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 BS 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 90-year-old warehouse, in 2003. It 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 their second and third businesses. Moulin, an events and meeting facility, and a French rooftop restaurant they named Vin de Set. Moulin has grown over the years and currently comprises 27,000 square feet of space utilizing seven private rooms all with a slightly different feel from one another. Vin de Set, which was the first rooftop restaurant and bar in St. Louis, has one of the best views the city has to offer.
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 focuses mainly on locally brewed craft beers.
Paul and Wendy have a knack for recognizing the potential of neglected historic city buildings and have turned what most consider teardowns into some of the most uniquely designed restaurants 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 years Paul, who grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, has started to grow as much produce as possible for the restaurants on a nearby urban farm. Recently he installed a commercial aeroponic tower greenhouse between two of the locations as well as beehives and fruit trees. They also roost chickens and utilize the fresh farm eggs in their operations as well. All of this activity operates under the name Hamilton Farms.
The Hamilton’s latest venture is their first collaboration as they partnered with Charleville Brewing Co. and longtime Director of Operations Jason Arnold to open Charleville Brewing Co. & Tavern. All the beer is brewed on site, and the vast majority of all the vegetables on the menu come from the greenhouse or urban farm.
Over the last fourteen years, all of their businesses have been recognized in some way as being the best at what they do. Eleven Eleven and Vin de Set 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” by the Missouri Chapter of the National Restaurant Association in 2012.