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Daily Inspiration: Meet Brian Hardesty

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Hardesty.

Hi Brian, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
For the last 25 years, I have been working in the restaurant industry. From dishwasher, to cook, server, sous chef, executive chef, and then finally owner. During those years, I opened up one of the first food trucks in Saint Louis with my business partner.

We have been operating that business for the last decade. Through that operation and our experiences, I was able to understand the food truck industry and how it operated as a whole. That enabled me to conceptualize a version of a food truck park. Serendipitously, about two years ago, Larry Chapman of Chapman Ventures and Seneca Commercial Real Estate walked through my door and asked me what I thought about this particular piece of land in Affton that they wanted to incorporate food trucks into.

We talked about the concept of an elevated food truck park with a bunch of entertainment amenities and agreed that the concept was one worth pursuing. Once that partnership was in place, we went to work building one of the best food truck parks in the country and Missouri’s first food truck garden.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Overall, the road to 9 Mile Garden has been a very pleasant and smooth journey. Covid was not on our radar when planning the business but we were uniquely able to operate throughout most of the pandemic. Other than that, I feel like the execution of 9Mile Garden has been very successful and a welcome addition to the community.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
My work in the hospitality industry has taught me a few things about who I am. I strive for perfection everyday. Creatively, that is a challenge because the picture in your mind is frequently not what the end result looks like. I do my best to learn everyday. Either from my mistakes, or from others. At one point my goal was to be a leader in the culinary community for my approach to food and utilizing the ingredients in front of me in an innovative way. I feel like I have carried on that mentality into conceptualizing and developing these new types of businesses. I am constantly working to create a new experience to deliver to guests. Whether that is a themed event or new entertainment programming. I would like to think that if im known at all, it is for being an honest, hard working person who you can laugh with but also expect to deliver on the experience you were seeking out in the first place.

What does success mean to you?
I like to define my successes by my own personal mental health. If I’m happy and the people around me are happy, I look at that as a win. I must be doing something right.

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Brian Hardesty

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