Thinking It Out Loud

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Carisa Stark


Q&A with Carisa Stark.  Carisa is the owner/operator of MaryJane Burgers and Brews and Jackson Street BrewCo in Perryville, MO.  Perryville is a small town approximately 70 miles south of St. Louis.  Known primarily as a small farming community, MaryJane Burgers and Brew has put Perryville on the foodie and libertine map.

  “Mary Jane was created to display our passion for fresh, local ingredients prepared into stunning dishes and paired with amazingly delicious craft beer. We pride ourselves by using only the freshest ingredients. We buy local when possible to support our small town economy. Our burgers are prepared fresh daily using Midwest-raised cattle, no GMOs, no antibiotics and are accompanied with fresh-baked buns.”

Typical pub fare with a flair..everything from street tacos, in house salsa, to burgers with everything AND the kitchen sink…all in a cool vibe with functioning garage doors that open the restaurant up to let the outside in.  Beer club, a changing bar menu, and an on site party suite make this small town gem a destination for weddings, reunions, and a local watering hole.  With the addition of her own brewery, Jackson BrewCo, and the rotating 20 taps, MaryJanes is a great place to indulge and enjoy the day or evening with friends.

Q: You went from corporate America (Darden restaurants) to a food truck to now two restaurant/bars, a property management group, and vacation rentals. All in a town with less than 10 thousand people.  How does that happen?

I have always been passionate about the hospitality industry and have had aspirations of owning my own restaurant.

I found myself working for a company that I loved but I needed more Click To Tweet, I needed a creative outlet and working in a corporate setting…well, it was not my job to create ideas, it was my job to implement their ideas.

I knew I needed a “bridge” to get me to my ultimate dream of owning my own restaurant and a food truck seemed like the perfect idea and it was! I utilized social media to promote my food truck and work towards a brick and mortar.

This was a very financially risky venture. After all, restaurants fail at an overwhelming 80%. I created a Property Management Company that owned the real estate that would house Mary Jane Burgers & Brew. My thoughts were:  “if the restaurant fails, I still own real estate that I could rent.” This grew into a Commercial, Residential and now Vacation Rental company.  I have always loved to travel and now I have added a new business that allows me to travel for “work”!

I always knew I wanted to make our own beer. It grew into a new business that my Executive Chef and I executed into what is now Jackson Street BrewCo.

Q: Who is Mary Jane?

Mary Jane Buchheit is my grandma and to me she represents strength, positive attitude and a fierce independence like no other! This is the culture I want to breed in my business.


Q:  What is the number 1 thing you have learned since leaving what most would consider a great job and creating your own business?

I have learned that the sky is the limit! I’m going for it!  In Perryville I am surrounded by family and friends.  I am active in the local Chamber of Commerce, the VP of my condo association, and I am active in the local brewing community.  If I hadn’t “given up” my steady eddy gig I wouldn’t have the opportunities to create jobs, new ideas, and hopefully inspire others to build their dream.  It’s the ride I was looking for!

Eat, Drink, & Be Mary!mjb-footer-circle


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