfield. That concept will be coming to Ladue. It will not be the reincarnation what-so-ever of the shuttered Busch’s Grove.

Of the thousand restaurants in St. Louis, Edge Wild II will be an exclusive gathering place, offering fine wines from their own vineyard in Defiance, MO and elsewhere. By cutting out the middle man markups, the new owners can offer premium wines at reasonable prices. 

Patch caught up with the Kohn’s to find out the plans for what they term will become “Ladue’s newest watering hole.”

Ladue-Frontenac Patch: Thank heavens, after two years someone will bring this historic location back into full use.

Andy Kohn: “We are excited about that location. We are not another Busch’s Groves. We have wonderful parking; we are centrally located to Clayton. Our other location (the former Bahama Breeze in Chesterfield)--just east of Chesterfield Mall on the road adjacent to Highway 64/40 is too far away for those who don’t venture past I-270.

Patch: This location historically has been the “meeting place” well over 100 years. 

AK: Absolutely. We want to restore the meeting place under the Edge Wild brand.

Patch: So how did that name come about, Edge Wild.

AK: Its actually the subdivision my wife grew up in, in Peoria, Illinois. It kind of fits the location we are at--the edge of the county near Wildwood.

Dee Dee Kohn: Yes, we are keeping the Edge Wild tradition alive.

Patch: Lets talk about your relationship with the other owner (Chris LaRocca). 

AK: Chris and I have a relationship dating back a number of years. He is one of the investors in Chandler Vineyards (in Defiance). He is a consultant to us and I saw the kind of job he had done for two years and I knew he would be our operating partner.

Patch: You came from the printing industry. What gets you into owning a restaurant.

AK: Every job in printing is customized and unique. In the restaurant business, you are creating your menu over and over again. In the printing business, by definition, every job is late by the time you get it out. The job is always perfect on the proof. The president of the company approves (the copy) and he wants it tomorrow. Its a very hard job to perform at that level. We were very successful in that industry and the same custom service we learned and at Dee Dee’s graphic (company) are things we will execute at Edge Wild.

Wine is our passion and our hobby. I very much believe people should do what they love and enjoy.

We were dying to run a restaurant. When we were providing wines for Chandler Hill (winery) we felt there was the opportunity for a meaningful relationship to run a restaurant with a wine concept.

We are partners with 18 people in Chandler Hill. 

Patch: How did you educate yourself about wines.

AK: Dee Dee introduced me to wines. Our first date was a winery date. I was a cocktails/spirits kind of guy. She kind of turned me onto wines and our relationship has lasted for 25 years. We enjoy owning, tasting, collecting fine wines. We found ourselves in wine country about once every year. That includes Washington, Oregon, California--Burgundy brands, Italy, Spain, Australia. We’ve been all over the World trying wines, going to wineries and exploring our passions.

DK: Right, right, we bought wines from our boutique wine maker on the west coast and have done taste profiles that may not have been available at other locations. Our goal is to educate our customers.

We think the more we can teach and educate our customers, the better we will be. We have a wine club and anyone can join that. That involves a loyalty program and we invite everyone to become part of the wine community.

Tomorrow, the owners talk about price points, the opening date and volunteering for the Jewish community and more.

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