Edited By: Walker Glascock
Photography: Steven Danner
I arrived late at Olive + Oak. Inside, sitting at the counter in the window, John Moriarty was drinking a glass of wine with a beautiful bottle of Cotes du Rhone sitting beside him. Dressed in a blue Gentry’s Limited blazer with a green and blue checkered pocket square, denim jeans and brown loafers, he exemplified the sort modern classic/timeless fashion play-off that is the backbone of Gentry’s Limited's sartorial style.
Olive + Oak, the location of choice, fits that same description perfectly. Located on West Lockwood in Downtown Webster Groves, Olive + Oak was founded in 2016 and immediately found itself universally named one of the Best New Restaurants in the Greater St. Louis Area.
Now it’s a struggle to get a reservation. John Moriarty got in on the ground floor, when — as he says — his arm was twisted, albeit gently, by a former classmate from St. Louis University High School.
Following SLUH, Moriarty continued on to St. Louis University where he played baseball. Now however, he says he focuses on golf.
“It’s perfect for an ex-athlete”, he says; noting that out on the course he can have a drink and a cigar.
Throughout the course of our conversation he consistently provided that sort of entertaining insight into both himself and life in general; from commenting on his tendency to constantly swirl his wine (“my wife tells me it’s opened up already”), to coming up with a good name for a cocktail book (The Drunken Aristocrat).
All the while, behind the bar, Morgane and Charlie, Olive + Oak’s bar manager/tender —and wife/husband duo — are setting up for the evening’s dinner service.
Born and raised in St. Louis, John Moriarty is the founder and president of E3 Consultants Group, where he specializes, as he says, “in anything money.”
However, when he isn’t working, he’s an avid golfer. A passion which facilitated his introduction to Gentry’s Limited.
“I met Dakota through a friend over drinks at Sunset [Country Club]”, he said. “He didn’t put on the hard sell, which I appreciated. I’ve worked with a clothier for a while. He moved and I just loved Dakota’s hustle.”
Having already built an extensive wardrobe, Moriarty still laughs, “I’ll order things from Gentry’s and then forget what it was. So every time I receive something I’ve ordered, it’s like Christmas for me.”
Aside from clothing, it is clear through our conversation that food and wine play a large role in his life — a passion he loves to share with others.
“My mission is to find something people like, then show them something a little different,” he said, adding that personally “I’m a big Vivino guy.” Naming the app that allows one to track the bottles of wine they’ve tasted.
“I’ve tried to be very worldly in my enjoyment of wine,” he said when asked about his personal preferences, going on to name off wines from a variety of both old and new-growth regions; from Burgundy (both red and white) and Châteauneuf-du-Pape in France, and Brunello di Montalcino, Super Tuscans and Amarones in Italy to Sonoma Pinot Noirs.
However he says his daily drinkers are Piña Cabernet Sauvignons from the Napa Valley and Saxum Blends from Paso Robles, both in California.
He also greatly enjoys small-batch bourbons, noting that when it is available, Olive + Oak offers the rare Pappy Van Winkle for an exceedingly affordable price —given its exclusivity.
Speaking of Olive + Oak leads us back to another passion of Mr. Moriarty’s, The Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation, on which he serves as a board member.
Olive + Oak was initially founded by two families, both of whom experienced the loss of a child through congenital heart disease; naming the restaurant for their children, Oliver and Oakes. That heart motif is felt throughout the space. A large wooden heart sits on the wall to the right of the entrance and a neon heart hangs over the bar.
Along with the restaurant, the founding families have also each started their own charities, The Ollie Hinkle Heart Foundation and the Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation, funding research for congenital heart defects.
Last year John and his wife co-chaired The Mighty Oakes Gala, raising over $350,000 after expenses — a resounding success for which he is rightly very proud.
As a whole, John Moriarty is an exceedingly interesting and entertaining person to both listen to and spend time with. Having spent the evening discussing food and wines from throughout the world, we capped it off with one of his other favorites and home-town staple, a cold Busch Bavarian.
For more information about E3 or The Mighty Oaks Foundation: