Fort Chariton is a recently opened bar and grill restaurant in Yarrow, Missouri, about 20 minutes away from campus, off of Highway 11 located on the Chariton River and just west of the Sugar Creek Conservation Area. The restaurant is a destination location in the middle of a campground.
The restaurant is owned by Angela Schultz and Bill “Grizz” Adams who chronicled their adventure remodeling the building, nicknamed “The Fort,” on the restaurant’s website, yarrowpub.com.
“[At Fort Chariton] you get a break from your routine and can feel like you’ve left Kirksville without really leaving it,” Schultz says.
Schultz says what makes the restaurant different is its local flair.
With every step into the establishment, the atmosphere is enhanced by the paintings, neon lights and especially the repurposed, HGTV-esque decor and furniture — a wall made of old doors, dining tables constructed out of old chemistry lab countertops from the University of Missouri, window frames and rusty red paint on old tin.
“The restaurant and campground … became our project that would take a year and a half to open,” according to Schultz and Adams on yarrowpub.com. “The building itself needed a complete renovation due to neglect and past flooding.”
Schultz says the building had been empty for more than three years, was flooded in 2008, and was in disrepair down to the infrastructure. Because of its location by the Chariton River, Adams and Schultz decided to build a wall around the restaurant to keep out floodwater. From this, the name “Fort Chariton” was born.
“Grizz, my partner in life and in the restaurant, has a background in construction, and we really enjoyed transforming the place,” Schultz says. “We spent 16 months on it.”
Schultz says the original building is more than forty years old and had previously been a mill, convenience store, public hall and bar. She says the restaurant has rich sentimental value to the people of the community.
For example, Schultz says the Weber family, the family responsible for Kirksville’s only school bus system, had owned and operated the mill for a period of time near this location in Yarrow, and the first Weber buses were used to transport students from Yarrow to Kirksville in the 1940s.
Fort Chariton’s menu consists of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and desserts as well as a well-stocked bar, beer on tap, bagged ice and packaged Fort Chariton brings local flair to pub dining liquor to go. Schultz says some of her beef is even locally sourced.
“People can partake in washer, corn hole and shuffleboard tournaments and volleyball, as well as sitting by one of our twelve fire pits,” Schultz says.
Social media has had an especially prominent impact in advertising Fort Chariton, Schultz says. They have a Facebook page and a website, and many of the customers actively take part in reviews.
Schultz says she is delighted with Fort Chariton’s success and hopes it will continue to thrive. Fort Chariton often hosts live musicians, such as local band Busted String Band.
Some Truman State University organizations have hosted events at Fort Chariton as well, such as hosting a Truman jazz group and a family day for Sigma Kappa.
“The two owners are very nice and genuine people,” Sigma Kappa senior Sydney Gosik says. “I planned a parents’ weekend event for my sorority with them, and they were so easy to work with and accommodating.”
Freshman Mackenzie Kloth says Fort Chariton was indeed a very enjoyable dining experience and she would recommend it to fellow students.
“Fort Chariton is a gem in the middle of nowhere, with a rustic, at-home feel, great food and great people,” Kloth says.
Fort Chariton is located at 26826 Yarrow Trail in Kirksville. Their kitchen hours are Wednesdays 4-9 p.m. — bar until midnight — Thursday, Friday and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. — bar until midnight or later — and Sundays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. — bar open until 1 a.m.