Justin Fox Burks
Workers install one half of a one-seater airplane, transformed as a crop duster with yellow paint, inside soon-to-open Belly Acres designed by Memphis-based Glennys Cowles Designs.
While the farm-to-table concept isn’t new, the farm-to-table experience is, at least in Overton Square.
Belly Acres, set to launch early December, may become the new go-to fast-casual restaurant parents want. Its motto is “citified farm fresh,” and its kid-friendly decor brings a fun farm environment to the table.
Owners enlisted local interior design company Glennys Cowles Designs to bring the farm to the Square. Their inspiration: St. Louis’ City Museum, where interactive education and entertainment collide. Part owner Hayden Wingate describes Belly Acres as “Willy Wonka meets the city meets the farm,” and what kid wouldn’t love that?
Most notable, an authentic bright-yellow one-seater airplane appears to fly right through the restaurant’s facade. Inside, painted murals and a giant LED back-lit screen depict fields and sky, canvas clouds hang from the ceiling, and in the dining room a tree is planted. Plaques about sustainable agriculture inform the space, and a vintage tractor youngsters can play on sits near the entrance. T here’s a separate, small dining room with banquette seating for large groups or private parties, dubbed the “Harvest Moon Room.” And w hen the weather’s nice, a large garage door will open up to a patio overlooking the Overton Square Courtyard.
Much of the decor is sourced locally. The reclaimed wood paneling the walls and tree-trunk bar came from Woodland Trees. Rustic red barn wood above the bar was taken from another owner’s family farm.
In the kitchen, Belly Acres’ focus will be the burger. There will be 12 signature burgers on the menu, each made of 100 percent grass-fed beef. The Early Riser will be topped with sharp white cheddar, black pepper aioli, brown-sugar bacon, and a farm-fresh egg all between a sweet waffle bun.
Of the four “beef-less” burgers, executive chef Rob Ray is partial to the Black Eye Pea burger: a house-made black eye pea patty topped with oven-roasted sweet potatoes, pickled collard greens, and hot-sauce aioli inside a grilled wheat bun.
If a signature burger doesn’t suit your fancy, the menu will also offer “build your own” options. Customers will choose from 11 different buns, 14 different patties, and over 60 toppings. Also available will be sandwiches, salads, and a kids meal served on a take-home Frisbee.
Drinks will include milkshakes, Coke floats, and fresh smoothies. The bar will serve only beer and wine, alcohol-wise. Want to sit at the bar? Take a reclaimed tractor seat.
Chef Ray, previously at McEwen’s restaurant in Oxford, says the food will be 100 percent sourced from farms with sustainable growing methods. By spring, he hopes to source 75 to 80 percent of the restaurant’s ingredients locally.
Belly Acres will seat 115 inside and around 50 on the patio. Entrees will range from $10 to $15.
2102 Trimble Place, $-$$