The DogHaus, Soulard's dog-friendly bar, has partnered with Plantain Girl for its food service.
The DogHaus (1800 South 10th Street)
, the dog-friendly bar that will open in Soulard
this coming January, is giving Fido's owners another reason to celebrate: Not only will you be able to drink with your dog; you'll have the option to feast on delectable food, too.
In a Facebook post
from this past Saturday, the DogHaus' owners announced that they have partnered with Mandy Estrella, also known as Plantain Girl, to provide food for patrons of the soon-to-open combination dog park and bar. The concept, called Good Bowl by Plantain Girl, is inspired by some of Estrella's most popular dishes at her current restaurant, Alphateria, and will follow a similar walk-up, fast-casual model.
"Every other bar in Soulard has food, so we knew we needed to do something," says Laurie Simpson, one of the partners in the DogHaus. "Some food truck ideas came up, but our ideas guy, Joe Schira, heard about Mandy and decided to check her out. After meeting her and trying her stuff, we were like, "Oh yes, we can work with this."
As Simpson explains, she and her partners, Kevin Simpson, Schira and Stephen Walters, faced special challenges when considering how they wanted to handle the food component of their business. Because dogs will be allowed throughout the DogHaus — guests will be able to eat and drink with their dogs both inside and outside of the building — they are required to follow strict rules regarding how and what they serve. For instance, they are not allowed to prepare food in their kitchen, but must instead have food brought in ready-to-serve, similar to a catering operation.
Estrella proved up to the challenge and created a menu of casual, Plantain Girl-inspired fare tweaked for the limited facilities.
"It's a cold kitchen, and it's very small, so we are limited to what we can pre-do," Estrella explains. "We had to get creative with the plantains because their is no fryer. Basically, it's catering style, or a never-ending pop-up."
Estrella, who has been given full creative control of the kitchen by the DogHaus partners, emphasizes that Good Bowl by Plantain Girl is not the traditional Latin food that she has become known for. Dishes will draw upon some of the flavors you find at Alphateria, like citrus braised chicken, red beans and rice or tres leches cake, but they will not be traditionally presented. Instead,she describes what she is doing as more of a hybrid of her signature cooking style and approachable bar food that is quick and easy to execute.
Diners can expect items, all cleverly named following a canine theme, such as "Who Let the Queso Out," a white cheese dip served with tortilla chips, "Blues Q's," a play on nachos, featuring queso-covered tortilla chips smothered with mango barbecue sauce, pico de gallo, black beans, jalapeños and chipotle cream, and the "Baxter," a salad of mixed greens, chicken, bacon, egg, tomato, avocado and blue cheese crumbles. A separate brunch menu is also in the works and will be announced at a later date.
Estrella will continue to operate Aplhateria, which is located inside Alpha Brewing Company, without any changes. "If people want traditional Latin food, they can come to Alphateria," she says. And as for how she will serve food at the Good Bowl, Estrella is adamant that there will be no dog bowls for humans. "People have asked, but I just can't serve food in dog bowls. That bothers me," she laughs.
Though there will be no dog bowls for humans at the DogHaus, there will be plenty placed throughout the space for its furry patrons. As Simpson explains, the venue will consist of an outdoor dog park and seating area, and two levels of indoor seating, including an upstairs space that can be rented out for private events.
The DogHaus will occupy the former home of the slushy bar, Tropical Liqueurs, which closed in December of 2016
after a troubled relationship with the neighborhood. Unlike the former tenant, Simpson expects the DogHaus to be a welcome addition to the dog-friendly neighborhood, and hopes to be a family-oriented, community gathering place.
Membership will be required for dogs using the outdoor, off-leash area but is not mandatory for the indoor space. Simpson also notes that she and her co-owners are in talks to collaborate with the Frenchtown Dog Park , which is located across the street from the DogHaus.
However, Simpson emphasizes that you do not need to have a dog to enjoy DogHaus.
"We see ourselves as a family friendly sports bar and gathering place," Simpson says. "You don't have to have a dog or know a dog to come here."
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