POLK AWARD WINNERS
Restaurant owners Derek and Lucas Gamlin to be honored by Central West End Association
Derek and Lucas Gamlin inside 1764 Public House.
|photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
November 01, 2017
Restaurateurs Derek and Lucas Gamlin have long been supporters of the Central West End, placing their faith in the neighborhood by opening three restaurants in succession there. They have also used their substantial business success to give back to the community.
The Gamlins' dedication to the Central West End has not gone unnoticed. The brothers are being recognized with the Polk Award, an annual honor given by the Central West End Association to those who have made contributions to the betterment of the neighborhood.
The Gamlin brothers will receive their award at the annual Central West End Association Gala, to be held Friday, Dec. 1, at The McPherson.
The Gamlins opened their first Central West End restaurant, Sub Zero Vodka Bar, at 308 N. Euclid Ave., more than 13 years ago. Gamlin Whiskey House followed nine years later, at Euclid and Maryland. Now the brothers are celebrating the recent grand opening of 1764 Public House, located at the intersection of Euclid and West Pine.
The Gamlins grew up in Tower Grove, then moved to Clayton while still young. Their parents, Joseph and Lynda Gamlin, were both teachers, and instilled in their children the importance of giving back to the community.
"Over the years, our philosophy has become, 'give as much as we can,'" said Lucas Gamlin.
In 2013, the Gamlins founded "Gamlins Give Back," which helps fund local charities through Give Back Days. Every quarter, a Give Back Day event is held at a Gamlin restaurant, with 15 percent of total sales donated to a local charity.
"We used to give gift cards when people asked, or little things, but then a focus emerged for bigger events," said Derek Gamlin. "The charities are as close and as local as possible: Forest Park Forever, Ronald McDonald House, Shriner's, World Pediatric Fund."
World Pediatric Fund brings children from developing countries to the U.S. for much-needed surgeries. It has a network of hospitals, including some in the St. Louis area.
Another partnership important to the Gamlins is with pro football star Chris Long and his foundation, which provides well water to communities in Africa and much more.
Other charities benefiting from Give Back Day include The Jason Motte Foundation, St. Louis Arc and the Gateway Area Chapter of the National MS Society.
"It's one of the most important things we can do," said Derek Gamlin about Gamlins Give Back. "We have a passion for St. Louis, and we have a lot of local charities close to us."
Roots in the Community
Lucas and Derek Gamlin outside of 1764 Public House at Euclid and West Pine.
|photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
Lucas Gamlin remembers coming to the Central West End when its relatively recent revitalization was still on an uphill climb.
"Our parents owned a Häagen-Dazs in Ladue, and their friends owned one where Coffee Cartel is now," he said. "I remember coming to the Central West End then when it wasn't so great."
Lucas Gamlin worked at a yogurt and coffee shop in the neighborhood too, but ended up relocating to Portland, Ore. When his brother Derek opened Sub Zero Vodka Bar, Lucas Gamlin was still in Oregon. He eventually made his way back home to work with the Gamlin Restaurant Group.
"I'm typically on the financial end and Derek is more front of the house," said Lucas Gamlin.
Their brother Jeremy is the manager at Sub Zero Vodka Bar, and their mother lives just down the block from the newly-opened 1764 Public House. She is their number one cheerleader.
Rehab work on the brand new 1764 Public House was extensive. Its location on the ground floor of The Residences at Forest Park Hotel building made for some challenges, but the site was a familiar one to the Gamlins.
"We looked at this corner for Sub Zero about 15 years ago, but it didn't work out," said Derek Gamlin. "It came back around to us and we had the opportunity to do it. We wanted to be a part of the revitalization here."
Lucas Gamlin worked closely with the design team on the look of the place.
"I have a deep passion for design and art," he said. "It was a challenging building because it doesn't have a basement and there are columns everywhere."
The building was built in the early 1920s by Preston J. Bradshaw, who also designed the Chase Park Plaza. Although the 1920s was a vibrant time for the city, Lucas Gamlin said when he thinks of cutting-edge St. Louis he thinks of the 1950s and '60s.
Helping to light the space, which has soaring ceilings, are 1950s Gino Sarfatti chandeliers. Recycled red leather was used for the seating, in keeping with the Gamlins' desire for sustainability.
"We are part of the Green Dining Alliance," said Lucas Gamlin. "We hope to certify 1764 soon."
Any St. Louisan worth their salt will recognize the St. Louis connection to "1764," which is the year the city was founded. The brothers wanted the restaurant to be an extension of all that is good about St. Louis.
"The Central West End – and this has been verified by multiple sources – is a friendly place," said Derek Gamlin. "People are awed at how diverse and how nice people are here. Being a St. Louisan is being nice and inviting. That's what this restaurant is about."
It's an extension of the people, said Lucas Gamlin, like any true public house.