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The 36 Story

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John Eric and Vanessa Klein


Houston Sutton
Executive Chef


Hope Herring
Service Manager


Our passion is obvious

We’re Vanessa and John Eric Klein, and we are proud to own and operate 36 Restaurant and Bar. We started off as coworkers, became friends and after our happily ever after, the idea for 36 Restaurant and Bar was born.

You start a big project with a small step, so 36 started with a business plan. We had to put our big plan on hold for a year to plan our wedding, but we picked it right back up after the honeymoon and dove in. We wanted to do this now, while we’re young....because if not now, when?

We met Chef Houston Sutton while working at another local establishment and immediately became friends. We’ve had an understanding that if we ever had the chance to open a restaurant that he would be our chef since a golf game years ago. When it became a reality, he stood behind his word and Houston is an integral part of 36.

As soon as we walked in to 36 North Main, we knew we had found the right building. It has a great flow. We’ve always like downtown; the smells, sights, sounds, the river, the old buildings, all the history. It was the perfect spot to start our restaurant. We closed on the building in August of 2014 and started working full time to get everything ready. We rolled up our sleeves and demoed, renovated, and did most of the finishing work ourselves. We brought in experts for the big items, like the plumbing and electricity, but we sanded and stained the bar, painted, installed trim work, ripped the old plaster and more ourselves. See our remodeling journey here.

36 is a cozy, welcoming spot, and we think our hard work paid off with a dining room that is special but not stuffy. We aimed for something on the intimate size, and included artwork and decor inspired by the Great Gatsby with Erte style prints, a grand mirror that you might recognize from another Cape Girardeau fine dining classic, Mollie’s and an antique buffet from an antique down the street. We fill the vases with fresh roses daily, and hope you feel at ease in the comfortable old school style that will make a lovely backdrop for your exceptional evening out.

We pride ourselves on our attention to detail; over 300 wines on the always growing wine list are served in genuine German Riedel crystal stemware. You’ll find mostly French and Californian wines on our wine list, and the beer list is continually evolving and features a wide variety of styles. Upstairs, the Loft at 36 is available for private parties, and has views of the river and the same art deco theme that runs through the dining room. 

What’s next for 36? We are excited to add tables in the courtyard, and look forward to offering catering in the future. Wouldn’t a jazzy 1920’s era joint with a speakeasy be fun? We always have three projects going on in our heads, so who knows what is coming down the line!