Yardstick Stories: The Finest Ice Creams & Desserts in Town
The name sounds interesting - could you tell us more about St. Louis? (Is it a heritage to a saint?)
The St. Louis name came from our brand directors inspiration while on his honeymoon. George was travelling through Paris with his new wife, and came across an ice cream bar called Berthillon, that has been open since 1954. Labelled as Paris’s best ice cream, George was hit with inspiration, that sparked the desire to build a dessert bar that had a lot more than just ice cream, thus, St. Louis House of Fine Ice Cream & Dessert was born.
What inspired them to open their flagship store in the PH?
Actually, St. Louis came to the Philippines after Myself and my business partner Ben saw the activity in the specialty coffee industry, here in Manila in 2014. With both of us coming from Australia, we noted how limited the options were back then to find good coffee, with only select outlets that could serve the coffee we’re used to here in Australia. Ben was working with St. Louis at the time, and Brett had grown up in the Philippines, so there was good reason on both sides. The Philippines has such an embracing and adventurous food culture, so it made a lot of sense to launch our first international store in Manila.
In what way do you think does St. Louis differ from all other shops who offer similar selections?
I think the thing St. Louis has that puts us in a different position than other outlets, is that we have a very wide selection of menu items that are both savoury and sweet. Although we have a lot of menu items, they are simple and easy to get through, and we push all the way from breakfast to late night cocktails.
Your sweet selections are heaven-sent. Can you tell us more of your non-dessert selections?
Our savoury items are for the most part, tailor made for the Philippine market. In Australia we definitely focus on the decadence of dessert, however we listen to the demand from our customer base, and in the Philippines, people go out at all hours of the day to enjoy a meal with each other. This is why we’ve already added some “off-menu” items like the reuben sandwich, and also our now, almost famous smashed avocado on toast with poached eggs. We actually have some exciting new additions going on our next menu which hopefully should launch very soon with our new grain bowls, and will regularise a few other items on our menu.
What has been the crowd favorite?
Undeniably the St. Louis Ice cream flavour is the crowd favourite! This seemed to really give people a point that they could love, white chocolate base, dulce de leche, and cracked honey comb over the top! Some of our customers also love that in one of our classic affogato’s, with fresh Yardstick roasted espresso.
What’s in store for the brand in the future? Expansion with the menu, indulge to a more adventurous selections, or opening to key cities?
As I mentioned, we have a new menu on the way, we love to keep people guessing so we’ll aim to update regularly. This current update is definitely focussed on expanding our savoury options, as desserts on our menu definitely run down the classic lines. With that said, we will be developing some new exciting dessert items for the next menu update which will most likely still happen before the end of year so look forward to that! As for the brand, we hold the Master Franchise rights to St. Louis and are actively looking to expand into the Philippine market and have several sites on offer to us currently, however have had some pretty significant interest in key cities within the SEA region that will hopefully come to fruition over the coming years. We want to be aggressive, however brand integrity is really important to us, so maintaining quality over quantity is the key to our development. Seeing the response we’ve had is great, so we really want to cater to more markets, but the Philippines has been good to us, we love it here, and we want to make sure we do it right.