Paul and Wendy Hamilton first considered the idea of opening their own restaurant while Paul was directing food and hotel operations for Clipper Cruise Line and Wendy was heading up the marketing department for South Side National Bank. Paul graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management and had managed several independent restaurants as well as food & beverage operations at Walt Disney World in Florida. Wendy graduated from Southwest Missouri State with a marketing degree and had previously worked in the hospitality industry for several years.
The couple opened their first restaurant Eleven Eleven Mississippi (the street address), in what was originally a burned out 100-year-old warehouse, in 2003. Inspired by their love for the Tuscan & Northern California wine regions, Eleven Eleven was an instant success and was the beginning of what has turned out to be a thriving multi-concept restaurant group known as Hamilton Hospitality.
In 2006 they opened Moulin an events and meeting facility, and a French rooftop restaurant they named Vin de Set, which was the first rooftop restaurant and bar in St. Louis.
In 2008 the couple opened Grand Petite Market a wine and culinary shop. Two years later they opened PW Pizza an upscale full-service pizza restaurant, and a few years after that they followed up with 21st Street Brewers Bar which focused extensively on locally brewed craft beers.
Over the years Paul, who grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, started to grow as much produce as possible for the restaurants and in 2012 established Hamilton Farms by incorporating vertical aeroponic towers in a 1500 square foot commercial hydroponic greenhouse capable of growing over 3000 separate plants in vertical towers. In addition we host multiple bee hives and fruit trees have been planted around the garden and throughout the landscaping.
In 2018 Paul & Wendy along with Jason Arnold opened Hamilton’s Urban Steakhouse & Bourbon Bar . Serving locally sourced 100% heritage breed black Angus beef and sourcing the majority of all vegetables from the onsite greenhouse or urban farm. in 2022, Winnies Wine Bar opened up featuring wine flights, 30+ wines by the glass, selective coravin pour and small plates.
Hamilton Hospitality also offers a couple of private event space from the Caribbean themed Rhone Rum Bar, inspired by Paul & Wendy’s love of the British Virgin Islands, to the Garage with a decidely industrial feel and retro arcade and parlor games. These spaces can accommodate as few as 20 to as many as 100 guests.
Paul and Wendy have a knack for recognizing the potential of neglected historic city buildings and have turned what most consider tear downs into some of the most uniquely designed restaurants and event spaces in St. Louis. All of their properties are located in or adjacent to the historic Lafayette Square neighborhood and they do much of the design and finish work themselves. The attention to detail and the overall warmth they convey on each project is immediately evident when you walk through the door.
Over the last twenty years, all of their businesses have been recognized in some way as being the best at what they do. Eleven Eleven, Vin de Set and Hamilton’s Urban Steak House are recognized throughout the St. Louis region for delivering exceptional service and innovative cuisine. Accolades include Zagat’s “America’s Top Restaurants,” “Best New Restaurant,” “Best Overall Restaurant,” “Favorite Business Lunch,” “Favorite Service Staff,” “Favorite Outdoor Dining” and “Best Brunch.” The wine lists have been recognized by Wine Spectator earning the “Award of Excellence” and the Wine Enthusiast with their “Award of Distinction” every year since opening. Also, PW Pizza is recognized as one of the “Best Pizza Restaurants, ” and 21st Street Brewers Bar has the distinction of being one of the “Best Beer Bars.”
The Hamilton’s as a couple were honored as “Restaurateurs of The Year” in 2012 by the Missouri Chapter of the National Restaurant Association and again in 2018 by St. Louis Magazine. In addition, Eleven Eleven was named “Restaurant of The Year” in 2018 by the American Culinary Federation’s Chef’s De Cuisine of St. Louis.