About BD

The Blue Duck was started by Chris and Karmen Rayburn in 2010. They were high school sweethearts, got married and moved to Defiance, Missouri after attending college at Mizzou. Karmen’s parents grew up right near there, so it was a perfect place to move. Both Chris and Karmen had done the corporate thing, and were ready to do something new. Originally, they were looking for a kitchen where Karmen could make cakes and pastries, but found a cute café for sale in Washington. It was more than they were looking for, but decided to take the plunge and buy it.

It was called Gourmet Café, but what they were doing was neither gourmet nor a café, so they needed to come up with the name. They choose ‘The Blue Duck’ based on the movie Billy Madison. Billy colors a duck blue and said they he made the duck blue because I’ve never seen a blue duck. True to it’s name, The Blue Duck is truly an American original. Like the movie reference, you won’t find another quite like it.

At first, The Blue Duck started with just Karmen, Chris and one employee, and was more focused on cakes and bakery items. But that quickly changed when Executive Chef Jordan Knight came on board. Jordan’s creativity gave the new restaurant a unique edge and is still responsible for much of the Blue Duck’s unique endeavors, which keeps the restaurant fresh and fun.

By 2012, they had outgrown the space and when the opportunity came to build on the Riverfront in Washington, they quickly jumped on it. They built there and moved to their new location in 2013.

Business was great, and they decided to expand. In 2017, they opened another Blue Duck in Maplewood. Maplewood has a creative side that appealed to Karmen and Chris, as well as a small town feel where they quickly gained many regulars. They liked it so much, they decided to move in just a few blocks from the restaurant.

The Blue Duck’s philosophy has always been ‘good food with a casual, friendly atmosphere’. It’s a place you can come with your family and friends truly enjoy yourself. It is never stuffy. One of the Blue Duck’s hallmarks is to take a classic comfort food dish and put a nice twist on it. They like to keep things fun and creative and this certainly comes across in their food and the little twists and turns they like to throw in along the way. The menu is seasonal and changes about every three months. This keeps things from ever getting boring for both their customers and staff. There are a few faves that stay on the menu and may always be there.

Fun seems to have paid off well for the Blue Duck. Most of the staff have been with them through the years. They have very little turnover. Maybe that’s what makes them so welcoming and friendly.

Another hallmark of the Blue Duck is that everything is made from scratch, in both the kitchen and the bar. Everything. Bar manager, Randy Boyce prides himself on even making his own bitters. The Blue Duck has its own smoker, and Jordan smokes their own meats, including ham and bacon, most of which is locally-sourced. The smoke flavor has been used for pies, sauces, and even cocktails. One of Karmen’s faves is a Smoked Apple Bourbon Pie.

Both restaurants stay true to the Blue Duck philosophy. They have their own menus and their tastes reflect the communities where they are located. We encourage you to try both.