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New YellowBelly Takeaway serves up beer, food and merchandise from new downtown St. John's shop

Co-owner Craig Flynn says they sold over 200 growlers of beer in the first week of business at the new YellowBelly Takeaway at 264 Water St.
Co-owner Craig Flynn says they sold over 200 growlers of beer in the first week of business at the new YellowBelly Takeaway at 264 Water St. - Kenn Oliver

A well-established St. John’s restaurant and brew pub has served up the first course on its expansion menu and the next couple aren’t far behind.

YellowBelly Brewery & Public House recently launched the Yellowbelly Takeaway at 264 Water St. — formerly home to Velma’s Place — about 10 doors from its flagship location at the corner George Street and Water Street.

“Growlers are obviously a big trend when it comes to craft beer and at YellowBelly itself we have a fair bit of takeout business for our pizzas,” explains Craig Flynn, who co-owns YellowBelly with Brenda O’Reilly.

“So we decided that we needed to do a retail store for beer and at the same point we decided we should also do a takeout for our food.
“I like to call it a brewer’s retail meets a Subway meets a bar.”

On one side of the space is a licensed restaurant and takeout that’s currently serving pizzas and calzones cooked in a big, bright red pizza oven made by Ferrari. The plan is to expand the menu in the new year to include sandwiches and more of the popular fare found on the primary YellowBelly location’s menu.

The other side is dedicated to the sale of growlers, bottled beer and YellowBelly merchandise.
“The uptake on the beer and the growlers has been really good, very surprising,” says Flynn, who says they sold 200 growlers in the first week, forcing them to restock quicker than anticipated. “People really enjoy getting that craft beer growler and having that fresh beer to take home.”
The rest of the merchandise is also moving quickly, and Flynn is expecting a shipment of YellowBelly glassware by Wednesday of next week for those still looking for an extra stocking-stuffer or office secret Santa present.
Flynn says December is typically a challenging time of year to launch a new location, but they wanted to launch in 2017 to allow time to refine their model and menu for next summer.
“We anticipate we’ll do about 75 per cent of our business between June to the end of September,” he says. “By the time we get to June 1, we’ll be exactly where we want to be with the product line and everything else.
“We’re really excited about the location and looking forward to next summer, having little tables out front and some café-style service. We really think, once we get our full product line, that it’s going to be one of those places downtown, similar to Rocket, where people gather, come get their food at lunch time or come in and grab a jug of beer and a pizza on their way home.”
Among the menu items they’re experimenting with are a beer-gelato fusion to create a chocolate stout ice cream and orange sherbert pale ale.
“We’re playing with all kinds of things,” says Flynn.
The next phase in the company’s expansion was revealed this week when the St. John’s International Airport revealed YellowBelly will become one of the new concessions located in the departures lounge when its expansion is completed next year. It will be the first fully licensed restaurant past the pre-boarding screening area in the airport’s history.
Coincidentally, it was negotiations to bring that project to fruition that caused YellowBelly’s plans for a standalone brewery in the old Ferryland fish plant.
That plan had already been set back by a number of months due to extensive damage from the windstorm that rocked the Avalon peninsula last March.
Flynn says construction should begin sometime this summer.
“We see a certain expansion and need for rural development, and craft breweries, done right and with a tourism mind behind it, are certainly sustainable right now within rural Newfoundland.”

kenn.oliver@thetelegram.com
Twitter: kennoliver79

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