Located in the old Jive and Wail space in downtown Maplewood, the Jumpin' Jupiter is dinner theater like St. Louis has never seen.
By Sarah Worner June 20, 2011
Jim Callahan has spent the past three years putting together Jumpin' Jupiter.
Despite losing four developers and being rejected by 50 banks, Callahan opened the doors to Jumpin' Jupiter on Friday night with a "sassy, sexy soft opening," which featured a variety of acts ranging from circus to burlesque. Lola Van Ella emceed the opening night show and the audience heard music from Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers.
Jumpin' Jupiter specializes in Las Vegas-style, upscale live entertainment, food, drinks and chaos, Callahan said.
"The inspiration came a long time ago after watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Mask. I noticed there were places people could enjoy cocktails and have good service and watch entertainment, and maybe not just bands but all sorts of other entertainment. Being in the entertainment business and owning a recording studio, I started looking around," said Callahan, who also owns Jupiter Studios in St. Louis.
The Jumpin' Jupiter also offers food from Chef Isreal Rodriguez, whose offerings will be as unique as every show.
"I like to think of ourselves as the greatest show on a plate. If we have a 40s night we might do food more traditional to the 40s like a beef wellington, whereas if we do more modern shows, we'll do a more modern, high end nouveau cuisine," General Manager Ryan Callahan said.
Jumpin' Jupiter's opening night sold out of seated tickets.
"We're here because our sister is performing," said Sheila Gross, who traveled from North St. Louis to watch the show. "But we'll be back and bring more friends, more people."
Daringly bare dancers add spice to a new dinner-and-show club in Maplewood.
By Amy De La Hunt, Photos by Jennifer Silverberg
The dining room at The Jumpin’ Jupiter glitters in every direction. The mirrors, the candles, the wine glasses, the sequins on the ladies’ corsets. It’s a celebration of femininity. And it happens to serve an excellent cut of American Kobe beef, too. The unusual mix of cabaret-style entertainment, burlesque dancing and high-end food is the brainchild of entrepreneur and recording studio owner Jim Callahan. He’s a sucker for old-school films where customers sit at candle-lit tables while singers croon, aerialists twirl and clowns keep the crowd watching for the unexpected.
Onstage Callahan’s club does feel a bit like a movie set, starting at the entrance. On our “Super Supper Show” visit, men in white tuxedos stood ready to escort us to our tables. Glamorous people milled around. Some served drinks. Others sipped cocktails while they waited for their turn onstage.
Our server, Lincoln Ward, explained how an evening unfolds: Guests will enjoy a multicourse dinner interwoven with an extravagant variety show. Still, when the spotlight kicked on, no one was quite sure what would happen—which is exactly how Callahan likes it.
Callahan books the shows with help from local burlesque star Lola Van Ella, as well as his son, James IV. Evening shows are less erotic than the late-night ones—but they still pack in plenty of sexy costumes, especially on the in-house dance troupe, the Hoochie Coochie Girls.
My favorite performer of the show, fire-twirler Rosy Glow, had it all: acrobatic skill, dance moves and a bold, confident stage presence. During her two appearances—first with a flaming hula hoop, later with flaming maces—we put down our forks so as not to miss a moment of her routine.
By the final act, having a burlesque dancer named Gogo MacGregor do a striptease to a theme song from the ’60s seemed perfectly normal. After all, we’d just dined on classic dishes like lamb, filet mignon and crème brulée. And acts like singer Christy Strickland and aerialist Indie Lou had prepared us to see some skin…and lots of it.
On the table
Meals at The Jumpin’ Jupiter come in two categories: à la carte dinner (for non-supper shows) or the multi course meal (dishes subject to change), which we enjoyed during the “Super Supper Show.” The chef, Israel “Izzy” Rodriguez, cooked at SLeeK before it closed in January. His background in fine dining might seem overly refined for what The Jumpin’ Jupiter does—Callahan calls his concept polished casual dining—but noshing on truffle oil, asparagus and mushroom “cappuccino” definitely enhances the foodie experience. Once the meal is done, let the bartenders, under the management of Brandy Dunn, concoct something to match the mood, like a classic martini or an elegant aperitif with sparkling wine.
A platter of savory-and-sweet seasoned popcorn opened our multi-course meal, followed soon after by a plate of four cheeses. The third course is the one that truly surprised our taste buds with an all-mushroom presentation that included the cappuccino—a frothy combination of strong, earthy flavors best appreciated in small, slow sips. The fourth course took us back to familiar territory with the lamb and filet, both perfectly tender and simply seasoned. Dessert was a crispcrusted crème brulée, garnished with strawberries, balsamic vinegar and whipped cream.
Pay close attention to pricing, so you’re not surprised at the end. Supper show purchases include both dinner and tickets, but other shows do not. When customers question the setup, Callahan explains that for most shows, “We’re like a theater with really good concessions.” Callahan knew all along he wanted to do a
burlesque-type show—but he didn’t want it to be seedy. The venue he created is welcoming for bachelorette parties, dates or girls’ nights out. Boas optional.
