Sauce Magazine – Llywelyn’s Pub is a St. Louis landmark
Llywelyn’s Pub is a St. Louis landmark
Llywelyn’s Pub’s adaptability is one of the reasons it has been a valued institution for over 40 years. It opened in 1975 in the Central West End as a joint venture between Jack Brangle and Jon Dressel and quickly became known as a local hotspot for Welsh food. When Chris Marshall bought the restaurant in the late 1990s, the menu opened up a bit, according to current President Tom Behnen. “[Marshall] decided to get more Celtic, so more Scottish and Irish food, ”Behnan explained. “Everything turned into this proto-American Celtic thing.” With five locations, local franchise food draws customers to Webster Groves, St. Peters, St. Charles, Soulard, and O’Fallon, Missouri.
Across the menu, the dishes have gained intense loyalty from a customer base who loves the hearty, comfortable atmosphere of the restaurants. “It’s funny, we have a menu meeting every year and we just can’t cut anything,” confided Behnen. “Because everything is a favorite.” These range from the famous steak and cheese sandwich and shepherd’s pate – both Behnen favorites – to an award-winning chicken chili and fish and chip set with a tartar sauce that Behnen says is the best in town. “Anything ‘Buffalo’ sells,” he added with a laugh. “It’s so strange. We can put buffalo sauce on anything and it will sell.”
Notable servings provide a slide for an evening of drinking, either as a base layer or as hangover food. “Our portions are huge,” said Behnen. “I don’t think you can ever leave with a clean plate. When you did that, you were really hungry. “With that in mind, like any pub worth its salt, Llywelyn’s range of beers and whiskeys makes it a top place to toast with the gang. And according to Behnen, Llywelyn’s was, alongside Growler’s Pub (RIP) and Cicero’s (Double RIP), one of the first places in town to offer a wide range of craft beer.
While the food and drinks keep flowing, it’s really the welcoming, inclusive atmosphere that has kept the place open all these years, especially due to the pandemic. “We’re trying to be a little normal,” Behnen said, pointing out that they are still enforcing masks and social distancing. “Everyone out there is acting crazy, but you can come to Llywelyn for a little normalcy. We are a community, a meeting place. A pub is an escape. “To that end, the franchise’s deep roots helped weather this storm. “We care about the communities around us,” said Behnen. “We give something back to all churches. We are part of the community. “With five locations still in play, it is clear that the communities have also been strengthened. “The turnout in the summer and autumn was fantastic,” Behnen recalls.
Finally, one very important question: Has the pandemic derailed this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations? Not special. “We’re open as always, you know?” Behnen said. “We don’t do anything stupid or crazy. We will wait for that next year. ”