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Nov 17, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Travis Howard’

Executive chef Michael Friedman has left Retreat Gastropub

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

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{ from left, beverage director Tim Wiggins, owner Travis Howard and executive chef Michael Friedman just before Retreat opened in 2015 } 

Chef Michael Friedman has left his post as executive chef at Retreat Gastropub in the Central West End. His last day of service was Wednesday, Nov. 1.

Friedman, who helped open Retreat in 2015, said he doesn’t have any definite plans yet, but he’s weighing his options.

“I want to challenge myself and do a little bit of personal growth,” Friedman said. “I had definitely hit the ceiling at Retreat and wanted to expand my range and fly a little bit. I think the long-term goal is to definitely open something up on my own. I’ve been talking with a couple of investment partners about that. But until that pans out, I’m doing some consulting work and I’d like to get into another restaurant.”

Retreat owner Travis Howard said in a statement that he is not naming a replacement for Friedman yet.

“Currently, we will be operating with the team that we’ve built over the past two years. We are confident in their ability to deliver all of the favorite dishes from our Retreat menu to the quality that our guests expect,” Howard said in the statement.

“We wish chef Friedman the best of luck in his future endeavors. We’re appreciative of the time that he spent with us at Retreat, and we’ll continue to feature the dishes that our guests have come to know and love, from our burger to the bread pudding.”

Photo by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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3 tea-infused cocktails to try at Retreat Gastropub

Best New Restaurants: No. 10 – Retreat Gastropub

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Opening a restaurant isn’t easy. Each year, hundreds give it a shot – and not everyone succeeds. Some, however, aren’t just surviving; they’re killing it. In the last year, we ate our way through newly opened restaurants from Alton to Ballwin, compiling a list of places that serve the food and drinks we can’t get out of our heads. They bring something different and exciting to the scene – and they do it damn well. While technical excellence was a must, the service and ambiance also had to win us over. Office debates nearly came to fisticuffs, but at last we agreed on St. Louis’ 11 best new restaurants of 2015. Clear your schedule and book your reservations; you’ve got a lot of eating to do.

 

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Retreat Gastropub in the Central West End is our getaway of choice these days. Owner Travis Howard opened the corner bar in October to serve as an outdoors-inspired refuge, day or night. Pull up a stool at the poured concrete bar or get comfortable on a handmade cedar bench and sip a creative house cocktail from bar manager Tim Wiggins, who is reason enough for a visit. He’s the mind behind such drinks as the smoky-sweet Oaxaca Flocka Flame, made with Vida mezcal, blanco tequila, lime juice, passion fruit puree, curacao, ancho chile liqueur and mole bitters. And forget sweet dessert wine; Wiggins hooks diners up with a selection of aged rums for sipping after dinner.

Not to be outshone by the bar program, Retreat’s kitchen does fresh comfort fare right. The menu is solid straight through dessert (Order the decadent bread pudding, which swims in caramel sauce.). Crispy, flavorful flatbreads and fried fingerling potato poutine served with a rich mushroom gravy are small plate standouts. Don’t miss the addictive Farmhouse Burger with two smashed beef patties topped with cheese sauce, candied bacon and an over-easy egg. But be warned: Repeat visits for this brinner burger will occur, and the congenial staff may comment on the love you and Farmhouse Burger seem to share. You are not alone.

Is Retreat your favorite new restaurant of 2015? Click here to vote for this Central West End gastropub in the People’s Choice Facebook contest

-photo by Carmen Troesser 

Sneak Peek: Retreat Gastropub in the Central West End

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

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Lace up your boots and hike over to Retreat Gastropub at 2 N. Sarah St., in the Central West End for elevated pub food in modern rustic terrain. As The Scoop reported in February, Travis Howard owns the urban gastropub getaway, which hosts its grand opening Friday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m.

The 2,000-square-foot space is dominated by a concrete bar, poured and stained on-premise, and backed by salvaged wood from a Missouri barn. Pull up an iron stool or grab a seat at the custom cedar wood tables and benches lining the interior. Repurposed lantern light fixtures interspersed with hanging Edison bulbs light the space. “I wanted it to feel very outdoorsy,” Howard said.

Howard assembled a team, including chef Michael Friedman and bar manager Tim Wiggins, eager to take the same care with food and drink menus that went into the design. The menu is divided into small plates, sandwiches and large plates, and pub classics include several vegetarian options like the poutine made with fried fingerling potatoes, a rich mushroom gravy and cheese curds. There are two burger options: a classic beef patty with cheese or the Farmhouse Burger, consisting of two smashed beef patties, cheese sauce, candied bacon and an over-easy egg. “I wanted to have breakfast on a burger,” Friedman said.

Wiggins has created a selection of house-made shrubs, tinctures and fresh herbs and juices on a seasonally rotating cocktail menu that focuses on rum. “Everyone drinks whiskey. I think rum’s the next wave,” Wiggins said. Aged sipping rums will be offered instead of dessert wines. Look also for draft and canned beer options, as well as wine.

After its grand opening, Retreat Gastropub will be open Wednesday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and until midnight Sunday. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect when doors open at Retreat this Friday:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

-photos by Meera Nagarajan

 

 

The Scoop: Retreat Gastropub to open this summer in the CWE

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

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{Retreat Gastropub owner Travis Howard}

 

Retreat Gastropub is coming to 2 N. Sarah St., in the spot previously occupied by 6 North Café. Owner Travis Howard, who signed the lease to the Central West End spot last week, hopes to open the American gastropub in June.

The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner. Its midday menu will focus on flatbreads, sandwiches, salads and soups – quick-service items to facilitate area professionals. Howard envisions a dinner menu of burgers, plus small plates like poutine, chicken wings, crabcakes and other seafood dishes. Although a chef has yet to be tapped for the kitchen, Howard foresees the food prepared from scratch with as much local produce as possible.

The bar at Retreat will pour local and national craft beers. Expect a minimal selection on tap but an expansive number of bottled and canned brews. Retreat’s cocktails will feature house-made infusions, tinctures and syrups, said Howard, who spent the last three years at Baileys’ Range, initially as a bartender and most recently as general manager. This is his last week at the downtown restaurant.

Retreat takes its inspiration from the outdoors. That feel will be reflected in an interior design that Howard called “retro-modern,” outfitted with outdoors-y tables and benches that he is building with his father, a hobby woodworker. Besides 60 seats in the dining area, Retreat also will offer outdoor dining on its covered patio and sidewalk.

“This restaurant has been a project of mine for several years, and my personal experience of nearly 15 years in the industry has me prepared for this opportunity,” Howard said. “I have been able to hone my craft, build my knowledge, and gain invaluable experience while managing Baileys’ Range … I will take that experience with me and build upon it.”

 

 

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