Where to go: The Jumpin’ Jupiter
7376 Manchester Rd.
Supper show $50, à la carte menu $3-$13
Hours: Dinner Tues.-Thurs., 5-10pm
Supper show schedule at
Inside Dish: Editor's Picks
Tips for a top-notch experience at The Jumpin’ Jupiter Decadent Dish: Filet mignon topped with lobster tail Sipping Sensation: The Diva-Tini Hottest Act:
Flaming hula hoop dancer Rosy Glow Best Place to Perch: Front-and-center tables Sexiest Show: The Brilliantly Amazing Ju Ju Late Night Burlesque All- Star Show
Jim Callahan is not your average entrepreneur. This music maven owns recording studio Jupiter Studios and admits to hanging out on the trendy Washington Avenue for drinks and entertainment. And he acknowledges that Who Framed Roger Rabbit, his favorite movie, is the inspiration for his newest business idea: a dinner theater venue set to open in Maplewood.
The Jumpin Jupiter is the working title of the theater, scheduled to open sometime in April 2011, Callahan said. The theater will fill the space left vacant by Jive and Wail.
"I love the location. The building is huge; it will fit 200 people seated, and 400 standing," Callahan said.
The Jumpin Jupiter will boast a variety of shows, including burlesque, caberet and vaudeville-style entertainment. Although burlesque shows tend to be risque, Callahan assures that The Jumpin Jupiter will be different.
"Of course it will be mildly naughty," he said. "But it will be extremely tasteful and classy at the same time."
While some dinner theaters tend to cater to an older crowd, The Jumpin Jupiter will make more of an effort to reach out to a younger audience. Audience participation and witty humor will play a big part at The Jumpin Jupiter.
"People in their early 20s and 30s will be comfortable here. We want to keep the entertainment exciting for people of all ages," Callahan said.
With the promise of solid entertainment, all that's left to worry about is the food. When asked about the cuisine offered at The Jumpin Jupiter, Callahan expressed sincere excitement.
"The food is going to be great. It has to be. You can't have a great show and terrible food," Callahan said.
Patrons can expect a three to four course meal, with a salad, appetizer, entree and dessert. Options such as prime rib and chicken cordon bleu are under consideration for the menu. Themed dinner nights are also being considered; during these special events, the dinner selections will be heavily influenced by that evening's entertainment.
As far as reception is concerned, Callahan is extremely optimistic. He hopes it will become a destination for people in Maplewood, Brentwood and the rest of the St. Louis area.
"There's nothing else like The Jumpin Jupiter; it's such a unique concept. This is going to be the place to be," Callahan said.
With Callahan's enthusiasm and solid business model, The Jumpin Jupiter is sure to be an interesting highlight in Maplewood.
The owner of Jumpin' Jupiter was able to showcase his other business, Jupiter Studios, on MTV.
(See related on Patch: VIDEO: Jumpin' Jupiter Dazzles on Opening Night)
Jim Callahan appeared on the reality TV show Made, a show that helps teens pursue their dream to become athletes, entertainers or rappers, among other professions.
In the July 21 episode, a junior from Pattonville High School was featured. He wanted to be "made" into a pro rapper.
The teen recorded his song at Jupiter Studios. Callahan briefly appears at the beginning of the episode, but you can see his studio—and several posters for the Jumpin' Jupiter on his walls—around the 25-minute mark of the episode.
STL Today-'Cabaret-style' supper club planned for Maplewood
BY JOE BONWICH • email@example.com > 314-340-8133"
Posted Friday, February 4, 2011 12:00 pm
Jumpin' Jupiter, variously described on its website as
"cabaret-style," "Vaudeville-style" and a "neo supper club," is
slated for a spring opening in the former Jive & Wail space at
7376 Manchester Road in Maplewood.
The owner is entrepreneur Jim Callahan, who also runs Jupiter Studios, the Midtown
recording facility known for its work with several area
"I think we're within a few days of signing a lease with Red
Brick," the real estate management company run by Pete Rothschild,
Callahan said. "We've been saying we'll open in April, but it could
Callahan said that he hasn't assembled a team yet pending the
finalization of financing, but he's been informally working with
several consultants, most notably several members of the kitchen
and dining room management team at the recently closed SLeeK
"The idea is to pair a 3-hour entertainment experience with a
five-star, five-course meal," Callahan said.
The entertainment, he added, would be "comedians, vaudeville,
burlesque, circus acts -- the sort of things you might see in Las
Vegas but aren't available in St. Louis." Callahan also is aiming
to hire dining room servers with "secret talents," who may act,
sing or dance as part of the show.
"I've been working on several projects for about three years
now," Callahan said. "The problem was that the banking industry
basically closed down in 2008."
By the way, the Castle Ballroom is still vacant and has an
incredible history. This from a quote from the late sculptor Ernie
Trova in a back issue of our newspaper:
I remember — maybe mid-summer in '45 or '46 — Billy Eckstine's
band played at the old Castle Ballroom on Olive. Aside from
Eckstine, the band members were Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie,
Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Gene Ammons, Art Blakey on drums.
Sarah Vaughan was the vocalist.