dishes at bait, a new seafood restaurant in the central west end photo by lauren healey

First Look: Bait in the Central West End

The Central West End will get a new seafood eatery when Bait opens next week. After a reservations-only Valentine’s Day dinner, the restaurant will officially open to the public on Friday, Feb. 15.  

As Sauce reported last week, owner Kalen Hodgest bought the building at 4239 Lindell Blvd. (formerly the home of The Grind and Sol Lounge) in 2015, but he had no plans for a restaurant. The space was intended to house the offices for his real estate and home health care companies, which are now located upstairs.

But after reflecting on the first-floor dining space, he decided a seafood restaurant would be perfect for the space. “I love seafood, and I feel like seafood is a niche,” Hodgest said. “At the time, there were barely any seafood places in St. Louis.”

Four years later, that seafood eatery is about to open doors with chef Ceaira Jackson, formerly of SOHO and Fleur de Lilies, helming the kitchen. The menu will feature dishes like a halibut with Thai red curry sauce, littleneck clams and fingerling potatoes; a Caribbean-style whole fried red snapper with pickled Napa cabbage slaw and basil aioli, fresh herb, and hot pepper sauces; and numerous seafood boils. Bait will also serve mussels, scallops, oysters, mahi mahi and more.

In addition to seafood, the restaurant will have two steak options: a 30-ounce tomahawk served with an herb sauce and a cognac sauce or a surf and turf plate featuring filet mingon and lobster tail bearnaise sauce. Bait also aims to have a separate vegan menu, complete with an Impossible Burger.

The bar program is centered around six signature drinks that will be made tableside on bar carts. Look for the Bourbon and Blood with orange liqueur (think an orange-heavy Old-Fashioned), an Anjou pear margarita and a grapefruit caipirinha. Hodgest is also developing a local craft beer menu.

Bait’s dining space seats 60 in multiple rooms, each with its own particular aesthetic: the Octopus Room features multiple paintings of an octopus and its tentacles, while the Wine Room is dark with rouge tones, three chandeliers and an impressive display of wine bottles.  Another 30 seats will be available when the patio is complete.  

Bait will be open Wednesday to Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. Here’s a first look at Bait in Central West End.

Adam Rothbarth is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Editor's note: This article originally had the wrong day for opening. It was updated at 10:10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 8 to correct the error.