At Bait, the new seafood-centric restaurant by entrepreneur and first-time restaurateur Kalen Hodgest, historical elegance blends with contemporary style. The first floor of the late 19th-century Central West End mansion – formerly home to Sol Lounge and Grind Coffeehouse – is composed of smaller dining spaces, each with different design elements.

Hodgest owes the restaurant’s design to his fiancee, Alexis Morris. The sophisticated space refreshingly avoids a rusticated decor template – the cement floors, exposed brick, low-wattage Edison lights and reclaimed wood that dominate most new restaurants. Throughout, black marble tables, velvet chairs and splashes of gold convey subdued opulence, while glimmering candles and various chandeliers, including the main sea urchin-like fixture, cast a romantic radiance. Scoring a secluded two-top is a must for date night. Outside, the street-facing veranda provides a party-like al fresco dining option.

It shouldn’t be noteworthy to point out that during my visits, Bait’s customers reflected a racial diversity rarely seen in St. Louis restaurants. The restaurant not only fills a seafood fine dining niche in the city, it does so without pandering to any particular audience.

This Business Supports “Minority Economic Development

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