Those who thought Travis Howard and Tim Wiggins were a one-hit wonder, think again: The team behind the successful Retreat Gastropub in St. Louis just opened their second restaurant and bar, Yellowbelly.
In a city with a reputable bar and cocktail scene, Yellowbelly already stands out among its competitors with an array of unusual culinary offerings and creative cocktails.
“Yellowbelly is inspired by the relaxing lifestyle in Hawaii and the way people eat in Southern California, married with our Midwest hospitality in St. Louis,” Howard says.
The bar is rum-focused and features clever cocktails, as well as an abundance of spirits and wine. “We are aiming for a constantly rotating list of about 12 house cocktails and eight to 10 classic cocktails,” Wiggins says. “The majority of the classics will be authentic but modernized versions of cocktails, like the Ti’ Punch, Mai Tai, Jungle Bird, and Paloma. I like to describe much of the menu as ‘neo-tiki,’ meaning complex and tropical flavors in a more minimalist package.”
The owners also want the decor to transport people to the tropics. “The inspiration for the space is the Pacific Ocean, ancient Polynesia, and the many islands and cultures that make that up,” Howard says. “There are a lot of blues, greens, and teals, with light-colored wood elements. The design is definitely modern, but we mixed in a good amount of wood elements, which makes it still feel really comfortable and warm.”
But above all, Howard and Wiggins want Yellowbelly to be a place where people enjoy spending time. “The focus on hospitality can’t be emphasized enough,” Howard says. “Ultimately, our goal is to make people happy and to be a valuable member of the neighborhood.”