- Photo Credit: James Baer
Richard Nix, Jr., 48, graduate of DeSmet (1982) attended the University of Missouri-Columbia, but has no college degree to show for his time there.
What Nix has is a post-doctoral education in running one of St. Louis’ finest and most successful catering services, bar none.
What Nix has learned is not always taught in books.
Today, this resident of Huntleigh Manor (wife, five kids and a sprawling home) keeps 48 full time and 300 part timers employed in the food and beverage industry and runs one of the premier catering businesses in the Midwest-The Butler’s Pantry.
In fact, as judged by his professional peers, he was recently recognized nationally with the 2012 Ace Award, the top honor in the catering industry. The company was recently notified they are the recipient of the nationally acclaimed Catersource 2012 Ace award for the Midwest.
The award was based upon:
- Best on-premise catered event, budget under $200 per person (Palladium St. Louis and Butler’s Pantry)
- Best tabletop design-budget $500 and over per table.
Nix was raised in catering. Butler’s Pantry is celebrating its 47th year in business. His father started with Pope’s Cafeteria, and his parents ran their first operation out of the present House of India location at I-170 and Delmar starting in 1966.
Before entering the family business in 1988, Nix worked at the old Arena Club for the St.Louis Blues; waited tables at the old Viking Restaurant on Watson Road and was a manager at the Greenbriar Hills Country Club in Kirkwood.
Nix’s biggest bold move was the acquisition of the Palladium on the site of the old City Hospital in South St. Louis. “We wanted to be downtown, but we didn’t want to be downtown,” reasoned Nix.
The Palladium was the laundry facility built as a public works project in 1937 at the long defunct City Hospital. The nearby Darst-Webbe house projects have given way to a burgeoning and robust Benton Park neighborhood at the doorstep of the Lafayette Square neighborhood.
“We aren’t exactly pioneers on the new frontier. We have a building brides just love. The facility is contemporary with soaring glass windows. Brides go crazy with this facility without spending a fortune,” he said. The place seats 300 and can handle cocktail receptions for up to 700.
For decades, Butler’s Pantry has handled the really big and important events. Nix can name everyone on his team. “We don’t go to temporary agencies to get our help. Rather, we hire people and we tell them to recommend people that will also work for us.”
Butler’s pantry had 325 workers at the 2008 BMW golf championships at Bellerieve Country Club and he could personally name 315 of them.
Other mega events included catering the 1984 World Series party under the Arch; the visit of Pope John Paul II, the Mayors Ball and the U.S. Senior Open to mention a few.
Nix has an interesting and diverse family.The family grew up in University City, attended Our Lady of Lourdes and transferred to Immacolata Parish in Richmond Heights during his teen years. His brother Paul runs a catering company in San Antonio, TX. His sister Nicole Nix works for U.S. Food Service and his sister Ann Marie Lemcke runs the “Art of Entertaining,” a gourmet food store in Webster Groves.
Richard and Elizabeth are in the midst of raising five children.
Ricky, MICDS graduate is an English major at Hobart College, New York. Peyton is a senior at Westminster Christian Academy, headed to a study arts and archeology at Mizzou. Reilly is a sophomore at MICDS. LuLu is a sixth grader at Oak Hill School and Grace is a fourth grader, also at Oak Hill.
On Easter Sunday, Butler’s Pantry served 1,000 meals at Bixby’s Restaurant at the Missouri History Museum and Cafe’ Madeleine in Tower Grove Park. “We work when other’s don’t,” said Nix.
“I’m blessed with great people who run my business so I don’t have to be there all the time. The business model has not changed a bit over 47 years. We always give the people what they want.” It’s that simple.
That’s why the Butler’s Pantry is thriving and winning awards after 47 years in business.