Dog-lovers have a new spot to grab a drink and bite to eat in the company of their canine companions. Good Bowl by Plantain Girl debuted at The Doghaus – St. Louis’ first dog park bar – in Soulard on March 8. The concept serves up a full menu of creative casual dishes by chef Mandy Estrella.
“Mandy’s been fantastic. We had a number of chefs lined up to do taste tests with, and as soon as we met her, we looked no further,” says Doghaus partner Stephen Walters. “She’s one a kind and brings so much to the table.”
Estrella’s previous concept, Alphateria, closed on March 17. Good Bowl’s menu features some influences from her signature Latin American-inspired style of cooking but is adapted to suit the needs of The Doghaus’ small kitchen. Estrella prepares everything off site at a commissary, a process she is no stranger to from running pop ups and catering events under the Plantain Girl name.
The Doghaus fills the space previously occupied by the original St. Louis location of Tropical Liqueurs, with a brand-new bar as well as new flooring and of course, plenty of dog-themed decor. While the first-floor bar and food service area are off-limits to dogs, guests are welcome to bring their dogs upstairs or onto the patio free of charge. An on-site, off-leash play area for pups with vaccination records is available for $10 a day or $40 a year.
“I wanted to make sure my food was patio-friendly – something you can hold in your hands while you hang out with your dogs – so we’re using the types of bowls that food trucks often have because you can transport them very easily,” Estrella says. “This format is also giving me more freedom to create things with different layered flavor combinations.”
Due to the kitchen’s limitations, Estrella currently cannot offer her namesake plantains. However, while she searches for a permanent home for Plantain Girl’s legacy, she hopes to offer pop ups in the near future to serve up dishes like mofungo and jibaritos.
For now, fans of her cooking can get a taste of her specialties with Good Bowl offerings such as Mister 305 – which references Pitbull the rapper – with ropa vieja (braised flank steak), Cuban-style black beans, rice, avocado, pickled red onion and cilantro.
Additional highlights include the Regulator with citrus-braised chicken, red beans, rice, Chihuahua cheese, pico de gallo, chipotle cream and house-pickled jalapeños; The Bounty Hunter with roasted pork, rice, pineapple salsa, guava barbecue sauce and tortilla strips; and Soko Phooey with bulgogi-style ground beef, rice, pickled carrot, green onion and sesame seeds.
From the bar, choose from five local craft beers on tap, Tito’s vodka on tap and dog-themed cocktails such as The Murph with Tito’s vodka, Arrow root beer Schnapps, half and half and root beer. Rin Tin Tin and Juice is another fun offering featuring Tito’s and fruity snow cone syrups.
“It’s a very positive atmosphere here. Everyone’s really friendly and excited to be here, and the owners of The Doghaus are great to work with,” Estrella says. “We’re looking forward to seeing the weather turn so more dog owners can come out and enjoy themselves.”
The Doghaus is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 1am and Sunday from 10am to midnight.
Good Bowl by Plantain Girl, 1800 S. 10th St., Soulard, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.809.1817, facebook.com/Goodbowlstl/